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13 Things to Do in Montaña de Oro

Montaña de Oro offers visitors and locals alike a sweet serenity along the Central Coast, allowing you to escape your fast-paced lifestyle and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Locally known as MDO, Montaña de Oro has many activities and one-of-a-kind adventures waiting for you.

Located about 30-minutes from Downtown San Luis Obispo, this state park is the perfect place to day trip. Relax at the beach, embark on a hike or set up a picnic. Montaña de Oro State Park features rugged cliffs, unmarked canyons, secluded sandy beaches, calming eucalyptus groves and miles of trails. The park’s name means “Mountain of Gold,” inspired by the golden wildflowers that bloom in Spring. Experience this beauty for yourself and check out these 13 things to do in Montaña de Oro.

1. Set up for a beach day at Spooner’s Cove, the best-known beach in MDO

2. Reach new heights and hike to Valencia Peak, standing more than 1,300 feet tall and featuring epic views of the Central Coast

3. Capture Insta-worthy photo ops with the wildflower covered hills and majestic coastline

4. Venture through the eucalyptus groves on Bloody Nose Trail (don’t let the name deter you)

5. Find your inner zen and do yoga on the beach with waves crashing in the background and the ocean breeze cooling you down

6. For those experienced surfers, grab a board and hike down Dune Trail or Hazard Reef Trail to the Hazard Reef, a favorite, local surf spot

7. Race down by foot or sled the ancient sand dunes alongside the Pacific Ocean

8. Grab an epic sando from one of the top sandwich shops in San Luis Obispo and picnic at the day use area off of Sand Spit Road

9. Round up the horses and prep for a ride at Hazard Canyon Parking Area for a memorable horseback riding excursion  

10.Cruise along the coast and walk the Bluff Trail, weaving along Spooner’s, Corallina and Quarry Cove

11. Shift into gear and mountain bike on Oats Peak Trail for an adventure like no other

12. Explore the marine life in the tide pools with 7 miles of pristine coastline 

13. Sit back and enjoy a sunset at one of the secluded MDO beaches with Morro Rock and the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop

Things To Know

  • Open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily
  • Layered clothing is highly recommended
  • Pack water and food in advance since there are no food services within the state park (please pack out what you pack in!)
  • Always stay on designated trails
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trails or beaches, expect for Spooner’s Cove beach
  • Poison oak grows throughout the park so please be aware of where you are walking


How to Get to Montaña de Oro from San Luis Obispo

From Downtown San Luis Obispo, there are two routes to get to Montaña de Oro – hopping on Highway 1 or cruising on Los Osos Valley Road, which is the fastest route. Directions below.

  1. Head northwest on Morro Street toward Monterey Street.
  2. Turn left at the 3rd cross street onto Mill Street.
  3. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Chorro Street.
  4. Turn left onto Foothill Boulevard.
  5. Turn right onto Los Osos Valley Road and continue for about 7 miles.
  6. Take a slight left to stay on Los Osos Valley Road.
  7. Continue onto Pecho Valley Road to your destination.

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