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Pacific Ocean Views at Montaña de Oro State Park

How to visit one of the best State Parks in California

the Pacific Ocean at Montaña de Oro State Park

For the last few years, I have had the great fortune of having family that lived in south central California. Near Fresno if you know the area, about two hours southeast of San Francisco if you don’t! They move often for work, so they are never in any one place for very long, but whenever they land, they become my tour guides for their new home turf!

So let me introduce you to my siblings’ (and by extension, my own) favorite place to experience the incredible might and scale of the pacific ocean.

That place, my friends, is Montaña de Oro State Park.

Montaña de Oro is located in Los Osos, California (which means, The Bears in Spanish!) It's right on the Pacific Ocean, and splits the difference pretty nicely between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Or of you happen to be traveling through Fresno on your way to one of California’s many National Parks, it’s an easy drive from there!

Here’s everything that makes Montaña de Oro a magical destination.

Cliff Views

As someone who grew up traveling to Florida to visit grandparents and/or Disney World, I was introduced to the ocean at a young age.

The Pacific is a different beast.

The difference between the Atlantic and the Pacific has never been more perfectly showcased than at  Montaña de Oro State Park. This park boasts miles upon miles of trails, but the most picturesque is, by a wide margin, the Bluff Trail. This trail is easily accessible from the parking lots and ranger station, and friends. The Views.

a traveler on a cliff in front of the Pacific Ocean at Montaña de Oro State Park

The Bluff Trail traces the coastline, composed of stunning rocky coves and majestic, pounding waves. It’s the perfect place to soak in the views, climb the rock formations, and admire the ocean in all her majesty.

Touch the Water

Whether this is your first visit to the Pacific or your fiftieth, you've got to go put your feet in it. Gotta.

The Bluff Trail has you covered here too. As you follow the path along the cliffs, you’ll come across a stairway that takes your right down to the shore. While not a particularly sandy beach, it’s the perfect place to take off your shoes and explore the shoreline. It’s perfect for exploring and climbing.

a traveler on the beach at Montaña de Oro State Park

Climb the Hill

Once you’ve completed the Bluff Trail loop, take the extra time to hike up some of the trails on the other side of the main road. These trails climb upward into the hills. There are two short summits you can bag if you’re interested, but even if you don’t go all the way up, these trails make nice loops back to the parking lots, and give you a birds-eye view of the cliffs and the ocean

the Pacific Ocean at Montaña de Oro State Park

Check out the Historic House

As you trek your way back to the parking lots, make sure to stop in at the park Visitor’s Center. It’s located in a historical structure called the Spooner Ranch House, and tells you some of the park’s history as well as providing park maps and park shop goodies.

And that's the Montaña de Oro State Park Magic!

For a glimpse of the iconic scenery that you can only find on the Pacific coast, there's no better place!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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