Los Osos Oaks

State Natural Reserve

Los Osos Oaks

Ancient sand dunes covered with centuries-old coast live oak trees are protected in this 90-acre grove. Five major plant communities thrive within the reserve including coastal sage scrub, central coastal scrub, dune oak scrub, coast live oak forest, and riparian.

Where is it?

Eight miles west of San Luis Obispo and five miles east of Morro Bay, Los Osos Oaks Reserve is found along the busy Los Osos Valley Road at the edge of the small town of Los Osos.


Ancestors of today’s Chumash and Salinian people inhabited the area now encompassed by the reserve for thousands of years. These native people were able to find both fish and shellfish, as well as game and birds of all sizes.


When European explorers came to the area in 1769, they noticed many California grizzly bears, so named the valley Cañada de Los Osos. Soon thereafter, most of the grizzly bears were killed for food.


Like much of the neighboring State Parks land, the reserve has been spared development seen throughout the Central Coast. Los Osos Oaks was part of a Mexican land grant, of which most of the land was subdivided and cleared for farming. Incredibly, this patch of ancient oaks was spared, and the magnificent trees continue to grow today.


Easily accessible nature-near-town provides great short hikes for families and is good for all ages. Some poison oak is near trails, and the reserve provides a great opportunity to teach children and visitors to identify the irritating plant.

Activities at Los Osos Oaks