California Hiking at Its Best in Morro Bay
Whether you're looking for a leisurely nature walk or a heart-pounding power hike, you're sure to find a hiking trail to suit your tastes. Anyone who loves hiking knows that California hiking trails along the Central Coast are among the best around. Scenic California hiking trails for all levels and abilities can be found within a short distance of the Embarcadero Inn.
1. Black Hill, Morro Bay State Park (0.6 - 2.6 miles round trip): Black Hill is an ancient 661-foot volcanic peak in Morro Bay State Park. Choose the easy route or the long route. Either way, you'll reach the summit overlooking Morro Bay and the estuary, Estero Point, Cayucos, Chorro Valley, and the nearby morros of Cerro Cabrillo and Hollister Peak. The ocean views span from Montana de Oro to San Simeon.
2. Chorro Hill, Morro Bay State Park (1.8 miles round trip): Chorro Hill, also known as Turtle Rock, is a 209-foot rounded outcropping in Morro Bay State Park. Located to the east of Black Hill and at the base of Cerro Cabrillo, a hike to the summit will unveil the four-mile expanse of Morro Bay and the estuary, a bird and wildlife habitat where the fresh water of Chorro Creek and Los Osos Creek mix with the salt water of the ocean.
3. Elfin Forest Natural Area (1.5 miles round trip): The Elfin Forest Natural Area is a 92-acre refuge at the eastern shore of Morro Bay along the estuary. This unique hike features a mile of wooden walkways that form an oval loop around the forest. Viewing platforms and overlooks provide plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy the scenery.
4. Sweet Springs Nature Preserve (0.5 to 1 mile round trip): Managed by the Morro Coast Audubon Society, Sweet Springs is a 24-acre wetland sanctuary for nesting and migrating birds on the southeast shore of Morro Bay. Trails through the preserve lead to two serene freshwater ponds, a saltwater marsh at the bay, Monterey cypress and eucalyptus groves. Don't miss the monarch butterflies making their home in the eucalyptus groves during the winter months.
5. Valencia Peak Trail (4 miles round trip; elevation 1345 feet): Valencia Peak is a "young" mountain at only five million years old. Located in Montana de Oro State Park, this hike will take you from the visitor center to the mountain's peak for spectacular 360-degree views. On a clear day, you can see 40 miles to the western horizon then turn to the northeast and see the line of seven volcanic peaks.
For more detailed information about these and other great hikes, check out "Day Hikes in San Luis Obispo" by Robert Stone. Guests of the Embarcadero Inn can find the book in our nature collection located in breakfast room.
Guided Hiking Trips
Central Coast Outdoors offers wonderful guided hiking trips in the Big Sur area. Contact Central Coast Outdoors for schedules and reservations (805)528-1080.