Summary: Montana De Oro is the best kept (but not so secret) secret of the Central Coast. You can amble and meander in the park and be almost blissfully unaware of city and signs of development. The park stretches for nine miles along the coast between Morro Rock and Avila Beach. Even climbing to the top of Valencia Peak, the development in Morro Bay is mostly hidden.
From the top of Valencia Peak, one can see to Piedra Blancas in the north and Point Sal in the South.
Start at the Valencia Peak trailhead, climb the mountain and on your trip down turn left at the picnic table and take the unsigned and overgrown Badger Trail. You will pass the environmental campsite on the road and then head for the Bluffs Trail. Follow the loop back to the parking area.
A map handout is available at the visitor center.
Trailhead: From Highway 1 in Morro Bay, take the S. Bay Blvd. Exit turn south towards the ocean and follow the signs for Montana De Oro and Morro Bay State Parks. Stay on S. Bay Blvd for four miles. Turn right onto Los Osos Valley Road (which becomes Pecho Valley Road after 1.5 miles) and follow it for 5.25 miles to the turnout for the Valencia Peak Trail. It is the first stop on the left after the campground and visitor center. There is also parking for the Bluffs Trail.
From the 101, exit Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo, head West and follow it for 12 miles to the park. (Lat:35.26334 Lon:-120.87235)
Trail Guides for Montana De Oro SP - Valencia Peak/Bluffs Trail:
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Walking the California Coast
by John McKinney (Harper Collins)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Montana De Oro State Park (805) 528-0513
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kristen on 11/20/2014
Just want to say these hikes are amazing! a quick rebuttal to a review posted earlier. Its not that the park dislikes dogs but that the bird habitats are fragile and most owners don't leash their dogs. But!! Bring binoculars because you will see some amazing things much better with them! For dogs though there are some great trails a little up the coast in Cayucos and Cambria!
Reviewed by BigBamboo on 5/17/2012
OMG!! This place is just awesome. Camped for 4 nights at Env.Site #3 over looking the ocean. Man you can't get better than this. Hiked Badger trail and Rattlesnake trails. WAs woken up to the sound of a pack of coyotes for 3 of those nights. was visited by badgers and racoons in the middle of the night. Pretty foggy at the top of the mountain but when you work your way down the sun shines with all its might. Wear a hat cause even though it was foggy I still got a little burnt. If you have kids, do yourself a favor and visit Coralina Cove and check out all the cool tide pools in the area. Also if you have time take a 30 min drive up 1north to visit the Elephant Seals by Hearst Castle. This place will make you a Believer.
Reviewed by BigBamboo on 4/11/2012
I will be taking family camping here in May. I have read alot about this place and the pictures I have found are just remarkable. I will make sure to review when I get back if not while I'm there. i gave it 4 stars based on other peoples accounts of this place. I will tell you guys all about it when I return.
Reviewed by Kyle on 4/7/2012
I was very excited about going on this hike. Until I got to the trail head and it said no dogs. Pet owners beware this park does not like dogs!!
Reviewed by SS on 1/7/2011
Where am I, Big Sur? The Bluff Trail is really scenic. Great easy hike. Photos and details here: http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/montana-de-oro-bluff-trail/
Reviewed by Jenn on 6/7/2009
Hubby and I hiked this yesterday. Views are incredible from start to finish. Saw lots of lizards, but no rattlers. Be careful on the way down. There's lots of loose shale rock. Very easy to lose your footing (I fell twice - no injuries other than pride!)
Reviewed by Viewer on 7/3/2008
Valencia Peak trail has the best views of Morro Rock in central coast.Watch out,,lots of rattle snakes, and thick fog sometimes. ALOHA.
Reviewed by Gary & Cheryl on 12/8/2007
Great hike, beautiful views. Not too difficult, would definately do it again to explore more of the area.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Luis Obispo County Hiking, San Luis Obispo County Trails, San Luis Obispo County Hikes