Treadmill Rating (out of 10):
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Max Elevation: N/A
Elevation Gain: N/A
This hike is a pleasant and very secluded beach hike on level sand. It takes you from a paved parking lot at Guadalupe Beach south to Mussel Rock. As you hike toward Mussel Rock you will have the Pacific Ocean on your right and some of the largest sand dunes in the United States on your left. Sandpipers and seagulls darting in out of the surf will likely be your only company. The sound of the surf is the only thing you will hear for the 3 or so hours you will be on this hike.
This is a quick and easily accessed get-a-way from civilization.
You’ll head for the City of Santa Maria. Take exit for Main Street – Highway 166 West. You’ll pass through Santa Maria, then farmland till you hit the “City” of Guadalupe. Continue West on 166 to the end where you will encounter a usually unoccupied entry gate and guard shack. Follow the road through sand dunes till you arrive in the parking lot. During normal daylight hours, there are bathrooms at the parking lot.
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE HIKE?
Flat, even sand. The hike is about 5 miles round trip. No technical difficulty.
WHO CAN DO THIS HIKE?
Rated at a two on the treadmill scale, this is a typical beach hike. What separates this with most California beach hikes is its seclusion. During a week day, you may be the only person on beach once you get a few hundred yards from the parking lot.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
Year round the weather is agreeable on the Central Coast. However, you should know that the winds are quite strong in this area. I would suggest a morning hike as these winds, which are often steady and strong, start kicking up in the afternoon.
This is a casual beach hike so I do not think that training outside of being in general good physical condition would be necessary. Always consult your Dr. before taking on any new exercise activities.