| Montaña de OroState Park
Just south of Morro Bay, Montaña de OroState Park's 7,828 acres included rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, and year-round streams in wooded canyons. The park gets its name Mountain of Gold from its profusion of wildflowers in spring; then, you'll find carpets of fiddleneck and California poppy on the slopes that sweep back from the sea, and California buttercups decorating the mountainsides.
The park's most prominent geologic feature is 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. From the summit, on a clear day, you can see nearly a hundred miles of coastline, from Point Sal north to Piedras Blancas.
Explore the sand dunes and tide pools on your own or with one of the state park volunteers. (link to CCNHA hike schedule) The coves and tide pools of the park are places to see dolphins, sea lions and oystercatchers.
Sand Spit - Morro Bay Sandspit
Experienced surfers may be found at Hazard Reef, but swimming anywhere along the shore of Montaña de Orois not advisable. The water is fraught with heavy currents, the bottom quickly drops to deep water and there are no lifeguards on duty. This is not a place for anyone to swim due to the unpredictable water conditions.
Walk along the bluffs from Spooner's Cove to Corallina Cove learning about the geology of the wave-cut terraces, cliffs, beaches and tide pools. Meet at the Visitor's Center, Montaña de Oro State Park. Wear non-skid shoes and dress warmly. (M) 1.5 mi., 2 hr.
The Morro bay sandspit is an ecologically diverse area that represents a unique dune barrier separating Morro Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The sandspit forms the northern extension of Montaña de OroState Park. Within unit boundaries, the sandspit is approximately four miles long; dunes reach 100 feet in height. The sands that form the dunes complex are wind-driven and derived from sedimentary, igneous, and alluvial parent materials.
But the park's near natural state is part of its magnificent beauty. Visitors can see views of the sand spit that separates Morro Bay from the ocean, Valencia Peak, the wild poppies of inland valleys or the ancient California Live Oak trees.
Picnic tables offer a great view of Spooner's Cove
Amenities at the park include pit and portable toilets, an occasional bench, picnic tables and barbecue stands.
Sketch Walk (Montaña de Oro)
Walk along the bluff at Montaña de Oro State Park. Admire the beauty of our outdoor heritage, stopping to draw the plants, the ocean, or the tilted shale strata. No drawing experience necessary. Bring a pad of drawing paper (no larger than 9" by 12"), colored pencils or pastels, and some water to drink. Consider bringing a camera too. Meet at the bluff parking lot, across the street from the visitor center at Montaña de Oro State Park with guest artist, Rachel Winn Yon. (E) 2 mi., 3 hr.