It's a nice area, very scenic. The Usal road is graded in the spring and can be in good condition. I have been there only once. I believe it was late May or early June. The gravel road in to the Usal beach area (Usal Campground) was fairly smooth. A few washboards when going uphill and into turns. 4 wheel drive smoothed out some of the roughness caused by bouncing when I saw the washboards. You could let the air down some to smooth it out some more. Be sure and have you camera ready at all times.
The road was closed just north of the campground when I was there so I ended up returning on the same road in back to the highway after spending the night in view of the Pacific Ocean. I then drove into Shelter Cove for a night by paved road. I left shelter cove and took Kings Peak Rd. to Honeydew.
As I was driving into this area on the gravel Usal Road I only saw 2 other vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. I thought when I got to the campground I'd be completely alone. When I got into the campground area there were vehicles everywhere. There was a group gathering of some kind. Probably an annual family and friends reunion. Somebody towed in some porta potties, a washer and dryer and a few other things you would not expect in this remote area. They must have been planning for a long vacation in that spot.
I believe the Jeep's navigation system had Usal Road and the other roads I was on. Google did as well, but with no cell service you'll want to download for offline use.
I also have GAIA, Avenza, Back Country Navigator Pro & US Topo Maps to go with the downloaded offline Google maps. I had the Delorme California map that I used to map out my route. I used a cup holder mount for my Tablet and was using it to zoom in and out of the area I was in when I wanted to look ahead for things. I didn't use all the downloaded apps with all their detailed elevation data. Between Google and the navigation system I had all I actually needed. I wasn't planning on taking any trails off the main gravel roads. Most had gates up anyway.
Don't count on toilets between probably Rockport Beach south of the exit off hwy 1 and Shelter Cove. I had a porta potty and shower tent that I could have set up if needed.
I just returned from a Usal Road/Lost Coast trip. I also explored the area two years ago at the start of a cross-country trip from the Oregon Coast to east of Crater Lake on the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route.
As noted above, Usal Road is frequently graded in the spring, but not every year. Some years the mud holes dry into deep ruts and holes that can make for a rough ride, but it is typically a 2WD road passable with most high clearance SUV's. This year the road was in considerably better shape than two years ago. Its attraction is the scenery, not the four wheeling.
Usal Road is gated during the winter months from just north of the Usal Beach Campground to Four Corners (the intersection of Usal Road, the road to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, the road to Shelter Cove, and the paved road back to U.S. 101).
Usal Beach can and usually is party city on weekends during the summer. Go on weekdays if you value solitude.
If at all possible, do the entire route from where the road begins just north of Fort Bragg to the Sinkyone Wilderness SP, Shelter Cove, Honeydew, then either to Ferndale via Petrolia or alternately toward Humboldt Redwoods State Park and U.S. 101.
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