SLO County Hike of the Week: A secluded Piedras Blancas trail to view elephant seals

Highway 1 Discovery Route Travel Blog

SLO County Hike of the Week: A secluded Piedras Blancas trail to view elephant seals

This Blog originally appeared on The Tribune BY TRAVIS GIBSON,

The trail: Boucher Trail at Piedras Blancas. Take Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo for 46 miles, past San Simeon, until you reach Elephant Seal Vista Point.

Distance: 3.8 miles out and back.

Difficulty: Easy. As far as hikes go, this is as easy as it gets. This hike provides grassy, wide, well-marked and well-maintained trails. It’s more about the views and wildlife than the workout.

Tips: It only takes about an hour and a half to complete the out-and-back hike, so you might want to bring a small snack and a little bit of water, but nothing major.

Dogs: Dogs are not allowed

Parking: You can either park at the main Elephant Seal Vista point parking lot or another parking lot about a quarter-mile north. Parking at the main parking lot will add a little distance to your hike, but the northernmost parking lot is usually less crowded and is where the Boucher Trail officially starts. There is also a third parking lot at the very end of the trail 2 miles north that provides a third option. All parking is free.

Facilities: There are no bathrooms or garbage cans on the trail.

Description: This leisurely stroll along the cliffs of Piedras Blancas is the perfect hike for anyone who wants to add a little something extra to their elephant seal visit. There are two lookout spots along the hike that offer great views of the elephant seals without the crowds usually found at the main vista. The first spot is about a 10 minute walk and the next spot is about 15 minutes after that. If you really want to make a day of it, take a guided tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, which sits right in the middle of the trail. The tour costs $10 for adults and is offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:45 a.m.

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