Montaña de Oro

State Park

Montaña de Oro

Montaña de Oro is a beloved state park among locals for its long bluff trail (the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline on the central coast), challenging peaks, and cultural history. Visitors are often treated to flocks of brown pelicans skimming the water, bobcats sitting on park benches, and whales spouting during their annual migration. Thousands of couples have chosen spectacular Spooner’s Cove for their weddings.

Where is it?

Montaña de Oro is six miles southwest of Morro Bay and seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Road.

History

Spooner Ranch House provides a wealth of historical information about the area. From the Native people originally inhabiting the land, to European explorers, ranchers and farmers, Montaña de Oro is rich with history. Spooner’s Cove and the bluff above it even hold mischievous stories of prohibition day exporting and transport! Visit the Ranch House for the most comprehensive history available on this remarkable piece of California coastline.

Recreation

With over 8,000 acres, Montaña de Oro is one of the largest state parks in California. With that much land, recreation options and activities for visitors abound. Dogs are not permitted on any trails, beaches, or undeveloped areas. Mountain bikers need to use only those trails marked for bicycles, and equestrians should use only those trails marked for horses.

Activities at Montaña de Oro

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Adventures with Nature (docent-led hikes)
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Tidepools
  • Picnic areas
  • Exhibits and programs
  • Fishing
  • Scuba diving/snorkeling
  • Surfing/wind surfing
  • Geocaching
  • Weddings
  • Interpretive exhibits
  • Beach area

ATTRACTIONS

Spooner Ranch House

Start your visit at the historic Spooner Ranch House above Spooner’s Cove on the way to the campground. The Ranch House serves as a visitor’s center with trail maps and park information and includes a general mercantile. Spooner Ranch House has exhibits featuring the history of Montaña de Oro, the Spooner Ranch and Stock Company, Native American history, Japanese farming on the bluffs, and natural history of the park.

 

Visit the ranch house for tide information, and please watch this video on tidepooling at Montaña de Oro with local docent, Sally Krenn.

Interpretive Garden

The boardwalk that is located between the Ranch House and Valencia Peak leads to a picnic area and interpretive garden which contains examples of local, native plants that are found in Montaña de Oro. Not only does the garden serve as a lovely picnic area with tables and a view of the bluffs and coastline, but the garden contains a wealth of information about what grows in the park. As the plants are natives, the garden looks the best in spring; starting in the summer, the garden becomes dormant. The plants are marked, but the garden is best enjoyed by having someone explain what they are looking at. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of any of our docents or volunteers they happen to find wandering between the sage and mugwort and sticky monkey flower! 

Shopping

The Nature Store at the Spooner Ranch House is open seven days a week, from 11am – 2pm. Souvenirs, toys, apparel, and other general merchandise can be found, as well as a small selection of snacks and drinks for park visitors.

Camping

Montaña de Oro offers environmental, horse, group, tent, and RV camping options. Please consider buying your firewood from our camp hosts. Sales of firewood fund education and interpretation in our local parks, and protect our trees and plants from invasive, non-local pests traveling on out-of-area wood. Click here for campground information and reservations.