Treadmill Rating (out of 10): 4 out of 10
Distance: 4 miles (round trip)
Max Elevation: 1347 feet
Elevation Gain: 1347 feet
This is one of my favorite coastal day hikes on the Central Coast of California. The hike begins in one of the most beautiful areas anywhere in California, Montana De Oro. This area is known for fantastic surfing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. But, you don’t have to drive very far to get there. Montana De Oro is a short 15 minute drive from San Luis Obispo and is situated just outside of the town of Los Osos. The trailhead is pretty much at sea level and offers ample parking. You can park right at the trailhead and start up the trail immediately. There are currently no fees to park or utilize the trails at Montana De Oro.
The hike is about 2 miles to the summit. From the summit, on a clear day, you can see the entire north coast of San Luis Obispo County including Morro Rock, Hearst Castle, and much more. Again, this is one my favorite hikes mainly because of the cool coastal breeze and the views. I always find myself stopping every 100 yards to turn around and take in the view. There are very few spots on the trail when you are unable to see the ocean.
There is plenty of camping available at the nearby camping areas. Plus, there are several other trails in the immediate area. I would recommdend making a weekend camping trip and checking out everything Montana De Oro has to offer.
The hike gets a little difficult near the middle of the hike, but overall it is a mild hike. I highly recommend this hike for anyone who is visiting the San Luis Obispo area. It is worth every minute of the 20 minute drive. Take your camera, you will need it!
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE HIKE?
The hike isn’t very technical. Most of the hike is on a single wide trail and is usually in great condition. There are a few steep spots and some small areas of some loose rocks, but this is a hike I have taken my children on and I have actually carried my youngest on my shoulders for most of this hike.
This hike is well suited for hikers of all skill levels and all ages. I highly recommend this hike to families. There are some great spots along the hike to stop, take a break, eat a sack lunch, and take in the beauty of the Central Coast of California.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
The weather is wonderfull year round. In fact, I usually head to Montana De Oro in the summer to escape the heat. There will be more fog and overcast conditions during the summer, but you can hit this hike year round.
Make sure you are in good physical condition for this hike. It may be a relatively short hike but you have to remember there is over 1300 feet of elevation gain. Take it slowly if you are not in good shape. Make sure you take your time on the way down to avoid injuring your knees or ankles.
Water, good walking/hiking shoes, hat, camera, day pack, food/snacks.