Montaña de Oro State Park

A comfy campout with 2 to 5 mile hikes
Driving to and sleeping at a campground
Ideal for first-timers

Tidepooling and climbing Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Tidepooling and climbing Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Tidepooling and climbing Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Tidepooling and climbing Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Tidepooling and climbing Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Designed by Yvonne Leow

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Last updated
September 21, 2022

Trip · 3-day camping trip

For · Friends and new campers

Vibe · Relaxing and chill

Reservations · Reserve a site at Islay Creek Campground

Drive · 3.5 hours from LA

Ideal dates · April to June (for wildflowers!)

Pets · Welcome at camp and Spooner’s Cove beach, but not on other beaches and trails

Montaña de Oro State Park is a stunning 8,000+ acre escape along the Pacific Ocean. It boasts seven miles of coastline, which is mostly covered by an ancient rock called Miguelito Shale. For real: these rock formations are about 5 to 6 million years old. Find cool stones and a sliver of serenity at Montaña de Oro.

Official State Park Website

Directions To Campground

Main image credit: Sean Crane Photography

Stuff to know

  • Montaña de Oro State Park is only 12 miles south of Morro Bay State Park. Both parks are known for their spectacular views and unique tectonic landscapes
  • Pack layers! The weather can shift from warm to cold quickly
  • The park is only 12 miles southwest of Morro Bay
  • There are mountain biking trails and equestrian camps available
  • The park has six environmental, hike-in campsites, but campfires aren't allowed there

Resources

Check the weather
Montaña de Oro State Park

Where to camp

Islay Creek Campground

Each campsite comes with a:

  • Picnic table
  • Fire pit
  • Space for up to 8 people
  • Two parking spots
  • Food storage locker
  • Restrooms (on site)

Islay Creek Campground has 50 reservable campsites in the summer and 25 spots during the winter (the rest are first-come, first-served). The campsites are well spaced out so you can have your own nook near the coast. You're only a short walk away from the ocean so reserve a spot as early as you can.

Check-in: After 2 PM · Check-out: Noon

Nightly Rate: $25

Image credit: Trey Duffy

Islay Creek Campground
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Itinerary

Day One

Credit: Sea Pines Golf Resort

Leave LA by 8 AM and grab lunch at TASTE! Craft Eatery in San Luis Obispo

  • Diners love their burgers, sliders, and salads
  • Located at 1130 Garden Street in San Luis Obispo
  • Open Everyday · 11 AM to 10 PM
  • Last pit stop · Shell - 995 Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos
  • Nearest grocery store · Grocery Outlet - 1130 Los Osos Valley Road in Baywood-Los Osos

Check in and settle in at Islay Creek Campground

  • Set up camp, wander around the campground, and relax

Walk to Spooner's Cove

  • It only takes a few minutes to walk to Spooner's Cove beach from camp
  • Change into a swimsuit, shorts, and sandals
  • Check the tide schedule to see the tide pools and explore the caves in low tides
  • Soak up the views and explore the tidepools near Islay Creek
  • Watch the sunset

Cook up dinner and s'mores

  • Prep dinner, s'mores, and enjoy an evening of drinking and stargazing around the campfire
Montaña de Oro translates to "Mountains of Gold" in Spanish, inspired by the golden wildflowers that bloom in the spring.

Day Two

Montaña de Oro State Park. Credit: Imgur

Make brekkie, pack a lunch, and hike Valencia Peak and Bluff Trail Loop

  • This is a 7.1 mile round-trip hike, with 1,555 feet of elevation gain, to the 2nd highest peak in the park (the first is Alan Peak)
  • The hike is largely exposed so bring sun protection, especially during the summer
  • Pack a daypack with a lunch, snacks, a book, blanket, sunscreen, sunhat, swimsuit, bug spray, and drinking water
  • There's a picnic table at the top of Valencia Peak

Enjoy lunch and awesome ocean views

Return to camp and chill

  • Clean up, prep a delicious meal and warm up with your favorite hot bevvie
  • Cozy up next to the campfire, roast up s'mores and soak up your last night in Montaña de Oro State Park
For at least nine thousand years, the Chumash and Salinan people inhabited the San Luis Obispo county coastline, which includes the state park.

Day Three

Credit: Explore More Nature

Pack up and check out before noon

  • Cook up brekkie, clean up around camp, and throw away any random pieces of litter

Head home!

Montaña de Oro State Park has at least a dozen marine terraces, which are formed by waves eroding the coastline over time, eventually creating a marine platform at the base of a sea cliff.

Packing List

Essential Items
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Clothing
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Personal Stuff
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Camp Kitchen
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Shared Gear
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