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History of Montaña de Oro

The human history of Montaña de Oro State Park begins with the Chumash people who lived here long before the first European explorers arrived. It’s been estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 Chumash people lived across California’s Central Coast between Morro Bay and Malibu. In 1542, Spanish explorers noted how open and welcoming the Chumash people were when they greeted them from their canoes. The Mission Period began when Don Gaspar de Portola came to claim this stretch of coastline for Spain. Sadly, with the introduction of European viruses, most of the Chumash people died. Those who survived fled their villages, and the Chumash way of life all but disappeared. Remnants of Chumash culture like middens (ancient refuse heaps) can still be found throughout Montaña de Oro State Park. After Mexico ceded Alta California to the U.S. in 1848, ownership of Montaña de Oro changed several times, as did its borders. Part of Montaña de Oro, called Rancho Cañada de los Osos, combined with Rancho Pecho y Islay to the south to comprise 32,431 acres.

Key Facts About Montaña de Oro

In 1892, Alden B. Spooner established a section of that property as Pecho Ranch & Stock Co., with a dairy, ranch and row crops. He built a home, sheds, stables, a creamery, barns and even a water mill for power. Spooner and his sons made use of a nearby cove by building a warehouse, chute, and a boom to load steamers below. To the north, Alexander S. Hazard established agricultural crops as well as a dairy. He also planted a forest of eucalyptus trees, hoping to sell timber across the state. Sadly, eucalyptus trees produce wood unfit for commercial uses. (The mistake was a common one across the Central Coast, as evidenced by the thousands of eucalyptus trees across the Central Coast.) Hazard Canyon saw several natural events in the 1940s, including a flood and a wildfire that burned down Hazard’s diary. The property transferred from a rancher named Oliver C. Field to Irene McAllister in the 1950s. (McAllister is the one to first call the land Montaña de Oro ― “mountains of gold” ― for the poppies and wildflowers that grow there.) The property went into bankruptcy in the 1960s, during which California Governor Pat Brown launched a park acquisition program. The state stepped in to purchase Montaña de Oro and it became a state park on April 24, 1965. Today, Rancho Montaña de Oro is some of the most untouched publicly-owned land in the state. Virtually hike the trails on Google here. Bluffs Hike in Montana De Oro State Park

Hiking in Montaña De Oro State Park

Bluff Trail

This 3.4-mile out-and-back trail skirts rugged coastline, bluffs, and tide pools. Look for the trailhead near the Montaña de Oro visitor center and Spooner Ranch House. The trail begins with a wooden bridge, followed by ocean vistas. After a half mile, stop at Corallina Cove or continue hiking for more primitive trail to Quarry Cove.

Valencia Peak Trail

At 4.5 miles round trip and 1,275 feet in elevation, this hike offers a 360-degree view in return for hard work! The peak itself is 1,347 feet and one of Montaña de Oro State Park’s tallest. The hike begins at the parking area just beyond Spooner’s Cove, across from the Bluff Trail trailhead. Take the single-track Valencia Peak Trail inland through wild sage, a series of switchbacks and some steep terrain. At the top, sit at the picnic table and enjoy views of Morro Rock, Cerro Cabrillo and Point Buchon. The trail requires no fee or permit, but bring sunscreen as the hike offers little to no shade. No dogs.

Hazard Peak Trail

This essential Central Coast hike offers clear views of Morro Bay and beyond from its 1,076-foot peak. Round-trip, the hike spans 6 miles and climbs an elevation of 950 feet. Unlike the Valencia Peak Trail, Hazard Peak Trail ascends steadily, rather than steeply. Stay to the right throughout and pass by sagebrush, eucalyptus groves and expanding views of the ocean. At the top, find benches and a picnic table for taking in the 360-degree view. The trail doesn’t require a fee or permit, but remember that dogs aren’t allowed on the trail. To reach the trail, just after entering the park find the trailhead on the left, before Spooner’s Cove. Park on either side of the road.

Islay Creek Trail

At 6 miles round trip, the Islay Creek Trail offers a gentle canyon hike with access to a small waterfall. Elevation gain clocks in at just 300 feet. Start the trail at the mouth of a stream at Spooner’s Cove. Take the dirt trail inland from Spooner’s Cove, past the Islay Creek Campground. Look for great views of both Valencia Peak and Hazard Peak. Find a waterfall after just 1.4 miles in Islay Creek. At 3 miles into the trail, turn at the abandoned barn for a 6-mile-total hike. Fees and permits are not required. No dogs.

Oats Peak Trail

At 1,373 feet tall, Oats Peak lies further inland from Valencia Peak, but offers better views of the Irish Hills to the east. A gradual trail with plenty of switchbacks ascends 1,325 feet over 10.8 miles, round trip. Along the way, wide open views abound. To begin, find the trailhead behind the Spooner Ranch House along the road to Islay Creek Campground. A sign for the Reservoir Flats Trail and Oats Peak Trail stands beside a dirt trail. Any time a junction mentions the “Old Oaks Peat Trail,” stick with the New Oats Peak Trail, as it is complete and more gradual. (Most trail intersections are marked well along the way.) Along the ascent, find patches of shade, a trickling stream, and expansive views of the ocean. Note: the last 0.15 mile section of the trail is the steepest, but it’s worth the effort! Find picturesque views of Morro Rock and the San Simeon coastline beyond at the summit.

Reservoir Flats Trail

This two-mile loop takes in a 200-foot elevation gain and offers a variety of views. Find the trailhead between the Spooner Ranch House and the Islay Creek Campground entrance, marked by a sign. After 0.3 miles, bear left at the junction of Reservoir Flats Trail and Oats Peak Trail. Walk through the empty reservoir which once served the Spooner home below. Enjoy a forested walk through a canyon of cottonwood trees and oaks. At the edge of the Islay Creek Campground, walk through the campground to return to the trailhead to finish.

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Mountain Biking in Montaña de Oro

Picturesque views and well-maintained trails make Montaña de Oro State Park a mountain biker’s paradise. Depending on the trail, a full suspension bike is best (but not necessarily essential) for most. Note that hikers and bikers share trails; please use a bell for the safety of everyone on the trail. Bluff Trail Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2.3 miles, point to point Elevation: +142 feet / -77 feet Avg / Max Grade: 2% / 6% Type: Doubletrack Hazard Peak Trail Difficulty: Easy/intermediate Distance: 4.1 miles point to point Elevation: +915 feet / -308 feet Avg / Max Grade: 6% / 12% Type: Singletrack Islay Creek Trail Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles, point to point Elevation: +68 feet / -352 feet Avg / Max Grade: 3% / 7% Type: Doubletrack Oats Peak Trail Difficulty: Intermediate Distance: 11.3, out and back Elevation: +1,433 feet / -1,438 feet Avg / Max Grade: 5% / 36% Type: Singletrack Reservoir Flats Trail Difficulty: Easy/intermediate Distance: 2 mile loop Elevation: +132 feet / -187 feet Max Grade: 4.4% Type: Singletrack

Free Hiking and MTB Maps

The Highway 1 Discovery Route Stewardship Travel Program partners with local organizations to offer free hiking and mountain biking maps. Visitors and local residents are invited to download free maps for trails across Highway 1.

Volunteer Trail Work Days

As part of the Stewardship Travel Program, volunteers are welcome year-round to help build, restore and maintain hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. All work day events and classes are organized by the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers group, a non-profit organization since 1987. They require no experience to jump in and help! The annual volunteer trail workday in Montaña de Oro State Park is the first Sunday in February. Opportunities for volunteering on trail restoration include at least one trail work session per month. Two major workdays are offered each year and are called TRAILWERKS: all-day events with free meals, tee shirts, and raffle prizes for participants. The Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers group encourages everyone who enjoys California trail systems to volunteer for workdays as well as practice important trail etiquette that helps prevent trail erosion, reduces user conflicts, and ensures trail access. More detailed information, trail guidelines, and volunteer locations can be found at their website. And if you can’t join a trail work day, consider donating toward the purchase of trail building tools for volunteers.

Montaña de Oro Tide Beaches

Beaches at Montaña de Oro State Park include quaint, protected coves, long stretches of sand, remote shores and ideal surfing conditions.

Spooner’s Cove Beach

At the point where Islay Creek drains into the ocean, Spooner’s Cove Beach offers a comfortable place to wade, explore tidepools, and picnic. Interesting rock formations invite climbers to play, particularly at low tide. The beach lies just across the street from the Islay Creek Campground, and allows dogs (on leash). As a central point in Montaña de Oro State Park, many trails begin nearby. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, and free parking. Find Spooner’s Cove Beach to the right, just before the campground.

Sandspit Beach

This long beach begs for long walks on soft sand, and the dunes beg for jumping! The sand spit that gives the beach its name continues north, almost all the way to Morro Bay. Amenities at Sandspit Beach include restrooms, free parking and picnic tables. To find the beach, make a right into the Sandspit day-use area, and look for parking at the end of the road. Then make the short walk on a trail to the beach. Enjoy views or Morro Rock and watch surfers ride the waves. Note: Sandspit Beach is an advanced surfing area. Sharks have been known to swim in these waters; surf at your own risk.

Hazard Canyon Reef

A dramatic, rocky section of coastline, Hazard Canyon Reef is one of the best tide-pooling locations in the state. Visit at low tide to see creatures like sea anemones, urchins, sea stars, and crabs in abundance. (Check tide information for best times to tidepool.) Other activities include walking 1.5 miles to Sandspit Beach to the north, and perhaps even several miles further into Morro Bay State Park. Find sand dunes near the parking lot to jump, roll and play on. Explore the reef by following the trail north from the parking lot to a deep drop to the water. Amenities include free parking and equestrian use. Surfing is also popular here, though this is an advanced surfing area; do so at your own risk. To find this beach, enter the park, pass the eucalyptus grove and look for the Hazard Canyon Parking sign.

Coon Creek Beach

The most remote and untouched of Montaña de Oro’s beaches, Coon Creek sits at the southern end of the park. To reach the beach, drive to the end of Pecho Valley Road (the park’s main thoroughfare) park, and follow the Point Buchon Trail to the beach, only open Thursday through Monday. Enjoy tidepools and caves, but remember there are no facilities for visitors to Coon Creek Beach. Spooner's Cove, Los Osos

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Montaña de Oro Camping Overview

Camping in Montaña de Oro allows visitors from across the globe to experience California in its natural state. With nearby hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, surfing, and fishing, these campsites can be reserved at ReserveCalifornia.com.

Islay Creek Campground

This secluded campground with coastal views offers 50 campsites during summer and 25 during winter. With some shade from pine and Monterey cypress trees, each site can accommodate up to 8 people. The campground also offers six primitive sites for backpackers and equestrian sites for those with horses. Trailers, vans, RVs up to 27 feet, pets and campfires are all allowed. Amenities include fire pits, primitive toilets, electrical hookups, potable water and picnic tables. Reservations are essential during summer months, and first-come, first-served during winter. Islay Creek Campground is open year-round. Find the campground entrance just across from Spooner’s Cove, along a half-mile-long loop.

Hazard Canyon Equine Camp

This campground offers 40 sites for either tents or RVs and 4-5 horses each. (Note: electrical hook-ups are not available here.) Two group sites (Madrone and Oak) accommodate up to 50 people and 16-18 horses. Amenities include stalls, pit toilets, fire rings and water for horses. Guests are asked to muck-out their stalls, bring potable water, and keep dogs off equestrian trails. Campers must have a horse to camp at Hazard Canyon Equine Camp. Find the entrance to the horse camp to the left almost immediately after entering the park.

Environmental Campsites

For more options for camping in Montaña de Oro, try hiking into one of its four environmental, primitive sites. These sites can accommodate up to 8 people, but note that they do not allow dogs or campfires. Fees for environmental campsites are $25 per site, per night, plus $10 per vehicle. Environmental campsites can be reserved at the Islay Creek Campground. Find the Bloody Nose Camp and Hazard Grove Camp just north of the Islay Creek Campground. Badger Flat Camp and Deer Flat Camp can be found to the south of the Islay Creek Campground.

Spooner Ranch House

No visit to Montaña de Oro State Park is complete without a visit to the old Spooner Ranch House. Built in 1892, this historic building houses a museum, gift shop and general store for the park. Learn about the Central Coast’s rich agricultural, cultural and natural history with a self-guided tour of the house, which has been lovingly restored by volunteers. Find the Spooner Ranch House just before the Islay Creek Campground, across from Spooner’s Cove. Spooner Ranch House, Los Osos [post_title] => Montaña de Oro State Park [post_excerpt] => This park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => montana-de-oro-state-park [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-30 06:57:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-30 14:57:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/montantildea-de-oro-state-park/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 118214 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-06-10 22:04:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-11 06:04:07 [post_content] => Looking for an ideal California beach town with history, charm and boutique shopping? Cayucos is your destination. Its quaint downtown boasts field-to-table restaurants, antique stores, public art and cafes ― all just steps from the beach. Add a few historic buildings, surf shops, and an old cowboy bar, and you have California coastal living at its finest. Even better, Cayucos residents dine, shop, and connect in all the same places as visitors. Ready to make like a local? Use our guide for the best spots to discover the essence of the California coast.

Cayucos History

Cayucos’ history begins with the Chumash and Salinan people who first settled here, thousands of years before Europeans arrived. The word cayucos comes from the Spanish for the canoes those first residents used, as named by early explorers. The famed Portola expedition camped near Cayucos in the mid-18th century, and many other explorers passed through as well. In 1867, Captain James Cass made the founding of Cayucos official, as we know it today. With the local dairy industry growing, he took advantage of Cayucos’ ideal position and built a port from which to ship goods. He established a warehouse and built the Cayucos Pier for steamers to collect and dispatch shipments across California. Many of Cayucos’ dairy farms ― and descendents from those ranching families ― remain in the area today. Captain Cass’ home also stands downtown, restored into a charming restaurant, inn and event venue called Cass House Cayucos. https://www.youtube.com/embed/4DzL8hhRVVU

Eat in Downtown Cayucos

The Grill at The Cass House

An elegant stop on any itinerary, Cass House Cayucos combines rich history with fresh flavors. Dine at The Grill, where local, seasonal ingredients meet a curated international wine list. Or visit the Cass House Bakery, where muffins, scones, quiche and focaccia are baked fresh daily. Find the Cass House Cayucos at the north end of North Ocean Avenue. Cass House Grill Cayucos Sea Shanty in Cayucos

Sea Shanty

A visit to Cayucos deserves a meal at this beloved casual eatery. Grab breakfast or a cup of coffee (do not miss the world-famous cinnamon rolls!) before a walk on the beach. Or, if you’re hunting down lunch or dinner, get a tall burger, juicy steak, or crispy fish ‘n chips. If dessert is your thing, you’ll struggle to pick just one from the Sea Shanty’s many decadent desserts. (Try the “Rocky Mountain High Pie” with marshmallow-rice crust, rocky road ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter and white chocolate topping. Or the “Mudd Pie,” with chocolate cookie crust and butter pecan ice cream.) As you lick your spoon, check out the ceiling’s 1,000 hanging ball caps, or enjoy the comfort of the heated patio. Find the Sea Shanty on South Ocean Avenue, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and North 3rds Street.

Ruddell’s Smokehouse

A favorite of Sunset Magazine, Westways, and even Bobby Flay of the Food Network, this pint-sized eatery makes a big impression. Just a few steps from the sand, Ruddell’s smokes a range of meats ― think oysters, ahi, chicken and pork. Then, those meats are sold for take-away, or they get folded into decadent tacos made with house sauce and fresh salsa. The local favorite? Smoked albacore tacos. But vegetarians, never fear: Ruddell’s has you covered with smoked black bean tacos. Find Ruddell’s at the corner of Ocean Front Street and D Street, overlooking Cayucos State Beach. Ruddell's Smokehouse in Cayucos Brown Butter Cookie Company Cayucos

Brown Butter Cookie Company

This one-of-a-kind sweet shop claims that “butter makes everything better.” If that’s true, the Brown Butter Cookie Company makes its customers feel like a million bucks. Crafted from a short list of ingredients ― browned butter, sugar, flour and sea salt ― these cookies have fans worldwide. Try the original Brown Butter Cookie, or venture out into other flavors like espresso, almond, cinnamon and coconut lime. For those who go gluten-free, the Brown Butter Cookie Company bakes several flavors without gluten. So grab a sample in the shop or purchase a box to bring home...if they make it that far. Find the Brown Butter Cookie Company on North Ocean Avenue, between D and E Streets.

Old Cayucos Tavern

While the Cass House shows Cayucos’ elegant history, the Old Cayucos Tavern shows its more rugged side. Established in 1906, in the wake of the California Gold Rush, this cowboy saloon still attracts visitors from far and wide. Sit at the bar, enjoy live music, or head to the back rooms for poker on Friday and Saturday nights. Marvel at the many hundreds of dollar bills stuck to ceiling, or the “interesting” art on the walls. (You have to see to understand.) No matter what you do at the Old Cayucos Tavern, you’re sure to get a taste of its long history ― and a stiff drink. Find the Old Cayucos Tavern on North Ocean Avenue between D Street and Cayucos Drive. Cayucos town at night Cayucos Main Street

Cafe della Via

This Old World trattoria brings a bit of Italy to Cayucos. Traditional dishes get a California twist, like orecchiette pasta tossed with sautéed shrimp in a white wine cream sauce, or savory pizzas on house-made crust. The thoughtful wine list includes local favorites as well as Italian bottles. Caffe della Via can be found on North Ocean Avenue between D Street and Cayucos Drive.

Schooner’s

A fan favorite, Schooner’s has served fresh seafood, steaks, fish ‘n chips and burgers since 1993. The upstairs patio is unrivaled in terms of coastal views, and the nautical theme enhances the experience. Be sure to check the wine and beer lists, or try a craft cocktail and watch the sun set over the Pacific. Schooner’s is located on North Ocean Avenue between D Street and Cayucos Drive. Schooner's Restaurant in Cayucos, CA

Duckie’s Chowder House

If you love clam chowder, you’ll be in clam heaven at Duckie’s. Here, they dish up both New England chowder (cream-based) and Manhattan Clam Chowder (tomato-based)l. To up the ante, try your chowder “Nolan-style” with bacon and croutons. Duckie’s also offers fish tacos, steamers and fish ‘n chips, as well as salads, sandwiches and sides. Wash it all down with a locally-made beer or glass of wine from their drinks list. And don’t forget the little duckies! Duckie’s takes care of the kids with a menu offering burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fish ‘n chips. Find Duckie’s at the start of the Cayucos Pier, at 55 Cayucos Drive.

Shopping in Cayucos

Main Street Antiques

This fun and rambling antique store carries a wide range of period furniture and collectibles. In its nooks and crannies, find anything from vintage trunks, model trains, cast-iron cookware or even a phone booth. The knowledgeable staff often has the backstory on the shop’s many treasures. Whatever tickles your fancy, you’re sure to find a bit of history to take home here. Main Street Antiques is located on North Ocean Avenue, between D Street and Cayucos Drive. Cayucos antique faire

Remember When Antique Malls

Split across two locations, the Remember When Antique Malls bring vintage kitchenware, furnishings, clothing and more to downtown Cayucos. Find collectibles like Fiestaware, milk glass and depression glass pieces on the shelves. Restored shabby-chic furniture is also on display, with headboards, coffee tables, desks and dressers throughout. Lace, linens, jewelry and artwork: you name it, and it’s probably tucked away here. Remember When is located on North Ocean Avenue, between D Street and Cayucos Drive. Remember When Too can be found one block south, between D Street and E Street.

Good Clean Fun

Need help getting outfitted for your Cayucos beach adventure? Good Clean Fun takes fun very seriously. Wander into the surf shop for towels, sandals and toys, or head to the “Board Loft” for surfboards, bodyboards and skateboards. Good Clean Fun rents surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) for day use. For kayak tours of the coastline, kayak fishing tours or surf lessons, they are the experts. (Just be sure to make a reservation, as these are very popular!) To visit, find Good Clean Fun on Ocean Front Avenue between D Street and Cayucos Drive.

Events in Downtown Cayucos

Cayucos Farmers’ Market

Start a long summer weekend in Cayucos with the Cayucos Farmers’ Market, held Fridays, 10am-12:30pm, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Vendor booths burst with a wide variety of ripe produce, picked that morning. Bread, jam, juices and flowers can also often be found here, among other goodies. And don’t forget live music: nothing beats tapping your toes while shopping for fresh, local produce and products. The Cayucos Farmers’ Market is held at the corner of Ocean Avenue and D Street. Cayucos farmers market https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-QcHpoAp9w

Sea Glass Festival

This favorite annual event features sea glass ―the result of glass that’s worn and smoothed by tumbling in the sea. A collaboration between man-made materials and nature’s process, sea glass is prized by collectors across the globe. On the first weekend in March, many of those collectors descend on downtown Cayucos to celebrate these unique “gems.” Find jewelers and artists who use seaglass for their pieces, as well as live music and plenty of food. Look for “Mermaid March” displays of mermaids throughout the month of March in many local businesses. And don’t miss the Mermaid Ball in the evening, featuring dancing, a chowder cook-off, and prizes for the best-dressed mermaid and mer-couple. The Sea Glass Festival is held at the Veterans Hall at 10 Cayucos Drive in downtown Cayucos.

Polar Bear Dip

Every New Year’s Day, over 1,000 people plunge into the frosty waves for the Carlin Soulé Memorial Polar Bear Dip. All ages come out to pack the beach for this beloved local tradition, featuring crazy costumes, hilarious team names and drum circles. Festivities beginning at 9:30am by the Cayucos Pier, and the dip takes place at noon every January 1st. Cayucos Polar Bear Plunge

Cayucos Wine & Food Festival

For wine lovers and foodies, the annual Cayucos Wine & Food Festival gathers boutique wineries from the area for a memorable grand tasting. Chefs and area restaurants pair dishes with the wines, and local artists and jewelers show their work. The event also features live music from local musicians. Each ticket includes all wine tasting, small bites, and a commemorative Riedel glass. The Cayucos Wine & Food Festival takes place each November in downtown Cayucos.

Semi-Annual Cayucos Antique Street Faire

Every October and May, antique vendors occupy multiple blocks of Ocean Avenue to sell treasures, art, and memorabilia. This semi-annual antique faire brings collectors and antique-hunters from all over the world in the hopes of scoring a find. The street faire also features live music and food available for purchase. The Cayucos Antique Street Faire takes place along Ocean Avenue in downtown Cayucos.

Cayucos 4th of July Celebration

Nothing says “summer fun” quite like the 4th of July in Cayucos. Every year, the town puts on its red, white and blue for a boisterous, quirky parade down Ocean Avenue. Locals and visitors alike pack the sidewalk to celebrate the many hometown heroes, businesses, and clubs that take part. But the 4th of July Celebration is a whole-day affair! Before the parade, witness the annual sand sculpture contest, open to all ages, that takes over Cayucos Beach. And following the parade, dine on delicious barbecue prepared by the Cayucos Lion’s Club at the Veterans Hall downtown. In the afternoon, the Cayucos Lionesses host a major game of bingo, open to all, at the Veterans Hall. And once evening descends, people stake out a spot along the beach for a festive fireworks display from the Cayucos Pier. The annual Cayucos 4th of July Celebration takes place across downtown Cayucos between Highway 1 exit 284 and B Street.

Checkout the Cayucos Activities Map

Download [post_title] => Downtown Cayucos [post_excerpt] => The quaint downtown of Cayucos boasts field-to-table restaurants, antique stores, public art and cafes ― all just steps from the beach. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => downtown-cayucos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-10 22:43:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-11 06:43:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/?post_type=activities&p=118214 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 118163 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-06-02 21:29:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-03 05:29:05 [post_content] => Though the population of sweet, beachy Cayucos hovers below 3,000 people, nearly 30,000 people descend on the town for 4th of July every year. Why? Because Cayucos has perfected its patriotic festivities over the course of several decades. Visitors even plan their year around the 4th of July in Cayucos, to connect with friends who do the same, year after year. Here, there’s fun for the whole family, all day long! The action starts with a sand sculpture contest, followed by a hometown parade, barbecue, bingo, and fireworks off Cayucos Pier. It’s no wonder folks settle in for the whole day here: the setting is quaint and the festivities make everyone feel like family. See for yourself to find out why, when it comes to the 4th, nothing beats small, seaside Cayucos.

2019 4th of July Schedule in Cayucos

An octopus sand sculpture on the beach in Cayucos, CA

Sand Sculpture Contest

Early on the morning of the 4th of July, artists of all ages and skill levels come out to Cayucos State Beach for an epic Sand Sculpture Contest. Visitors, locals, adults and children take their time in the sand very seriously as they compete for best in show. Past sand sculptures have included mermaids, hippopotamuses, sea turtles, castles, forts, and even sports cars. To enter, show up to the Cayucos Pier starting at 5 A.M. to claim your spot and start sculpting. Otherwise, grab coffee and a muffin from Luna Coffee Bar (82 Ocean Avenue) and watch the magic anytime between 5 A.M. and 8 A.M.

4th of July Parade

The centerpiece of all Cayucos Independence Day fun, this homespun parade is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Community choirs, bands, businesses, and clubs take part in walking Ocean Avenue to the delight of thousands of spectators. The red, white and blue fly high on quirky floats, classic cars and towering unicycles. Witness decades-long friendly rivalries between float building families that vie for the coveted sweepstakes prize every year. Zany, kooky, and decidedly over-the-top, this beloved parade through downtown Cayucos will put anyone in a patriotic mood. The parade begins at 10am on July 4th and travels north along Ocean Avenue. Set up chairs and blankets on Ocean Avenue sidewalks after 6 P.M. on July 3rd, but keep driveways and shop doorways clear. Planning tip: Parking can be extremely challenging on the 4th, particularly along side streets. Some folks arrive during the Sand Sculpture Contest (5 A.M. - 8 A.M.) to secure parking for the parade. Otherwise, try carpooling, ridesharing (e.g. Uber, Lyft), or using public transportation to reach the parade. Note that parking along bridges and Highway 1 off-ramp shoulders will result in fines and/or towing. 4th of July parade in Cayucos, CA Cayucos 4th of July parade

Lion’s BBQ and Lioness Bingo at the Vets Hall

A longstanding tradition, the Lion’s Club of Cayucos holds a delicious barbecue every 4th of July, from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the Veterans Hall. Get ready to taste some of the best local tri-tip and barbecued chicken around. (Other dining options include restaurants along Ocean Avenue as well as food vendors along Ocean Front Avenue, facing the beach.) When you’ve polished your plate, settle in for a fast-paced game of bingo, hosted by the Lions Club Lionesses in the tent next door. Held from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M., the proceeds benefit local children’s programs. If you choose to play bingo, be sure to bring cash for bingo cards and pull tabs! The Veterans Hall is located at 10 Cayucos Drive, just beside the Cayucos Pier in downtown Cayucos.

Cayucos Fireworks

A spectacular fireworks display awaits those lucky enough to visit Cayucos on the 4th of July. At 9 P.M., after a long day’s revelling, the town’s residents and visitors turn out to see fireworks launched from the Cayucos Pier. Pack a picnic for pre-show nibbles, or find most restaurants open for dinner before the fireworks begin to fly. Be sure to bring a blanket, jacket, and low-backed chair. But be warned: like everything in Cayucos on the 4th of July, space is limited! Arrive early to get the best view possible. Cayucos fireworks on the 4th of July [post_title] => 4th of July in Cayucos [post_excerpt] => Cayucos has perfected its patriotic festivities over the course of several decades. Visitors even plan their year around the 4th of July in Cayucos, to connect with friends who do the same, year after year. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 4th-of-july-in-cayucos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-04 13:30:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-04 21:30:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/?post_type=activities&p=118163 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 112718 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-03-19 16:37:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-20 00:37:36 [post_content] => Hiking along the Highway 1 Discovery Route showcases the diversity of this abundant place. From Ragged Point to Nipomo, each corner of coastal SLO CAL has its own distinctive flora, fauna, and history. Visitors along Highway 1 have their choice of tucked-away mountain trails, walks along rugged coastline and expansive wine country views. Some hikes pass beside quaint cafes and historic sites while others feel as remote as a world away. Some come with a soundtrack of crashing waves, others, with the hum of bees and singing crickets. Whatever your mood, the Highway 1 Discovery Route has a hike to suit it. Safety note: For even the tamest of hikes, be sure to bring water, a hat, sunscreen, ID, keys, your mobile phone, and a friend. Also bring cash (some trails charge a small fee) and be sure to remove all valuables from your vehicle at trailheads. Read below to learn about all the hiking options along the Highway 1 Discovery Route.

Ragged Point Hiking Trails

Ragged Point Cliffside Trail

Steep cliffs and breathtaking panoramas mark this classic Ragged Point hike. Short and sweet, the trail measures less than 1 mile long, but descends (and ascends!) 400 feet in elevation. A narrow path of switchbacks leads to a small black sand beach fed by a seasonal waterfall. Bring grippy hiking shoes for this landmark hike, and enjoy the towering ocean views.

Fire Road Trail

Sweeping coastal views and a well maintained, graded road characterize this trail, found just across Highway 1 from Ragged Point Inn. Up and back, this 4-mile, 1700-foot-gain trail makes for an excellent scenic workout.

Salmon Creek Falls

With its 120-foot waterfall and easy trail access, Salmon Creek Falls is a short hike just off Highway 1 at Big Sur’s southern end. For a longer walk, take the trail to its end 6.5 miles in.

San Simeon Hiking Trails

San Simeon State Park

This 3.3-mile trail skirts sections of the San Simeon Natural Preserve and Washburn Campground. Look for coastal vista points, benches and interpretive signs about local wildlife, flora and fauna. Note: the trail section that skirts the seasonal wetland is wheelchair accessible.

Piedras Blancas, Boucher Trail

In just under 2 miles, this varied and interesting trail winds over coastal bluffs, grassland and wetland areas. Beginning at the paved elephant seal viewing parking, the trail ends a half mile north of the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

San Simeon Cove

Hiking San Simeon Cove belongs on any California dreaming bucket list. Find the trailhead by climbing the bluff at the north end of the cove. Then travel through a magical forest on the bluffs above the beach. Spanish moss hangs from eucalyptus, pine, cedar, and cypress trees along the way. At the end of the peninsula, a half-mile in, the cove sparkles against breathtaking views of rock formations on the beach.

Elephant Seals

The viewing boardwalks at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery comprise a section of the California Coastal Trail. Short, flat, and easy to walk, these boardwalks are also wheelchair accessible with terrific views of the elephant seals.

Junge Ranch Trail

This 2.2-mile out-and-back trail offers views of abundant wildflowers to hikers of all skill levels. Accessible all year long, the trail welcomes dogs on leash as well.

Pacific Valley Bluff Trail

Don’t miss a chance to stroll this San Simeon trail with unparalleled coastal views. This hike travels beside varied landscapes, from rocky coastline and cliffs to scrubby bushes and fields dotted with flowers. Walk up and down the sea’s edge, feel the sea spray and enjoy the views.

San Corpoforo Creek

The signs for this trail are hosted by the Los Padres National Forest, which owns a part of the wild, untouched beach at the end of the trail. Find a small parking area with a fence and gate on the north side of the Highway 1 bridge over San Carpoforo Creek. (The address of the house opposite is 18550 Cabrillo Highway, San Simeon, California.) The trailhead lies beyond the gate and leads to San Carpoforo Creek, which can sometimes be tricky to cross. But the reward for those who do is access to a remote sandy beach.

Washburn Campground Trails

In addition to the San Simeon State Park trail, another trail begins at the end of its boardwalk and crosses the wetland into a pine forest. It then cuts north along the shady side of a bluff and up a long hill to the upper State Park campground. Return to the start point along the east side of the campsites, or extend the walk to a larger loop east. This extension passes through a eucalyptus grove before returning to the starting point for a total hike of about 3 miles.

Cambria Hiking Trails

Moonstone Beach Trail

Cambria hiking at its most accessible and panoramic, this 2.85-mile out-and-back bluff trail features classic coastal scenery. Look for wildlife, explore tide pools on the beach, or admire the scenery from a comfortable bench. A large portion of this Cambria hiking trail includes the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk, making for a comfortable walk for all skill levels. Dogs can come, too! (Just remember to keep them on leash.) Find the trailhead at the beginning of Moonstone Beach Drive and hike northwest through the pines along Santa Rosa Creek. You’ll see the boardwalk begin after just 0.2 miles.

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

One of the most breathtaking hiking trails near Cambria, this preserve once belonged to the Chumash and Salinian Native Indian tribes. Today, it is permanently protected from development, thanks to the American Land Conservancy and the local chapter of SWAP (Small Wilderness Area Preservation). This favorite 1-mile trail along the Pacific Ocean welcomes pedestrians, horseback riders, and bicyclists. It also protects the home of many endangered species, including red-legged frogs and Monterey pines. Completely ADA accessible, this trail is a reminder of what dedicated citizens can do to protect a precious space. At 437 acres, the preserve has multiple entrances. Consult this map for more detailed access information.

Fern Canyon Henry Cluck Trail

Another secluded Cambria hiking trail, this one passes through Fern Canyon, crosses Fern Drive and dead ends in a chaparral near Highway 1. At about 1.5 miles, this out-and-back easy hike showcases Cambria’s Monterey pines, oaks, ferns and a seasonal creek. To find the trailhead, head south on Highway 1 and turn right on Burton Drive. Make another right on Fern Drive and follow to the bottom of Fern Canyon. The trail marker is at the left.

Lampton Cliffs Park

One of the best short hikes near Cambria, this trail loops through a 2-acre park on the south edge of town. Toward the beach, stairs lead down to the rocks and crashing waves, especially dramatic during winter swells. At low tide, though, tidepooling becomes the activity of choice here. Find the trailhead at the intersection of Lampton Street and South Windsor Boulevard with a small parking lot.

Leffingwell Landing

With short hiking trails, Leffingwell Landing offers a beautiful lookout and access to a rocky shore with great tide pools. Visitors at the right time of year might be lucky enough to spot a whale or two. Find this special spot where Moonstone Beach Drive meets State Park Road in Cambria.

Strawberry Canyon Trail

One of the most secluded hiking trails in Cambria, Strawberry Canyon comprises a large, 1-mile loop. Peace and quiet characterize this walk, along a secluded trail beneath towering pines. To reach the trailhead from Highway 1 in Cambria, drive 0.75 miles south on Burton Drive until you reach Kay Street on the left. The trail is across the street, on the right side of Burton Drive.

Cayucos Hiking Trails

Estero Bluffs

Part of the Estero Bluffs State Park, this easy 3-mile hike includes wide, flat trails through coastal rushes and panoramic views of Morro Bay and Morro Rock. To find the trailhead, take Highway 1 North past Cayucos. Pull into the rustic parking lot just past town on the west side of the highway. This is one of the best Cayucos hikes for a picnic!

Whale Rock Reservoir

One of SLO County’s best hikes with a 360-degree view, the Whale Rock Reservoir runs out-and-back at a total of 4 miles long. The trail travels through the 1,350-acre reserve, and is uncrowded and easy to walk. Bring dogs on leash, but beware of ticks! The best months for this hike are during the dry season, April through November. Enjoy viewing wildflowers and bird-watching throughout. Get to the trailhead by driving south on Highway 1 from Cayucos. At Old Creek Road, turn left. Drive 1.5 miles and park on the left before the the PG&E substation.

Hang Glider Hill Trail

At 1 mile round trip, this trail can be hiked by just about anyone. Fans of hang gliding will enjoy watching people take off from here, with long views of the ocean as backdrop. To reach the trailhead, drive south on Highway 1 from Cayucos; turn left onto Ocean Boulevard, right on Haines Avenue, right on Davies Avenue and continue up the hill to the dirt road.

Harmony Headlands State Park Trail

A former cattle ranch from the 1800s, this land was purchased by the Land Conservancy in 2003 and deeded to California State Parks. Today, the easy 4-mile round-trip trail passes the historic ranch house and along coastal bluffs with views of the ocean. Be forewarned that dogs are not allowed on this trail. Find the trailhead 6.8 miles north of Cayucos on Highway 1, on the ocean side of the highway.

Trail tips for hiking in Cayucos

Learn More

Los Osos & Baywood Hiking Trails

Montaña de Oro State Park & Hazard Canyon Reef

Located within Montaña de Oro State Park, Hazard Canyon Reef is a gorgeous beach with tide pools and scenic views. Take the 1-mile hike on the Dune Trail to safely access the mouth of the canyon. Walk through the 4-way junction, then between the dunes, and the trail will end at a rocky shore. Explore the tide pools for hermit crabs, sea stars, sand dollars and anemones. The trail is named after a prior landowner who planted eucalyptus trees in hopes of selling them as lumber.

Audubon Sweet Springs Nature Preserve

This 24-acre preserve offers hiking trails and excellent views of Morro Bay and Morro Rock. Managed by the Morro Coast Audubon Society, the preserve is located on the north side of Ramona Avenue between Broderson and 4th Street. Trails lead among Monterey Cypress and eucalyptus to two freshwater ponds, and around a salt marsh to the edge of Morro Bay. Several threatened and endangered species of birds populate the preserve, and many shorebirds and ducks winter in the adjoining bay. From late October to March, Monarch butterflies also cluster here.

Black Hill Trail

Nine peaks between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay originated as volcanoes beneath the sea fifteen million years ago. After the sea and volcanic explosions subsided, erosion began dissolving the softer mountain material around the volcanic rock. Nine volcanic peaks remain, including Hollister Peak and the famed Morro Rock. Black Hill, the last peak in the series, offers a 0.6-mile trail with a little of everything: chaparral, eucalyptus, oaks, pines, and coastal shrubs. From the mountain's 640-foot summit, you can view the Morro Bay Estuary, the sand spit, and the hills of nearby Montaña de Oro. Hikers looking for more can hike to the summit starting farther down Black Hill. To find the trailhead, drive through the Morro Bay Golf Course, turning right at the first intersection and up the unmarked Black Hill Road. Follow 0.8 miles up the hill to the end of the road and park.

Bluff Trail

Inside Montaña de Oro State Park, this trail spans 3.4 miles round trip, passing coastal bluffs, tide pools, beaches and rocky coastline. The trailhead can be found across that of Valencia Peak, just near the visitor center. Start across a wooden bridge and then take in views of the sea, including Spooner's Cove. Stop at Corallina Cove after a half mile or continue on for more rugged trail and Quarry Cove.

El Moro Elfin Forest

Adjacent to the Morro Bay Estuary, this 90-acre natural area belongs to San Luis Obispo County Parks and California State Parks. Foliage includes coastal brackish marsh, riparian woodland fringe, pygmy oak woodland, maritime chaparral, coastal dune scrub, and oak and manzanita. The Elfin Forest supports more than 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals and 13 species of reptiles and amphibians. Chumash middens can also be found throughout the park. A mile-long boardwalk loop provides access for young and old, walkers and wheelchair users, and protects the forest’s sensitive habitat. The Los Osos/Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP) removes invasive plants, provides erosion control, and conducts plant revegetation projects. SWAP also sponsors monthly third-Saturday nature walks and educational walks for local schools.

Quarry Trail

This 2-mile, moderately difficult loop trail lies on the east side of Morro Bay State Park. The Quarry Trail skirts the southern flank of Cerro Cabrillo, a 911-foot double-peaked ridge. The hike’s name refers to the rubble piles of an abandoned quarry site used for road construction in the 1950s.

Avila Beach Hikes

Bob Jones Trail

Of all the Avila Beach hikes, the Bob Jones Trail provides the leafiest, most family-friendly. Also called the "City to the Sea" trail, the paved path is popular as a hiking, jogging and biking route. The trail winds alongside San Luis Obispo Creek towards Avila Beach, stretching 2.5 miles each way. From the trail are views of bridges spanning the wide creek, the Avila Beach Golf Course, the town of Avila and the Pacific Ocean. You can even stop off at Woodstone Market for lunch or a snack along the route!

Mallagh Landing

Commonly referred to as Pirate's Cove, the Mallagh Landing name is more accurate given the history of the land. In 1849, David Mallagh came to California as a sailing captain and built a small wharf and an adobe nearby. The Mallagh home can still be found under the hills of Ontario Grade. Mallagh Landing offers a hike near Avila Beach with scenic views of the coastline and Port San Luis Harbor. The route from the harbor to the landing is popular with kayakers. The hike over land is 9.3 miles, but is considered easy and can be done in about 3 hours. Both the walk and the bird watching are worthwhile.

Ontario Ridge Trail

One of the most scenic Avila Beach hiking trails, this 4-mile trail travels over a steep ridge above Shell Beach. For spectacular ocean views, start at the Shell Beach trailhead or at Cave Landing in Avila Beach and hike the full loop. Coastal sage surrounds the steep, rugged trail, passing views of Mallagh Landing, Avila Valley, San Luis Obispo, and Shell Beach.

Pecho Coast Trail & Rattlesnake Canyon

The Pecho Coast Trail comprises 3.75 miles round trip along a scenic coastal trail to the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse. Many native plants and animals flourish along the trail. Wildflowers can be seen in the spring, as well as gray whales swimming offshore.All hikes along the Pecho Coast Trail are docent-led and require a reservation. Learn from docent naturalists about the local history of Avila Beach and the Chumash tribe that once lived here. For those looking to hike further, the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail winds past the Point San Luis Lighthouse and loops back for a round-trip total of 8 miles. To preserve and maintain the space, the trail is limited to a set number of hikers on specified dates.

Arroyo Grande & Edna Valley Hiking

Black Lake Trail

The Black Lake Trail in the Arroyo Grande Valley offers a 2-mile, easy to moderate out-and-back hike. Accessible year-round, the trail offers views of Black Lake.

Big Falls Trail

Tucked away behind Lopez Lake lies Big Falls, one of the most scenic spots on the Central Coast. The two waterfalls along Big Falls Creek are some of the best around and worth the trek. To get to the trailhead, turn onto Hi Mountain Road, located just before the entrance to Lopez Lake Recreation Area, and then veer left onto Upper Lopez Canyon Road. The trail travels through a sycamore and oak forest to the 40-foot Lower Big Falls and, further up, 80-foot Big Falls.

Cougar Trail

The entrance for Cougar Trail lies near the entry to Lopez Lake Recreation Area. Close to 3 miles long, the trail welcomes hikers, dogs and mountain bikes. Enjoy scenic views, groves of oak trees and wildlife viewing.

High Ridge Trail

This trail passes a series of steep canyons east of Lopez Lake along a fire ridge. The hike offers scenic lake views and fossils can be found along the path and in the surrounding rock. The east to moderate hike is 5 miles out and back, and is accessible year-round.

Horizon Hike

Tolosa Winery leads a Horizon Hike over Edna Valley. Enjoy a mild hike, learn about the vines as you walk and take in a 360-degree view of the valley. Trout Creek Trail Looking for an equestrian-friendly trail? Trout Creek Trail in the Arroyo Grande Valley is almost 8 miles out and back and is well suited for horses and dogs. Enjoy listening to the creek and identifying a variety of birds on the moderate trail. Accessible March to November.

Cerro San Luis Trail

Cerro San Luis Obispo is the large morro looming over San Luis Obispo, stamped with a large letter "M." It stands for Mission School, not Madonna Inn (which sits at its base) as many believe. The trail up this volcanic peak has great views of Laguna Lake and Bishop's Peak. From the summit, there are views of San Luis Obispo, the Santa Lucia Mountains and peaks to Morro Bay.

Oceano & Nipomo Hiking

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

A trail from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Preserve to Mussel Rock spans 5.2-mile out and back. Hikers, trail runners and naturalists use the moderately difficult trail, which offers scenic coastal views.

Oceano Dunes Preserve Trail

Best known for the State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), the Oceano Dunes Preserve also offers a quiet, uncrowded trail to walk. To reach the trailhead from southbound Highway 1, drive to Oceano (south of Pismo Beach and Grover Beach). Turn west on Pier Avenue and park at the entrance to the SVRA. Walk a half mile south, parallel to the water’s edge, to the dune entrance. You can also walk along Strand Way, a neighborhood street that parallels the beach. This reaches Arroyo Grande Creek, which also leads to the dune preserve entrance.

Nipomo Native Garden

This 0.6-mile trail stretches over a 12-acre botanical garden featuring plants native to the Nipomo Mesa Guadalupe Dunes complex. The trail travels through both developing and established woodland, with interpretive displays and kiosks throughout. The garden is used for recreation as well as research into plant community dynamics on the Nipomo Mesa.Open during daylight hours, the garden offers an easy hike plus benches from which to enjoy the view. The garden can be found between Pomeroy, Camino Caballo and Osage Streets in Nipomo, with parking available on Osage. [post_title] => Hike On Highway 1 [post_excerpt] => Hiking along the Highway 1 Discovery Route showcases the diversity of this abundant place. From Ragged Point to Nipomo, each corner of coastal SLO CAL has its own distinctive flora, fauna, and history. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => where-to-hike-on-highway-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-22 21:00:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-23 05:00:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/?post_type=activities&p=112718 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97557 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:54 [post_content] => Salmon Creek Falls is a natural waterfall found on the Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1 located 3 miles north of Ragged Point Inn. Like most Big Sur waterfalls, the 120 foot Salmon Creek Falls is a short easy hike and can be seen from the highway. Park in the pullout or just north of the creek is a seldom used ranger station. Always take safety precautions when visiting waterfalls! Fast currents can be troublesom and drowning can happen even in shallow water. Stay away from cliffs and always take a friend!  [post_title] => Salmon Creek Falls [post_excerpt] => Salmon Creek Falls is a natural, beautiful waterfall found on the Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1 located 3 miles north of Ragged Point Inn. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => salmon-creek-falls [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/salmon-creek-falls/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97301 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content] => This little known town in central California has some great tide pool locations to explore. They may be harder to find but the scenery and location is definitely worth the visit. These tide pools are located at the base of a long stretch of bluffs and headlands just to the north of the town of Cayucos. There are large exposed rocks with high wave action along with lots of calmer water. There are plenty of barnacles, mussels and limpets in the more wave exposed areas. The calmer waters have lots of algae, sea anemones, hermit crabs and snails.  [post_title] => Cayucos Tide Pools [post_excerpt] => This little known town in central California has some great tide pool locations to explore. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => cayucos-tide-pools [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/cayucos-tide-pools/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107268 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content] =>

Sebastian's General Store has carried on through generations. Built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry, the Sebastian Brothers provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners, and neighboring ranches. 

Sebastian Brothers General Merchandise in San Simeon Bay was the significant shipping point for barrels of whale oil, cheese, butter and other commodities on the Central Coast. Old San Simeon Village was flourishing with two hotels, saloons, a blacksmith, a livery stable, a butcher, schools, a depot for a stage travel to Cambria and a telegraph line to San Luis Obispo.

In 1878, the Bay View Hotel was built; a first-class hotel with famous guests Thomas A. Edison, Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge, to name a few. Some remnants of the village are still visible today but by 1910, most of the village faded away. Sebastian's General Store survived and is flourishing. Sebastian's was the first post office in San Simeon until 1905 when it was moved to the pier. It was moved back in 1945, where it remains today. The Sebastian family bought the building in 1914 and operated the store for almost 100 years.

[post_title] => Sebastian's General Store & Old San Simeon Village [post_excerpt] => Sebastian's General Store has carried on through the generations. Built in 1852 at the peak of the whaling industry, the Sebastian Brothers provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners and neighboring ranches. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sebastian-s-general-store-old-san-simeon-village [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/sebastian-s-general-store-san-simeon/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97250 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content] =>

People come from around the world to visit the shops in Cambria. Our vibrant artist community includes designers, artists, craftspeople and you will find special treasures you will not see anywhere else.

You will not find any chain stores here but you will be charmed by the eclectic array of shops from antiques to apparel and unique gifts and specialty shops. You never know what you might discover when you explore the town.

Browse the Friday Farmer’s Market for fresh local produce and locally produced food. You can try some barbecue or local jams and meet the farmers who produce our food. Take some time to escape the city and discover a simpler place and time.

[post_title] => Main Street in Cambria [post_excerpt] => People come from around the world to visit the shops in Cambria. Our vibrant artist community includes designers, artists, craftspeople and you will find special treasures you will not see anywhere else. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => main-street-in-cambria [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/main-street-in-cambria/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107246 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:52 [post_content] => What: Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Cambria
When: Check the website for current museum hours
Reservation Needed: No, unless outside of the regular museum hours listed above. If so, then call (805) 927-2891 to make arrangements. Thank you.

Stewardship Travel along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in coastal San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) engages visitors in over 50 bite-size activities and contribution opportunities. Stewardship Travel adds meaning and fun while immersing visitors deeply in the natural and cultural heritage experiences that California’s unique Central Coast has to offer.

Begin your journey back in 1865 on the streets of Cambria and ‘time travel’ by walking to 28 preserved historic sights that include the old cemetery, a Chinese Temple, a mid-1800’s chapel, the old jail house, historic present day Inns, restaurants, antique and gift shops. Some of the historic sites are open to the public and some are private residences. All can be enjoyed from the street.

Gain a deeper connection on vacation through activities and charitable donation opportunities that protect wildlife, habitat, and cultural heritage sites.
This activity selection includes:
*A learning activity and/or outing
*An educational center
*A conservation/heritage donation opportunity through Cambria Historical Society

Thank you for being a Stewardship Traveler along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. [post_title] => Walk Back in Time: Cambria Museum & Historic Buildings Self-Guided Walking Tour [post_excerpt] => Cambria has a rich history dating back to the 1860's. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the self-guided walking tour that visits 26 historic structures throughout the small and welcoming town.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => walk-back-in-time-cambria-museum-historic-buildings-self-guided-walking-tour [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/walk-back-in-time-cambria-museum-historic-buildings-self-guided-walking-tour/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107248 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:52 [post_content] => Listen to the quiet and stillness that only a small town in an untouched countryside can provide. Cayucos is the perfect remedy for those who suffer from the ills and frustrations of life in the fast lane in our crowded cities. Peaceful, underdeveloped ranchlands with cattle grazing on undulating, oak-crested hills provide a respite for the city weary. [post_title] => Cayucos Visitor Center [post_excerpt] => Listen to the quiet and stillness that only a small town in an untouched countryside can provide.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => cayucos-visitor-center [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/cayucos-visitor-center/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107233 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:51 [post_content] => What: Natural History Center at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
When: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm
Reservation Needed: No

Stewardship Travel along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in coastal San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) engages visitors in over 50 bite-size activities and contribution opportunities. Stewardship Travel adds meaning and fun while immersing visitors deeply in the natural and cultural heritage experiences that California’s unique Central Coast has to offer.

Founded in 1999, the Dunes Center is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Dunes Center was originally conceived by a group of concerned citizens and in 1989 The Nature Conservancy's efforts to help preserve and restore the Guadalupe Beach and Oso Flaco Lake Natural Areas planted the seeds for a dunes visitor center. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is comprised of 18 miles of coastline and is one of the most ecologically significant and largest intact coastal dune ecosystems on earth. A significant portion of the nearly 22,000 acres is under public management and open for recreation.

The Dunes Center was finally opened in 1996, in a small storefront in downtown Guadalupe and evolved over time into our current existence. We have a thriving education program, reaching over 4000 students annually. We offer docent-led walks in the dunes. We have guest speakers for our volunteers, members, and local community. In addition, we are the Administrator of what is known as the Dunes Collarborative - a coalition of state and federal agencies, local governments and non-profits.

Gain a deeper connection on vacation through activities and charitable donation opportunities that protect wildlife, habitat, and cultural heritage sites.
This activity selection includes:
*An educational center
*A conservation/heritage donation opportunity through Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center

Thank you for being a Stewardship Traveler along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. [post_title] => Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Natural History Center [post_excerpt] => The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is comprised of 18 miles of coastline and is one of the most ecologically significant and largest intact coastal dune ecosystems on earth. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => guadalupe-nipomo-dunes-natural-history-center [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/guadalupe-nipomo-dunes-natural-history-center/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107207 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:49 [post_content] => What: Docent-Led Hike to Point San Luis Lighthouse along Pecho Coast Trail When: Weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays Reservation Needed: Yes, contact PG&E through their website to make arrangements. Thank you. Stewardship Travel along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in coastal San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) engages visitors in over 50 bite-size activities and contribution opportunities. Stewardship Travel adds meaning and fun while immersing visitors deeply in the natural and cultural heritage experiences that California’s unique Central Coast has to offer. The Pecho Coast Trail to the Point San Luis Lighthouse is open to 20 hikers each Wednesday and 40 hikers each Saturday. Hikes depart at 9am and return at 1pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged to avoid being turned away at the trailhead and can be made two weeks in advance through the website. Hikes are cancelled in case of rain or inclement weather. The hike to the Point San Luis Lighthouse is 3.75 miles round trip and moderately strenuous with uneven terrain, steep cliffs and grades, narrow trails, and crumbling earth. Sturdy hiking shoes are required. Bring plenty of water as well. The secluded beaches, rugged cliffs and broad coastal terraces of the Pecho Coast have been privately owned and inaccessible to the public since the Spanish Mission Period. Once known as the Rancho Canada de Los Osos y Pecho y Islay, this pristine area is situated north of the Point San Luis Lighthouse and west of the Irish Hills on California's Central Coast. It became open to the public in 1993 for guided hikes with the creation of the Pecho Coast Trail. The wooded canyons, fertile headlands and lush shoreline tide pools have provided dependable human sustenance for at least 9,000 years. When the Spanish began exploring and settling along the Central Coast, Chumash Indians inhabited the area. Their rich and varied culture, reflecting the abundance of the land, was displaced as the Spanish introduced land ownership and ranching. The development of Port San Luis and its important shipping industry coincided with the increasing settlement of the area during the nineteenth century. To maintain a safe port, the Point San Luis Lighthouse and breakwater were constructed in 1890. These structures and many other sites of historic interest are visible along and from the Pecho Coast Trail. Gain a deeper connection on vacation through activities and charitable donation opportunities that protect wildlife, habitat, and cultural heritage sites. This activity selection includes: *A learning activity and/or outing *A conservation/heritage donation opportunity through Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers Thank you for being a Stewardship Traveler along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. [post_title] => Pecho Coast Trail Docent Hikes to Point San Luis Lighthouse with PG&E [post_excerpt] => The secluded beaches, rugged cliffs and broad coastal terraces of the Pecho Coast have been privately owned and inaccessible to the public since the Spanish Mission Period.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pecho-coast-trail-docent-hikes-to-point-san-luis-lighthouse-with-pg-e [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-28 19:56:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-29 03:56:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/pecho-coast-trail-docent-hikes-to-point-san-luis-lighthouse-with-pg-e/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97513 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:49 [post_content] => What: Self-Guided Tour of the Historic Oceano Train Depot
When: Weekly, on Sundays from 1pm to 3pm
Reservation Needed: No

Stewardship Travel along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in coastal San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) engages visitors in over 50 bite-size activities and contribution opportunities. Stewardship Travel adds meaning and fun while immersing visitors deeply in the natural and cultural heritage experiences that California’s unique Central Coast has to offer.

Built in 1904 the Oceano Depot was once the most important buildings in south San Luis Obispo County. All passenger, freight, telegraph, and mail service passed in and around the Depot.

The Oceano Train Depot has been restored to near original condition. Visitors can tour a real turn-of-the-century train depot that remains virtually untouched. Housed inside the walls are not only artifacts from the railroad, but historical photos and artifacts from the surrounding community dating back to the early 1900's. Railroad buffs and former workers love to tell their stories of working on the railroad and give instructions on how to use the specialized equipment. Exhibits include the old post office boxes, coffee grinders, jukebox, and railroad equipment.

Gain a deeper connection on vacation through activities and charitable donation opportunities that protect wildlife, habitat, and cultural heritage sites.
This activity selection includes:
*An educational center
*A conservation/heritage donation opportunity through Oceano Depot Association

Thank you for being a Stewardship Traveler along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. [post_title] => Oceano Historic Train Depot Visit [post_excerpt] => The Oceano Train Depot is in near-original condition as when it was in use. People can tour a real turn-of-the-century train depot that remains virtually untouched from when it was in use. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => oceano-historic-train-depot-visit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/oceano-historic-train-depot-visit/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97535 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:47 [post_content] => What: Self-Guided Tour of the Coastal Discovery Center 
When: Weekends and holiday Mondays from 11am-5pm
Reservation Needed: No

Stewardship Travel along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in coastal San Luis Obispo County (SLO CAL) engages visitors in over 50 bite-size activities and contribution opportunities. Stewardship Travel adds meaning and fun while immersing visitors deeply in the natural and cultural heritage experiences that California’s unique Central Coast has to offer.

The Coastal Discovery Center is a joint venture between the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks. Located on beautiful San Simeon Bay, the Coastal Discovery Center celebrates the connection between land and seas.

The Center offers interactive exhibits and education programs which highlight the cultural and natural history of Old San Simeon, California State Parks, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The interface of land and sea is unique, drawing people for its rich bounty, economic opportunity, recreation and inspiration. Protection of these special places preserves them for use and enjoyment for generations to come.

Gain a deeper connection on vacation through activities and charitable donation opportunities that protect wildlife, habitat, and cultural heritage sites.
This activity selection includes:
*A learning activity and/or outing
*An educational center
*A conservation/heritage donation opportunity through Coastal Discovery Center. In the "Special Instructions for Donation" box, please specify the Coastal Discovery Center.

Thank you for being a Stewardship Traveler along the Highway 1 Discovery Route. [post_title] => Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay [post_excerpt] => Located on beautiful San Simeon Bay, the Coastal Discovery Center celebrates the connection between land and seas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => coastal-discovery-center-at-san-simeon-bay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/coastal-discovery-center-at-san-simeon-bay/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 100286 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:45 [post_content] => How many places on earth can you experience almost 2000 acres of pristine Monterey Pine forest and rolling pastures with an exquisite view of the ocean and as if that's not enough, over 100 head of Clydesdale horses all in one location? The answer is one, Cambria Pines by the Sea Ranch, home to Covell's California Clydesdales.

Much of the forest of Cambria Pines by the Sea Ranch is protected in a nature conservation easement so the beauty and magnificence of this ranch will last forever and now is your chance to experience the ranch and the horses like never before. We are opening our gates to the public for tours of the ranch and opportunity to see and experience our Clydesdale horses. [post_title] => Covell's California Clydesdales [post_excerpt] => A trip to the ranch is the perfect experience for horse and nature lovers of all ages. It will be an experience you will never forget and an experience you won't be able to find anywhere else. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => covell-s-california-clydesdales [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/covell-s-california-clydesdales-7/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97254 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:44 [post_content] => Moonstone Beach is one of the primary beaches in Cambria.  It boasts Central Coast views that run north and south for many miles.  There is a Boardwalk that goes from the bridge at the north end of Moonstone Beach Drive, south to just north of Windsor Boulevard.  The Moonstone Beach State Parklands consist of 30 acres, including Leffingwell Landing State Park, Moonstone Beach Drive and Santa Rosa Creek access. [post_title] => Moonstone Beach [post_excerpt] => Moonstone Beach is one of the primary beaches in Cambria.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => moonstone-beach-cambria [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/moonstone-beach-cambria/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [16] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97550 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:43 [post_content] => Piedras Blancas means "white rocks" in Spanish. The historic lighthouse, with its distinct light pattern of a white flash every 15 seconds, assured mariners of their location and warned of the wild rocky coastline. Construction of Piedras Blancas Light Station began in April 1874. The lighthouse was first illuminated a mere 10 months later, on February 15, 1875. The lighthouse was originally 100 feet tall and housed a first order Fresnel lens. A fog signal building was constructed in 1905 and the first sound was produced in 1906. Life at the light station was challenging for the keepers and their families. 

Tours of the light station are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, except federal holidays. Meet at the former Piedras Blancas Motel, located 1.5 miles north of the light station, at 9:45. Do not wait at the gate to the site! Book your tour online here.  [post_title] => Piedras Blancas Light Station [post_excerpt] => Go back in time to the lonely and blustery life of the lighthouse keeper with a visit to the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => piedras-blancas-light-station-san-simeon [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/piedras-blancas-light-station-san-simeon/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97123 [post_author] => 0 [post_date] => 2019-03-07 12:00:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:33 [post_content] => The Huasna Valley is known for its prime farmland, supporting both fruit orchards and crops of vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs.  Huasna is located 20 minutes from the town of Arroyo Grande on the California Central Coast.  Vegetables grown in the Huasna area can be found every week at the local farmers' markets, held throughout the 5 Cities area.

The roads surrounding Huasna Valley offer stunning views and can be enjoyed either by car or bicycle. 
[post_title] => Historic Huasna Townsite Drive/Ride [post_excerpt] => The roads surrounding Huasna Valley offer stunning views and can be enjoyed either by car or bicycle.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => historic-huasna-townsite-drive-ride [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-07 12:00:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-07 20:00:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/historic-huasna-townsite-drive-ride/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 18 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 97400 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-06-24 12:00:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-24 20:00:11 [post_content] =>

History of Montaña de Oro

The human history of Montaña de Oro State Park begins with the Chumash people who lived here long before the first European explorers arrived. It’s been estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 Chumash people lived across California’s Central Coast between Morro Bay and Malibu. In 1542, Spanish explorers noted how open and welcoming the Chumash people were when they greeted them from their canoes. The Mission Period began when Don Gaspar de Portola came to claim this stretch of coastline for Spain. Sadly, with the introduction of European viruses, most of the Chumash people died. Those who survived fled their villages, and the Chumash way of life all but disappeared. Remnants of Chumash culture like middens (ancient refuse heaps) can still be found throughout Montaña de Oro State Park. After Mexico ceded Alta California to the U.S. in 1848, ownership of Montaña de Oro changed several times, as did its borders. Part of Montaña de Oro, called Rancho Cañada de los Osos, combined with Rancho Pecho y Islay to the south to comprise 32,431 acres.

Key Facts About Montaña de Oro

In 1892, Alden B. Spooner established a section of that property as Pecho Ranch & Stock Co., with a dairy, ranch and row crops. He built a home, sheds, stables, a creamery, barns and even a water mill for power. Spooner and his sons made use of a nearby cove by building a warehouse, chute, and a boom to load steamers below. To the north, Alexander S. Hazard established agricultural crops as well as a dairy. He also planted a forest of eucalyptus trees, hoping to sell timber across the state. Sadly, eucalyptus trees produce wood unfit for commercial uses. (The mistake was a common one across the Central Coast, as evidenced by the thousands of eucalyptus trees across the Central Coast.) Hazard Canyon saw several natural events in the 1940s, including a flood and a wildfire that burned down Hazard’s diary. The property transferred from a rancher named Oliver C. Field to Irene McAllister in the 1950s. (McAllister is the one to first call the land Montaña de Oro ― “mountains of gold” ― for the poppies and wildflowers that grow there.) The property went into bankruptcy in the 1960s, during which California Governor Pat Brown launched a park acquisition program. The state stepped in to purchase Montaña de Oro and it became a state park on April 24, 1965. Today, Rancho Montaña de Oro is some of the most untouched publicly-owned land in the state. Virtually hike the trails on Google here. Bluffs Hike in Montana De Oro State Park

Hiking in Montaña De Oro State Park

Bluff Trail

This 3.4-mile out-and-back trail skirts rugged coastline, bluffs, and tide pools. Look for the trailhead near the Montaña de Oro visitor center and Spooner Ranch House. The trail begins with a wooden bridge, followed by ocean vistas. After a half mile, stop at Corallina Cove or continue hiking for more primitive trail to Quarry Cove.

Valencia Peak Trail

At 4.5 miles round trip and 1,275 feet in elevation, this hike offers a 360-degree view in return for hard work! The peak itself is 1,347 feet and one of Montaña de Oro State Park’s tallest. The hike begins at the parking area just beyond Spooner’s Cove, across from the Bluff Trail trailhead. Take the single-track Valencia Peak Trail inland through wild sage, a series of switchbacks and some steep terrain. At the top, sit at the picnic table and enjoy views of Morro Rock, Cerro Cabrillo and Point Buchon. The trail requires no fee or permit, but bring sunscreen as the hike offers little to no shade. No dogs.

Hazard Peak Trail

This essential Central Coast hike offers clear views of Morro Bay and beyond from its 1,076-foot peak. Round-trip, the hike spans 6 miles and climbs an elevation of 950 feet. Unlike the Valencia Peak Trail, Hazard Peak Trail ascends steadily, rather than steeply. Stay to the right throughout and pass by sagebrush, eucalyptus groves and expanding views of the ocean. At the top, find benches and a picnic table for taking in the 360-degree view. The trail doesn’t require a fee or permit, but remember that dogs aren’t allowed on the trail. To reach the trail, just after entering the park find the trailhead on the left, before Spooner’s Cove. Park on either side of the road.

Islay Creek Trail

At 6 miles round trip, the Islay Creek Trail offers a gentle canyon hike with access to a small waterfall. Elevation gain clocks in at just 300 feet. Start the trail at the mouth of a stream at Spooner’s Cove. Take the dirt trail inland from Spooner’s Cove, past the Islay Creek Campground. Look for great views of both Valencia Peak and Hazard Peak. Find a waterfall after just 1.4 miles in Islay Creek. At 3 miles into the trail, turn at the abandoned barn for a 6-mile-total hike. Fees and permits are not required. No dogs.

Oats Peak Trail

At 1,373 feet tall, Oats Peak lies further inland from Valencia Peak, but offers better views of the Irish Hills to the east. A gradual trail with plenty of switchbacks ascends 1,325 feet over 10.8 miles, round trip. Along the way, wide open views abound. To begin, find the trailhead behind the Spooner Ranch House along the road to Islay Creek Campground. A sign for the Reservoir Flats Trail and Oats Peak Trail stands beside a dirt trail. Any time a junction mentions the “Old Oaks Peat Trail,” stick with the New Oats Peak Trail, as it is complete and more gradual. (Most trail intersections are marked well along the way.) Along the ascent, find patches of shade, a trickling stream, and expansive views of the ocean. Note: the last 0.15 mile section of the trail is the steepest, but it’s worth the effort! Find picturesque views of Morro Rock and the San Simeon coastline beyond at the summit.

Reservoir Flats Trail

This two-mile loop takes in a 200-foot elevation gain and offers a variety of views. Find the trailhead between the Spooner Ranch House and the Islay Creek Campground entrance, marked by a sign. After 0.3 miles, bear left at the junction of Reservoir Flats Trail and Oats Peak Trail. Walk through the empty reservoir which once served the Spooner home below. Enjoy a forested walk through a canyon of cottonwood trees and oaks. At the edge of the Islay Creek Campground, walk through the campground to return to the trailhead to finish.

Explore more hikes on Highway

LEARN MORE Mountain Biking on Montana De Oro, Colby Lindeman, Instagram Photo Mountain Bike on Hazard Peak Trail in Montana De Oro Sate Park

Mountain Biking in Montaña de Oro

Picturesque views and well-maintained trails make Montaña de Oro State Park a mountain biker’s paradise. Depending on the trail, a full suspension bike is best (but not necessarily essential) for most. Note that hikers and bikers share trails; please use a bell for the safety of everyone on the trail. Bluff Trail Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2.3 miles, point to point Elevation: +142 feet / -77 feet Avg / Max Grade: 2% / 6% Type: Doubletrack Hazard Peak Trail Difficulty: Easy/intermediate Distance: 4.1 miles point to point Elevation: +915 feet / -308 feet Avg / Max Grade: 6% / 12% Type: Singletrack Islay Creek Trail Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles, point to point Elevation: +68 feet / -352 feet Avg / Max Grade: 3% / 7% Type: Doubletrack Oats Peak Trail Difficulty: Intermediate Distance: 11.3, out and back Elevation: +1,433 feet / -1,438 feet Avg / Max Grade: 5% / 36% Type: Singletrack Reservoir Flats Trail Difficulty: Easy/intermediate Distance: 2 mile loop Elevation: +132 feet / -187 feet Max Grade: 4.4% Type: Singletrack

Free Hiking and MTB Maps

The Highway 1 Discovery Route Stewardship Travel Program partners with local organizations to offer free hiking and mountain biking maps. Visitors and local residents are invited to download free maps for trails across Highway 1.

Volunteer Trail Work Days

As part of the Stewardship Travel Program, volunteers are welcome year-round to help build, restore and maintain hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. All work day events and classes are organized by the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers group, a non-profit organization since 1987. They require no experience to jump in and help! The annual volunteer trail workday in Montaña de Oro State Park is the first Sunday in February. Opportunities for volunteering on trail restoration include at least one trail work session per month. Two major workdays are offered each year and are called TRAILWERKS: all-day events with free meals, tee shirts, and raffle prizes for participants. The Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers group encourages everyone who enjoys California trail systems to volunteer for workdays as well as practice important trail etiquette that helps prevent trail erosion, reduces user conflicts, and ensures trail access. More detailed information, trail guidelines, and volunteer locations can be found at their website. And if you can’t join a trail work day, consider donating toward the purchase of trail building tools for volunteers.

Montaña de Oro Tide Beaches

Beaches at Montaña de Oro State Park include quaint, protected coves, long stretches of sand, remote shores and ideal surfing conditions.

Spooner’s Cove Beach

At the point where Islay Creek drains into the ocean, Spooner’s Cove Beach offers a comfortable place to wade, explore tidepools, and picnic. Interesting rock formations invite climbers to play, particularly at low tide. The beach lies just across the street from the Islay Creek Campground, and allows dogs (on leash). As a central point in Montaña de Oro State Park, many trails begin nearby. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, and free parking. Find Spooner’s Cove Beach to the right, just before the campground.

Sandspit Beach

This long beach begs for long walks on soft sand, and the dunes beg for jumping! The sand spit that gives the beach its name continues north, almost all the way to Morro Bay. Amenities at Sandspit Beach include restrooms, free parking and picnic tables. To find the beach, make a right into the Sandspit day-use area, and look for parking at the end of the road. Then make the short walk on a trail to the beach. Enjoy views or Morro Rock and watch surfers ride the waves. Note: Sandspit Beach is an advanced surfing area. Sharks have been known to swim in these waters; surf at your own risk.

Hazard Canyon Reef

A dramatic, rocky section of coastline, Hazard Canyon Reef is one of the best tide-pooling locations in the state. Visit at low tide to see creatures like sea anemones, urchins, sea stars, and crabs in abundance. (Check tide information for best times to tidepool.) Other activities include walking 1.5 miles to Sandspit Beach to the north, and perhaps even several miles further into Morro Bay State Park. Find sand dunes near the parking lot to jump, roll and play on. Explore the reef by following the trail north from the parking lot to a deep drop to the water. Amenities include free parking and equestrian use. Surfing is also popular here, though this is an advanced surfing area; do so at your own risk. To find this beach, enter the park, pass the eucalyptus grove and look for the Hazard Canyon Parking sign.

Coon Creek Beach

The most remote and untouched of Montaña de Oro’s beaches, Coon Creek sits at the southern end of the park. To reach the beach, drive to the end of Pecho Valley Road (the park’s main thoroughfare) park, and follow the Point Buchon Trail to the beach, only open Thursday through Monday. Enjoy tidepools and caves, but remember there are no facilities for visitors to Coon Creek Beach. Spooner's Cove, Los Osos

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Montaña de Oro Camping Overview

Camping in Montaña de Oro allows visitors from across the globe to experience California in its natural state. With nearby hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, surfing, and fishing, these campsites can be reserved at ReserveCalifornia.com.

Islay Creek Campground

This secluded campground with coastal views offers 50 campsites during summer and 25 during winter. With some shade from pine and Monterey cypress trees, each site can accommodate up to 8 people. The campground also offers six primitive sites for backpackers and equestrian sites for those with horses. Trailers, vans, RVs up to 27 feet, pets and campfires are all allowed. Amenities include fire pits, primitive toilets, electrical hookups, potable water and picnic tables. Reservations are essential during summer months, and first-come, first-served during winter. Islay Creek Campground is open year-round. Find the campground entrance just across from Spooner’s Cove, along a half-mile-long loop.

Hazard Canyon Equine Camp

This campground offers 40 sites for either tents or RVs and 4-5 horses each. (Note: electrical hook-ups are not available here.) Two group sites (Madrone and Oak) accommodate up to 50 people and 16-18 horses. Amenities include stalls, pit toilets, fire rings and water for horses. Guests are asked to muck-out their stalls, bring potable water, and keep dogs off equestrian trails. Campers must have a horse to camp at Hazard Canyon Equine Camp. Find the entrance to the horse camp to the left almost immediately after entering the park.

Environmental Campsites

For more options for camping in Montaña de Oro, try hiking into one of its four environmental, primitive sites. These sites can accommodate up to 8 people, but note that they do not allow dogs or campfires. Fees for environmental campsites are $25 per site, per night, plus $10 per vehicle. Environmental campsites can be reserved at the Islay Creek Campground. Find the Bloody Nose Camp and Hazard Grove Camp just north of the Islay Creek Campground. Badger Flat Camp and Deer Flat Camp can be found to the south of the Islay Creek Campground.

Spooner Ranch House

No visit to Montaña de Oro State Park is complete without a visit to the old Spooner Ranch House. Built in 1892, this historic building houses a museum, gift shop and general store for the park. Learn about the Central Coast’s rich agricultural, cultural and natural history with a self-guided tour of the house, which has been lovingly restored by volunteers. Find the Spooner Ranch House just before the Islay Creek Campground, across from Spooner’s Cove. Spooner Ranch House, Los Osos [post_title] => Montaña de Oro State Park [post_excerpt] => This park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => montana-de-oro-state-park [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-30 06:57:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-30 14:57:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://highway1discoveryroute.com/activities/montantildea-de-oro-state-park/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => activities [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 38 [max_num_pages] => 3 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => 1 [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 67cd85f9fdffd5cd62e9f71387afdc5e [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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