Montaña de Oro State Park has dramatic ocean bluffs and summits with sweeping views. The park covers over 8,000 acres and has 7 miles of undeveloped coastline, making it a rare treasure on the California Coast. There is one road into the park, entering from the north from the town of Los Osos, which is just west of the city of San Luis Obispo. For those staying overnight, there is a 50-site campground at the center of the park.
First time visitor should be sure to hike the Bluff Trail, which crosses sea cliffs and coves on the impressive oceanfront. With more energy, you can hike to a mountaintop like Valencia Peak, Oats Peak, or Hazard Peak. There are great ocean views from every summit trail and each peak also looks inland across the Irish Hills, which spread beyond the eastern boundary of Montaña de Oro State Park. Hazard Peak in particular provides nice views north up the coast toward Morro Bay and beyond.
Generally speaking, mountain bikers are allowed on trails on the north side of the park, but that seems to be expanding as Oats Peak is now open to bikes as well. Islay Creek Trail and Hazard Peak Trail and also popular mountain bike routes.
Hikes in Montaña de Oro State Park
The list below contains 9 hikes in Montaña de Oro State Park as well as two additional hikes on the edge of the park (a hike in Morro Dunes Ecological Reserve that reaches a viewpoint within Montaña de Oro State Park and Point Buchon Trail, which travels down the remote coast to the south but relies on a trailhead parking area within Montaña de Oro State Park). These trails are listed from north to south and include an average star rating of each trail as decided by the readers of hikespeak. After you complete one of these hikes, come back and give it your own star rating.
|Morro Dunes Ecological Reserve|
This 2.6-mile loop serves up panoramic views over Morro Bay as it ascends 800 feet from Los Osos to Montaña de Oro State Park.
|Hazard Canyon Reef|
This one-mile hike goes down an oceanfront ravine to a rocky shoreline with engaging tide pools.
|Hazard Peak Trail|
This 6-mile out and back hike ascends coastal ridges to a 1,076-foot summit with panoramic views that include a dynamic perspective of Morro Bay.
|Hazard Peak – Islay Creek Loop|
This 9.2 mile loop continues beyond Hazard Peak deeper into Montaña de Oro State Park before circling back on Islay Creek Trail.
|Islay Creek Trail|
This easy 6-mile out and back hike follows a wide trail up a coastal canyon flanked by thousand-foot peaks, passing a small waterfall to reach an abandoned barn.
|Reservoir Flats Trail|
This 2-mile loop delivers fine ocean and canyon views as it explores the bottom of Islay Creek Canyon.
This 8.25-mile hike combines Old Oats Peak Trail and New Oats Peak Trail to reach a lofty, panoramic summit.
This 3.7-mile hike summits a 1,347-foot peak with stunning views over Montaña de Oro State Park.
This hike of around three miles tours tide pools, beaches, and impressive cliffs along the picturesque coast of Montaña de Oro State Park.
|Rattlesnake Flats Trail – Badger Trail – Bluff Trail Loop|
This 1 2/3-mile hike offers a twist on the Bluff Trail, going along and just above the coast of Montaña de Oro State Park.
|Coon Creek Trail|
This 5-mile out and back hike ventures up a coastal canyon at the south end of the park.
|Point Buchon Trail|
This 1 1/3 to 6.8-mile hike explores the beautiful coastline south of Montaña de Oro State Park.