Earlier this month I took a family girl trip to Morro Bay, California. We all take a trip annually to celebrate my grandma’s birthday and this year she chose Morro Bay. The town does have some family significance. If you haven’t heard of this place before, Morro Bay is a small seaside town on the central coast of California. It’s close to San Luis Obispo and Cambria.
While I have many childhood memories of hanging out here, sightseeing and walking the beach, and who could miss the giant round rock that is the town icon, we never really spent more than a couple of days here. I never realized the parks and beaches around the area before. I guess its true the older you get the more you appreciate.
A Few Hours to Spare
We had a few hours one day to go off on our own and my aunt, who seems like a local expert, two of my cousins and myself went off to explore. We drove south of Morro Rock and passed the Morro Bay State Park and through the town of Los Osos on our way to the Montana de Oro State Park.
As we drove up the hill looking for a place to pull over and take a quick hike I noticed how the terrain changed from marsh to forest to seaside cliffs. There is so much to do! You can camp, walk, bike, hike, surf, kayak, play at the beach, I even saw some sand dunes. If you’re a bird watcher this is one place to see all kinds of birds. The weather was amazing!
We found a good place to park and got out to look around and hopefully find a trail. I got some cell service since we were towards the top of the mountain and out in the open on the coastline, so I looked up the park on my All Trails app. There was a trail close to us called Bluff Trail. It was listed as easy, and about 4 miles. Since we had a range of abilities and short time that seemed like a good choice.
First we crossed the street and saw a little garden featuring native plants. Then walked back across the street to the trail head. The trail was dirt and gravelly.
The views were really beautiful. The ocean was so clear and blue green. We saw a lot of people out walking around and some biking. I would be a little nervous to bring small kids here without them being in a backpack or holding them because of the sides of the cliff being accessible and its a very long way down. There were a lot of black lizards, they were scurrying all around under your feet. I almost fell because I tried not to step on one in my path. Sunscreen is a must and sunglasses too. It was only in the 70’s but the sun was hot and there was no shade.
We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the views. At the end of our loop we only did about 2.5 miles. I realized that there was a small loop and a big loop after going on the trail a ways but that was okay. Everyone wanted to head back down the hill to check out some other scenery.
I say: GO!
Altogether, this was an easy hike with beautiful ocean views and a cool beach vibe, like only the central coast has. I would recommend going later morning or afternoon so the fog has time to lift and you can see everything around you. Bring little kids only if you have them within reach of you. Bring water and a hat or sunglasses and sunscreen. It was amazing to me to be able to see all the way out to Morro Rock and see the coastline. I definitely recommend this quick jaunt if you’re in the area.
A few peanuts:
- Montana de Oro means “Mountain of Gold” in Spanish. Named for the golden flowers all over the park in the Spring
- The Park is over 8,000 acres
- There is primitive camping in the park
- There is a Visitors Center that was the Old Spooner Ranch House… looks like it hosts a couple of Peacocks
- Park is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm