Magical hikes and fascinating guided walking tours await visitors along the CA’s Highway 1 Discovery Route on California’s beautiful Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County. This stretch of Highway 1 is part of the US Dep. Of Transportation National Scenic Byways Program, located mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The entire route offers breathtaking natural beauty, a preeminent wine region and extraordinary choices for accommodations. From lush farmland to the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the area boasts vast stretches of white sandy beaches and picturesque rugged coastline, renowned wineries, the world famous Hearst Castle, bucolic farmland, wildlife, pristine forests, beautiful state parks and untouched natural beauty as far as the eye can see. There are 10 diverse artisan towns and seaside villages to explore, from Ragged Point & San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, and Los Osos/Baywood Park, toAvila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano andNipomo.
Magical hikes are full of wonder, enchantment, and excitement on the central coast. Central coast magic is to be found exploring beyond the main streets by hiking the less traveled areas of the Highway 1 Discovery Route. Those wanting to learn more about the area, and experience its magic, can participate in docent-led guided walks and hikes as well.
Arroyo Grande Valley:
Enjoy Ranger-led interpretive day and evening hikes throughout the oak woodland forest of Lopez Lake. Experience some of the most breathtaking views of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range and Pacific Ocean.
– The trail is close to three miles and is open to hikers, dogs and mountain bikes.
Big Falls 4WD Trail
– Tucked away behind Lopez Lake is one of the most scenic spots on the Central Coast, Big Falls. The two waterfalls along Big Falls Creek are some of the best around and worth the trek.
Bob Jones Trail
– The Bob Jones Trail is the “City to the Sea” bike trail. Used for hiking, jogging and biking, the paved trail winds through the forested valley alongside San Luis Obispo Creek towards Avila Beach.
Ontario Ridge Trail
– Ontario Ridge Trail is a rugged, sometimes-steep track crossing a 700-foot hill above the Shell Beach bluff, with spectacular ocean views.
Cayucos Horseback Riding
– Come join us at Outback Trail Rides for a premier horseback riding experience on California’s Central Coast.
Los Osos & Baywood Park:
– The Quarry Trail skirts the southern flank of Cerro Cabrillo, past the rubble piles of an abandoned quarry site used for road construction in the 1950s.
– Bluff Trail, located within Montaña de Oro State Park, is a 3.4 mile round-trip hike that takes you along the coastal bluffs, passing tide pools, beaches and a scenic rocky coastline.
Oso Flaco Lake Trail
– Just west of Nipomo lies one of the most scenic natural areas all along California’s coast, Oso Flaco Lake.
Monarch Butterfly Grove
– From late October to February, thousands of black and gold Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of a Eucalyptus grove at Pismo State Beach, providing us with a breathtaking glimpse of nature in all her vibrant glory. Docent on site.
Oceano Horseback Riding
– Whether you’re a seasoned rider or have never seen a saddle in your life, there is nothing to match the experience of riding horseback on the beach.
San Simeon & Ragged Point:
San Simeon State Park
– The coastal bluffs and promontories of the scenic park offer unobstructed views of the ocean and rocky shore.
Elephant Seals Docent Talks
– These events will include a 90-minute presentation with question and answer period, followed by a Rookery tour to observe the behaviors discussed during the exploratory.
San Simeon Cove
– The trail leading out to the point is a magical walk along a wooded path on the bluffs above the beach. Lacy moss dangles from the eucalyptus, pines, cedars, and cypress that flank the trail.
Stewardship Travel Hikes and Guided Tours
is about adding a bit of “doing good and feeling good” to your vacation. As you plan your trip along the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, add an hour or two of fun volunteer time to your day, or schedule a travel adventure to a natural, cultural or historic site. Plant seedlings in a native garden, contribute to a historic lighthouse, make new friends at a beach cleanup or become a “citizen scientist” at a nature center. Your stewardship benefits and helps you connect to the Central Coast in a real way. There are more than 70 Stewardship activities that provide opportunities to stay, play, connect and care. Many hotels, motels, bed and breakfast, and vacation rentals offer Stewardship Traveler activity maps covering all 10 regions of the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route. Here are some of the magical hikes and guided tours offered to visitors who want to make a difference while on vacation:
Los Osos/Baywood Park:
Edna Valley/Arroyo Grande Valley: