Enjoy hiking in Morro Bay

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Morro-RockThere are various options for hikers of all levels

Morro Bay is rich with natural beauty, and there is no better way to experience it them by hiking. There are numerous trails that can accommodate a variety of outdoor leisure activities.

A great easy hike, perfect for a brisk fall morning, is black hill, the second to last of nine volcanic peaks that lie between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay – the last being Morro Rock itself. Morro Rock, a sacred space for two local Native American tribes, is not hikeable except with a special permit. The distance from the Morro Bay State Park campground to the top of Black Hill and back is approximately three miles with an elevation gain of 600 feet. This scenic and enjoyable hike is relatively easy and can be done in just an hour or two.

Just south of Morro Bay is beautiful Montana De Oro State Park. Montana De Oro is Spanish for, “Mountains of gold,” and refers to the small yellow flowers that bloom throughout the park. There are numerous hiking trails through the park, including Bluff Trail, a level coastal trail, which is suitable for bikes and wheelchairs. It is about 2.1 miles long one way with a host of side trails that allow for outings between one and five miles. The hike is the perfect way to see all the tide pools, beaches, rock islands, and natural bridges, along the stunning coastline of the park, hitting highlights like Corallina Cove, Quarry Cove, and Grotto Rock.

Start from the north end of the Bluff Trail at a parking area on Pecho Valley Road just past the visitor center and across from the trailhead for Valencia Peak. More adventurous hikers can continue up Valencia Peak, one of the highest summits in the park. It provides arguably some of the best views of the park’s stunning shoreline and inviting inland peaks. About 3.7-miles round trip, there is 1,275 feet of elevation to tackle, with a few level steps allowing you to catch your breath amidst the scenic climb to the amazing 360-degree views from the summit.

– Skye Pratt

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