Montana de Oro State Park
Los Osos, California
With thousands of acres to explore, Montana de Oro lives up to its translated name, "Mountain of Gold." There's something for everybody - sea arches, sea caves, tide pools, sand dunes, beaches and hills. You can hike, bike, ride a horse, swim and camp at this park. It's definitely one of the most rugged, beautiful coastlines I've ever seen.
My two favorite trails here are the Bluff Trail (3 miles roundtrip) and the Point Buchon Trail (6.8 miles roundtrip). If you hike both of these trails, you'll get to see so many caves and rock formations, you'll loose count. I recommend taking a full day and starting your hike at the North end of the Bluff Trail to the end where you'll reach a fenced gate at the road. This is where the Point Buchon Trail begins. The Point Buchon Trail is part of property owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The company only opens the trail up to the public Thursday through Monday between the hours of 8-4 PM.
Both trails are relatively flat, but the Point Buchon Trail does have a few spots where you'll gain a bit of elevation. For the Point Buchon Trail, I also recommend ending the hike at the bench where you can see the nuclear power plant in the distance. The remainder of the hike from this point will only bring you closer to the plant but won't bring you to any better view than you've already seen. You can find a map of the Bluff Trail HERE and a map of the Point Buchon Trail HERE. Make sure you spend some time to explore the little paths leading to the different rock formations along the Bluff Trail. Low tide will allow access to the cave seen in the photo at the top of the webpage and can be reached by taking the Point Buchon Trail.
If you have additional time, check out the Dune Trail and walk along the beach. You can definitely find your very own patch of sand at this section of the park.
- You can reserve a camping spot in advance HERE. Alternatively, there are some good Airbnb's in Los Osos just near the park.
- Get your complete breakfast from Back Bay Cafe as you watch the fog roll in off the water.
- For some great Sushi and Ramen, check out Kuma Sushi.
- Google the tide schedule and time your visit accordingly to be able to see the tide pools and explore the caves.