montana de oro

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Los Osos Hiking Trails

A guide to hiking trails in the Los Osos area. Beautiful beach and ocean view trails, rolling grassy hills, streams and waterfalls and trails all through Montana De Oro State Park.

Elfin Forest Trail

Distance-1.5 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take Highway 101 and exit at Los Osos Valley Road- drive about 9 1/2 miles west to South Bay Blvd. and turn right- go 1 1/2  miles to Santa Ysabel Ave and turn left and go to 16th St. and turn right and park at the end of the road. Access is also available at the  end of the street of 11th, 12th, 13th 14th, 15th and 17th Streets.

The Elfin Forest is between the two towns of Los Osos and Morro Bay. It is in the El Morro Elfin Forest Natural Area that is a 90 acre refuge and has a mile of wooden boardwalks with a couple of viewing platforms. It has dense areas of unique 500 year old pygmy oaks and the reserve sits on top of an ancient sand dune along the southwestern shore of Morro Bay.

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Audubon Overlook and Baywood Pier Trail

Distance-1.3 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take Highway 101 and exit at Los Osos Valley Road and drive about 9 1/2 miles west to South Bay Blvd. to Santa Ysabel Ave. and turn right and go about 3/4 of a mile west to 4th St. and turn right and park one block before the end of the road. Enjoy the Audubon Overlook that is past the metal railing on the right and then go back and go west on the dirt trail road to 3rd street and Santa Lucia Ave. picking up the coastal access route on the right to the pier.

The Audubon Overlook is at the south edge of the Morro Estuary Natural Preserve and overlooks the wetland brimming with water fowl and shorebirds. Take the trail from the Overlook to the 50 foot Baywood Pier overlooking a lagoon like esturary called Back Bay. It meanders along the bay and past Baywood Park Beach. 

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Sweet Springs Trail

Distance- 1/2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo on Highway 101 exit at Los Osos Valley Rd. and turn right onto Los Osos Valley Rd. for 9.6 miles-slight left to stay on Los Osos Valley Rd.f or 0.4 miles-turn right onto 9th St. for 0.6 miles-turn right onto Ramona Ave for 0.3 miles (across the street from Morro Shores Mobile Home Park) to the preserve on the right and park.

The Sweet Springs Nature Preserve is a wetland sanctuary for nesting and migrating birds on 24 acres with two freshwater ponds and a salt water marsh at the bay. The preserve has eucalyptus groves that migrating monarch butterflies spend the winter months in. The Morro Coast Audobon society mangaes the preserve.

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Oak ViewTrail

Distance-2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take the Los Osos Valley Road exit and right onto Los Osos Valley Rd. and go 8.9 miles to the trailhead sign and parking lot on the left.

The trail is part of  the Los Osos Oaks State Natural reserve that has stands of 600-800 year old dwarf pygmy oak trees that are very interesting with their twisted and contorted branches weaved with hanging moss and lichen.

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Broderson Peak Trail

Distance-3 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take Highway 101 and exit at Los Osos Valley Road and turn right on Los Osos Valley Rd. and drive 9.6 miles-slight left to stay on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1 mile-turn left onto Broderson Ave. to the end of the road and park.

The Morro Dunes Ecological Trail is on a 204 acre reserve that is also called Bayview Ecological Reserve. The protected habitat connects Montana De Oro State Park with Morro Bay state Park. The trail has far reaching views of Morro Bay and Los Osos.

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Monarch Grove Trail

Distance-1 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take Highway 101 and exit at Los Osos Valley Road and turn right onto Los Osos Valley Rd. for 9.6 miles-slight left to stay on Los Osos valley Rd. for 1.5 miles-continue onto Pecho Valley Rd. for 0.4 miles to the dirt pullout just past the water tanks and 1/4 of a mile past Monarch Lane.

The trail is in the Los Osos Monarch Grove Natural Area and every October through March the monarch butterflies migrate to spend the winter in warmer weather and cluster together in eucalyptus trees. The trail connects with trails going to the dunes and Montana De Oro.

Los Osos Hiking Trails

Hazard Reef Trail

Distance-2 miles

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From Los Osos Valley Rd. and South Bay Blvd in Los Osos drive southwest on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Road (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) to the Montana De Oro entrance sign and go 1.6 miles to the parking lot on the right at the south end of a eucalyptus grove just past the Camp K.E.E.P. entrance on the left.

Part of the 8400 acre Montana De Oro State Park the trail begins in Montana De Oro State Park and goes north along the spit through Morro Dunes Natural Preserve.

Hazard Canyon Road Trail

Distance-7.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos head west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Road (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 1.1 miles to just past the Montana De Oro sign to the posted "Horse Camp" turnoff on the left and park by the gated road/trail.

The trail heads up Hazard Canyon on an old ranch road and goes up to the ridge with picturesque views to the ocean from the top.

Montana De Oro

Bloody Nose Trail Loop

Distance-4 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 1.8 miles to the big parking lot on the right (at the south end of a eucalyptus grove) .

Start with the Bloody Nose Trail, connecting to Cable trail (called that because of the cable buried underneath) that goes parallel to the road and then crosses Pecho Valley Rd. to connect with Dune Trail that will take you back to your car to complete a 3 trail loop. The trail in Montana De Oro State Park winds through rolling hills and comes back by the dunes to Hazard Canyon Reef a good place to explore the tidepools and rocky beach.

Dune Trail

Distance-2.6 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.5 miles to the trail parking lot on the right just north of Spooner's Cove.

Dune Trail goes along the coastal bluff to Hazard Canyon and then down to Hazard Canyon Reef a rocky beach with great tidepools and a popular surfing spot. 

Hazard Peak

Disatnce-6 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.3 miles to the trailhead sign on the left and park in the lot on the right just before Spooners Cove.

Hazard Peak and Hazard Canyon are named after a dairy farmer Alexander Hazard who used to own the property. Beautiful 360 degree panarmaic views of the ocean and Irish Hills from Hazard Peak.

Islay Creek Road to Hazard Peak Trail Loop

Distance-9.2 miles

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.3 miles to the trailhead sign on the left and park in the lot on the right just before Spooners Cove. The visitors center is about 1/4 of a mile ahead.

The loop starts on Islay Creek Road, a well maintained dirt road and connecting to Barranca Trail and then connecting to East Boundary Trail and then to Hazard Peak Trail to Pecho Road and walk back to your car along the shoulder to complete the loop. Beautiful 360 degree views of the mountains and the ocean from Hazard Peak.

 

Sand Spit Trail

Distance-8 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 1.8 miles mile-turn right onto Sandspit Road for 0.5 miles to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Take the trail to the ocean to the hard packed sand and walk the shoreline, at 4 miles is the first of two breakwaters that protect the bay entrance, this is the turn around point for an 8 mile hike or continue to the second breakwater another 3/4 of a mile for a 9 1/2 mile hike. The Morro Bay Sand Spit is 3 miles long on a narrow strip of land and is part of the Morro Dunes Natural Preserve. 

Islay Creek Trail

Distance-6 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.4 miles to the trailhead sign on the left just before Spooners Cove. The visitors center is about 1/4 of a mile ahead.

Islay Creek Trail is a 3 mile long (one way)relatively flat well maintained dirt road that parallels the Islay Creek. Islay Creek is a creek that flows all year round to the ocean at Spooners' Cove. 

Reservoir Flats Trail

Distance-2.1 mile loop

Hiking difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.7 miles and turn left onto Campground Rd. and go past the visitor's center to the trailhead and park.

Reservoir Flats Trail starts near the visitor's center and follows along Islay Creek to a ridge and a one acre reservoir site fed by springs. Views from the ridge of the canyon, bluffs and to the ocean. 

Oats Peak Trail

Distance-5.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.7 miles and turn left onto Campground Rd. and go past the visitor's center to the trailhead and park.

Reservoir Flats Trail starts just past the visitor's center on the right by the maintenance buildings. Take the Reservoir Flats Trail to the split in the trail and go right on the Oats Peak Trail.  

Valencia Peak Trail

Distance-3.7 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.8 miles to the parking area for Valencia Peak on the left side of the road just past the visitor center.

Valencia Peak Trail starts just south of Spooner's Cove and climbs up a ridge to panoramic views of Montana De Oro and surrounding area. Return on the same trail.

Bluff Trail

Distance-3.4 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.8 miles to just past the visitor's center on Pecho Valley Road to the trail parking on the right.

Bluff Trail is an easy hike that follows the coastline to Grotto Rock winding along a grassy marine terrace. Return on the same trail.

Rattlesnake Flats Trail

Distance-6.5 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 3.8 miles to just past the visitor's center on Pecho Valley Road to the trail parking on the right.

Start the hike on on the Valencia Peak Trail and go right at the trail sign for Rattlesnake Flats Trail after 3 1/4 miles  right onto Coon Creek Trail  and to complete the loop finish on the Bluff trail for a 3 trail loop. 

Coon Creek Canyon Trail

Distance-5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to slightly moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 4.9 miles to the trail parking at the end of the road, about 1 1/4 miles past the visitors center.

The Coon Creek Canyon Trail is a beautiful hike along a year round stream crossing over the stream on six bridges. The trail ends at an old 1920's homestead cabin site in a grove of cypress and oak trees, return on the same trail.

Point Buchon Loop

Distance-1.8 mile loop

Hiking difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 4.9 miles to the trail parking at the end of the road, about 1 1/4 miles past the visitors center.

Point Buchon Loop is on property owned on PG&E and is open Thursday through Monday 8:00am to 5:00pm. It wasn't opened to the public until 2007 and is on 9,000 acres. Walk to the gated south boundary of Montana De Oro State Park and go through the left side of the gate and enter PG&E property and cross over Coon Creek bridge to the entrance station and sign a liability waiver and get a trail map.

Point Buchon Trail

Distance-7 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From South Bay Blvd. and Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos go west on Los Osos Valley Rd. for 1.5 miles onto Pecho Valley Rd (Los Osos Valley Road turns into Pecho Valley Road) for 4.9 miles to the trail parking at the end of the road, about 1 1/4 miles past the visitors center.

Point Buchon Trail is on property owned on PG&E and is open Thursday through Monday 8:00am to 5:00pm. It wasn't opened to the public until 2007 and is on 9,000 acres. Walk to the gated south boundary of Montana De Oro State Park and go through the left side of the gate and enter PG&E property and cross over Coon Creek bridge to the entrance station and sign a liability waiver and get a trail map. For this hike at the trail fork go to the right.(the left goes to the Point Buchon Loop)