Valencia Peak in Montaña De Oro State Park

One of my favorite hikes in San Luis Obispo county is Valencia Peak. I’m a sucker for ocean view hikes, and if you are too then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

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When I hiked Valencia peak in July, there was some fog on the coast and we felt like we were in heaven…

Montana de Oro State Park is about 25 minutes outside of San Luis Obispo and admission is free, which is perfect for when you’re looking for a quick hike with a view worth the climb. Take Los Osos Valley road until it comes to Pecho Valley Road and take this into the park. See the bottom of the post for exact trailhead coordinates!

There’s parking right in front of the trailhead, but beware that I have seen more than one minivan or sedan bottom out in attempt to park on this dusty and bumpy lot (but luckily Conner’s truck was up to the job).

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The old sign saying that the trail is only 2 miles, before the route was extended and more switchbacks were added to decrease steepness.

The trail is about 2.2 miles up to the 1,347 feet peak, (about 4.5 miles roundtrip) meaning that gets very steep in some parts and also has sheer cliffside drop-offs, so watch your step. Usually when you hike you start a little ways up the hill (think Bishop’s Peak if you’re from SLO) but this hike it literally starts at sea level by the sea, so you’re hiking the full 1,000+ feet!

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Favorite Hiking Buddy  ❤

In the Spring, this route has a plethora of gorgeous blooming wildflowers, but in the Summer we at least get to see what remains of them… Still pretty. About 2 tenths of a mile in, you can look down to see Islay Creek campground which fun fact: I camped there in January once and it was reeeeally cold so if you’re gonna camp there maybe do it in a warmer month.

A little ways up you’ll come to a fork in the path on the right. Follow the signage and take the trail going straighter upwards. It says it’s only one more mile to the peak but keep in mind that it’s a steep one!

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Follow the signs toward the trail.
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Once you see the drop-offs you wont be surprised there’s no mountain biking… or horses… allowed on the trail.

Be respectful of the parts of the trail which are closed for restoration, or roped off to restrict access. The reason they’re closed is either for your own safety, or for the preservation of the mountain itself so that everyone can continue to enjoy it in the future as well.

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The beginning of the trail is extremely dusty while the following parts are covered in jagged rocks. These rocks can become loose and get dislodged so be careful to watch your step when climbing. The higher you get up the mountain the more common and steeper the rocks become.

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As you’re heading up, if you’re facing west toward the ocean, off to the north-west is Morro bay and Morro rock, and South-east is toward Hazard Canyon Reef.

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We did a sunset hike, but it’s a gorgeous view any time of day. There’s a false peak about halfway up the path in which my family and I thought we had reached the top the first time I hiked this trail, but then realized we were only halfway up… Keep on going and enjoying the view on both sides as you walk along the ridge.

Eventually you’ll be climbing switchbacks again. When you get to the real peak, you’ll be greeted by a sign signaling your 1,400 foot accomplishment and giving you the choice to turn either left or right to reach the 360 degree views of the ocean and the surrounding Central Coast.

I think that turning left is faster to get to the wind blown picnic table at the top, but my parents swear that going to the right is faster, and Conner chose to climb straight up the face of the rocks.

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You can see to the ends of the Earth (almost)
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My father looking majestic

No matter how hot the weather may be at the start of the climb, it’s bound to be windy and chilly at the top so I suggest packing a sweatshirt. As always also make sure that you have water to avoid dehydration and put on sunblock to protect your skin as well as sunglasses to protect your eyes as this hike has no shade! And enjoy the views until the next time you come back to Valencia Peak.

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Trailhead address: Pecho Valley Road, Montaña de Oro State Park, Los Osos, CA 93402

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Molly’s SLO bucketlist

There are college bucket lists, there are life bucket lists, and then there is a San Luis Obispo bucket list.

Not so SLO Livin

In a city like SLO you really get it all: multiple beaches within a 30 minute drive, the cutest downtown ever with a wide selection of restaurants/hoppin’ night scene if you’re above 21, and a wide variety of hiking trails just waiting to be conquered. It’s basically heaven on earth.

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The sunset at a fall Farmer’s market

In the midst of this growing up and being responsible madness, I’m gonna share my SLO bucket list. As I check individual undone items off, I’ll do a post about it. I’m gonna do a throwback every once in a while for the items that have already been checked off.  Send me your suggestions and I will share with you my experiences!

Here’s what I have so far:

  • Visit every beach within a reasonable radius
  • Camp/sightsee in Montaña de Oro

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  • Hike to the Avila Lighthouse 
  • Eat breakfast at Madonna Inn’s Copper Cafe
  • Camp on Bishops
  • Paddle board in Morro Bay
  • Visit the Avila Hot Springs
  • Go horseback riding
  • Go on a trip with “Poly Goats”
  • Sightseeing/Camping in Big Sur
  • Watch the SLO Symphony
  • Visit Hearst Castle
  • Go to the Farmer’s market
  • Eat at Linnaea’s cafe
  • Visit Spooners Cove
  • Day trip to Visit Santa Barbara IMG_9668.JPG
  • Visit Pirate’s Cove

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  • Hike Avila Ridge
  • Visit the Abandoned asylum 
  • Hike Madonna during Christmastime with the Christmas tree at the top
  • Visit Big Falls 
  • Jump off the Avila pier
  • Attend “Walk a Mile in her shoes”
  • Run “Mustang Mile”
  • Run the “Wild Things” run
  • Eat dessert at 1865
  • Visit Lopez Lake
  • Visit Nacimiento Lake
  • Camp on Grover Beach

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  • Get the perfect “little” in Kappa Alpha Theta
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  • Be a WOW leader (Cal Poly Orientation leader)
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  • Eat at Bali’s
  • Go rock climbing at Crux
  • Eat at Fat Cats Cafe in Avila
  • Go salsa Dancing
  • Volunteer at the Wildflower triathlon

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  • Go line Dancing
  • Try ballroom dancing
  • Visit the butterfly grove in Pismo
  • Go to the Morro Bay Boat Parade

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  • Visit the Cambria Christmas Market
  • See a roller derby match
  • Hike Bishops at sunrise (then make chocolate chip pancakes!) 
  • Stay at “Madonna inn” for a night
  • Stand Up Paddle board at Avila 
  • Visit the Shell beach tide pools
  • Visit Perfumo Canyon
  • Go on more Polyescapes trips
  • Eat at every restaurant downtown
  • Try every coffee place downtown
  • Eat at every ice cream place downtown
  • Go on every hike in the SLO area
  • Go on the famous “21st birthday” downtown bar crawl
  • Graduate and get a degree and become successful and live happily ever after

If you have any suggestions please comment. Because the list is basically never ending, and neither are the adventures.

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