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Valencia Peak Trail is located on the central coast of California in Montana De Oro State Park. It is a doable hike for most skill levels and rewards successful hikers with panoramic views of the coastline. If you look north from the summit, you can see all the way to Morro Bay and catch a glimpse of Morro Rock.
Time Required: 2-3 Hours
Location: 5 miles south of Los Osos, CA
Distance: 4.5 mile (7.2km) round
Highest Elevation: 1347ft (410m)
Elevation Gain: 1275ft (388m)
Difficulty: 5/10 – elevation gain
Season: Year Round
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Los Osos: Head West on Foothills Blvd. Turn right on Los Osos Valley Rd and follow for 8.5 miles. At mile 7 you will need to stay left to remain on Los Osos Valley Rd. Continue onto Pecho Valley Rd for another 3.8 miles. You will reach a parking lot at the Montana De Oro State Park. Park 100 yards further in a small lot at the Valencia Peak Trailhead.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes.Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. You could get away with running shoes but having extra grip on the rock surfaces will definitely come in handy!
- Water: This hike is long, exposed to the hot sun and has lots of elevation gain. Be sure to bring enough water for 2-3 hours of physical exertion.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as a light lunch for when you arrive at the summit. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: The starting point for this hike is in Montana De Oro State Park near Spooner’s Cove (Route marker #2 on the map). The trail to the summit of Valencia Peak is well maintained and marked so there will be no issues finding your way to the summit.
We highly recommend making a pit stop at Morro Bay (Route marker #1 on the map) on the way to Valencia Peak. Morro Bay is about 5 minutes North of Los Osos and is a quaint little fishing town that is worth checking out!
Valencia Peak Step-By-Step Guide:
The Valencia Peak trailhead is at a small parking lot just south of Spooner’s Cove (Route marker #2 on the map)and the Montana De Oro State Park Visitors Center. From the parking area, the trail heads inland towards a large pyramid shaped peak. This trail is well trafficked, well marked and should be easy for you to follow.
After following the trail for about a half mile, you will begin gaining elevation up a series switchbacks. There is a consistent elevation up this leg of the journey. You will come to a junction with Badger Trail at 1.15 miles but the intersection is well signed to direct you onward to Valencia Peak. Once you reach the summit, relax at the picnic table and enjoy the coastal views.
The hike down from the peak is substantially easier and the view out to the ocean is beautiful. Once you reach the parking lot at the bottom, be sure to check out Spooner’s Cove (Route marker #2 on the map). It is a small bay at the entrance to Montana De Oro State Park with big rocks and bluffs to walk along. Spooner’s Cove is a great place to watch the sunset and we recommend planning your day to be here at that time.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
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Have fun out there!