Montaña de Oro State Park preserves a stunning stretch of the California’s Central Coast where the Irish hills meet the Pacific Ocean. Picturesque bluffs and sandy coves dominate the coastline. On the inland side of the park, there are charming peaks and canyons. Within the park’s largest canyon, Islay Creek Canyon, you’ll find Islay Creek Campground. The conveniently-located campground is just a short walk from the beach at Spooner’s Cove and can serve as a base camp for hikes on nearby trails like the Bluff Trail, Valencia Peak Trail, Hazard Peak Trail, Islay Creek Trail, and Oats Peak Trail. Reservoir Flats Trail actually passes right through Islay Creek Campground, on a 2-mile loop that provides a great overview of the campground’s surroundings.
Islay Creek Campground has 50 standard campsites that accommodating groups of eight or less. The campground is spread along a roughly half-mile long road with two loops. Monterey cypress and larger pines provide intermittent shade. There is soft ground to set tents up on, and sites can accommodate small RVs up to 27 feet in length. Campground amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets, and potable water.
The campground is open year round, and reservations are accepted during the summer season. During the winter, sites are first-come first-served. Expect the campground to be full most weekends throughout the summer and book your site in advance, either online or by calling (800) 444-7275. Individual sites at Islay Creek Campground are $25 per night ($23 for seniors) with $10 for an additional vehicle (a maximum of three vehicles are allowed per site). During the day, there is free additional parking at the nearby Spooner’s Ranch House Visitor Center, but there is no overnight parking in Montaña de Oro State Park outside the campground.
Collecting firewood is not allowed, but you can purchase firewood from the camp host. Dogs are allowed on leashes in the campground, but not on trails and beaches, except for Spooner’s Cove Beach, which is just below the campground at the bottom of Islay Creek Canyon. Check-in time is at 2 p.m. and check-out is at 12 p.m.
Montaña de Oro State Park has other camping options as well. If you’re with an equine, there is a horse camp in Hazard Canyon, just a short distance north up the coast. There are also four environmental camping sites in Montaña de Oro State Park. These primitive sites are hike-in sites and do not allow campfires or dogs (but still accommodate groups up to eight people). The first two environmental campsites, Bloody Nose Camp and Hazard Grove Camp, are located north of Islay Creek Campground and the second two, Badger Flat Camp and Deer Flat Camp, are located south of Islay Creek Campground (photos of Badger Flat Camp are below). Environmental Campsites are $25 per site and $10 for extra vehicles. If an environmental site has not been reserved, you can self-register for the site at Islay Creek Campground just as you would for a site at Islay Creek Campground.
To get to the campground: From San Luis Obispo, exit Highway 101 at Los Osos Valley Road and drive northwest toward Los Osos. After 11.2 miles, Los Osos Valley Road becomes Pecho Valley Road and turns sharply to the south. Continue the final 3.7 miles, entering Montaña de Oro State Park and passing through a eucalyptus grove before reaching the road to Islay Creek Campground on the left side of the road just past Spooner’s Cove and the visitor center in Spooner’s Ranch House (and before the trailheads for the Bluff Trail and Valencia Peak). Turn left onto the road past the visitor center and drive down into the campground.
Campground address: Pecho Valley Road, Los Osos, CA 93402
Campground coordinates: 35.274021, -120.88478 (35° 16′ 26.47″N 120° 53′ 05.20″W)
Use the map below to view the campground and get directions:
|Reservoir Flats Trail|
This 2-mile loop delivers fine ocean and canyon views as it explores the bottom of Islay Creek Canyon in Montaña de Oro State Park.
This scenic 10.8-mile hike ventures into Montaña de Oro State Park to a panoramic summit.
|Islay Creek Trail|
This easy 6-mile round trip hike follows a wide trail up a coastal canyon flanked by thousand-foot peaks, passing a small waterfall to reach an abandoned barn.
|Hazard Peak Trail|
This 6-mile round trip 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 Montana de Oro before circling back on Islay Creek Trail.
|Valencia Peak Trail|
This 4.5-mile hike summits a 1,347-foot peak with stunning views over Montaña de Oro.
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.
|Dune Trail to Hazard Canyon Reef|
This one-mile hike in Montaña de Oro State Park descends an oceanfront ravine to a rocky shoreline graced with engaging tide pools.
|Coon Creek Trail|
This 5-mile out and back hike ventures up a coastal canyon at the south end of Montaña de Oro State Park.
|Point Buchon Trail|
This 1 1/3 to 6.8-mile hike explores the beautiful coastline south of Montaña de Oro State Park.
|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.
|Elfin Forest Natural Reserve|
This easy 1-mile loop on a boardwalk explores a pygmy forest on the edge of Morro Bay.
|More hikes in San Luis Obispo|
Explore other trails around San Luis Obispo including Morro Bay State Park and the Morros.