Pismo Beach & Oceano Hiking Trail

A guide to hiking trails in Pismo Beach and Oceano with nature walks, sand and surf trail. Everything from a leisurely stroll to a challenging hike.

Pismo Beach and Oceano hiking trails

Monarch Butterfly Grove Trail

Distance-1.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy


Trailhead Location- From W. Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande turn right onto Highway 1 for 0.5 miles to the parking area on the side of the road by the eucalyptus trees and to the trail.head by the Butterfly Grove sign.

Migrating butterflies come to the Pismo State Beach Monarch Grove from October through March with up to 50,000 Monarchs gathering and is a site to see. This trail takes you through eucalyptus grove full of butterflies wintering in the trees. At the end of the trail is an ocean viewing platform.

Monarch Butterfly Grove Trail, Pismo Beach

Chumash Park Trail

Distance-1 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy


Trailhead Location-take James Way to Ventana Dr. and turn into the Chumash Park and park.

This 40 acre natural park has wetlands, willows and oaks and sits in a forested canyon. The park also has a couple of play areas for kids, picnic tables, basketball court and restrooms.



Chumash Park Trail, PIsmo Beach

Guiton Oceano Lagoon Trail

Distance-1.5 mile loop

Hiking difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From Highway 1 in Oceano turn onto Pier Ave. and turn into the Pismo State Beach-Oceano Campground and park by the nature center on the right. The trailhead is by the lagoon on the east side of the nature center.

Guiton Lagoon trail goes by a peaceful freshwater lagoon that is popular for bird watching, canoeing,  fishing and hiking. Harold Guiton donated 5 acres of lagoon property in the 1930's and the trail is named after him.

Guiton Oceano Lagoon Trail, Oceano

Oceano Dunes Preserve Trail

Distance-2 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-Head west on W. Grand Ave. from Arroyo Grande and park in the Grover Beach day use area (just before the entrance to the beach) The trailhead is across the street from the driveway going into the day use parking area. There is no trailhead sign.

Oceano Dunes Nature Preserve Trail winds through the dunes on the 570 acre preserve. The trail takes you away from the busy, noisy vehicle recreation area for a peaceful walk along the most extensive coastal dunes in California.

Oceano Dunes Preserve Trail, Oceano

Oso Flaco Boardwalk Trail

Distance-2 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trail head Location-From S. Halcyon Rd. in Oceano take Highway 1 south for 8.3 miles-turn right onto Oso Flaco Road for 3.1 miles and go to the end of the road. Fee to Park

The lake, its outlet creek and the wetlands are a migrating area for more than 300 bird species and many resident birds. Oso Flaco Lake is a 75 acre freshwater lake and is part of the Oceano Dunes State Park. The dirt trail turns to a boardwalk over the wetlands offering excellent wildlife viewing and continues to the beach.

Oso Flaco Boardwalk Trail, Oceano

Meadow Creek Trail

Distance-1.5 miles

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Trailhead Location-head west on W. Grand Ave.-turn right onto Pacific Blvd. (Highway 1)-turn left onto Le Sage Dr. and drive to the end of the road to the parking lot and trailhead (near the bathroom) sign saying Coastal Access Trail

Meadow Creek Trail winds by the Pismo Golf Course and leads to the Monarch Butterfly Area in a grove of eucalyptus groves. Much of the trail is a boardwalk going over low dunes and following the beach.

Meadow Creek Trail, Pismo Beach

Black Lake Canyon Trail

Distance-1.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy


Trailhead Location- from S. Halcyon Rd. on Highway 1 drive 3 miles-turn left onto Callender Rd.and go to the end of the road. walk past the the wooden barrier and the en of the road sign onto the trail. The trail goes to the end of Zenon Way. Return back on the same route.

Black Lake Canyon Trail is part of 1500 acres of land managed by the Land Conservancy of San luis Obispo. The trail winds through eucalyptus trees and wetlands.

Black Lake Canyon Trail, Pismo Beach

Black Lake Trail

Distance- 2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-from S. Halcyon Rd. on Highway 1 - drive 1.4 miles and turn where Randy Lane is but go straight over the railroad tracks and past the gate and park on the left. Free docent led hikes. Call 544-9096 for scheduled hikes.

Black lake Trail goes to a  freshwater lake in the Oceano Dunes. It is called Black lake because of the waters black color caused by the peat deposits under the lake. Many migrating birds make a stop at this freshwater lake

Black Lake Trail, Pismo Beach

Pismo Preserve Trails

Vamonos Canyon Trail

Distance- 3/4 mile

Hiking Difficulty-intermediate to difficult

Panhandle Trail

Distance-1.1 miles

Hiking Difficulty-intermediate

Lone Oak Trail

Distance-2.2 miles

Hiking Difficulty-intermediate

Spring to Spring Trail

Distance-3.4 miles

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Discovery Trail                   

Distance-5.2 miles

Hiking Difficulty-easy to intermediate

dogs-allowed on leash on all trails


mountain bikes-allowed

Open Daily
6:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Nov to Feb
6:00 AM - 9:30 PM | Mar to Oct
Trails will close when wet
Parking lot gate locked at close

Trailhead Location-The Pismo Preserve is located off exit 191B from US Highway 101 in Pismo Beach. The entrance and parking lot are located on the east side of the freeway at the very southern end of Mattie Road.

Exciting news! The Pismo Preserve is now open. A 900 acre preserve that has 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails. The land was purchased in 2014 and has 11 miles of trails of beautiful meadows, trees, streams and views.

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San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails
San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails