Monday, April 5, 2010

Montaña de Oro State Park in San Luis Obispo County

Montaña de Oro State Park is located south of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County in California. The park includes magnificent beaches, secluded coves, sand dunes, maritime chaparral and hillsides with great vistas. The migratory path for blue whales and gray whales is out there in the ocean. The park is a perfect place for hiking, biking, horse riding, surfing, or birding. Its Spanish name means “Mountain of Gold,” referring to the seasonal coverage of hill slopes with golden-looking flowers. Besides plants such as wildflowers and the Morro manzanita, you may also want to look out for animal life on the beach and in the sand dune scrubs. Depending on day-time, season and your patience, you will be able to spot sandpipers, the Western snowy plover, the Morro Bay kangaroo rat, the Morro blue butterfly, and the Morro shoulderband snail. Notice that some of these species are threatened or endangered. Make sure that they have their habitat undisturbed so they can reproduce while you recreate!

Getting there, staying there
From Highway 1, take the South Bay Boulevard exit and go south. Pass the Quarry and Park Ridge trailheads on your left. Drive through Baywood Park and turn right on Los Osos Valley Road that continues as Pecho Valley Road into the State Park. Trails are accessible at various sites. If you plan to stay on camp grounds in the park, notice that currently the availability of certain campsites and services has been reduced.

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