The trail: Estero Bluffs State Park. From San Luis Obispo, travel north on Highway 1 past Cayucos. Right after you pass the town, you’ll find the state park on the ocean side of the highway. There are multiple pullouts and plenty of space to park along the location’s 4-mile length. The best access is the trailhead at San Geronimo Road. Look for the restored windmill on the left, and park in the large pullout.
Distance: 2 to 3 miles, or less depending on how far you walk along the bluffs.
Difficulty: Easy. The ocean at Estero Bluffs are no more than 300 yards away at any point. Take the trail down to the bluffs and turn left or right to follow them along the ocean.
Tips: There is no fresh water, so bring your own. This is a great spot for a picnic either on the bluffs or in one of the coves.
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Dogs: Allowed on a leash, but only in the eastern portion of the park toward Cayucos. The access trail at San Geronimo Road is near the boundary for dogs. They are not allowed north of San Geronimo Creek.
Parking: Plenty of parking in the gravel pullout. If you continue along Highway 1, you will find other parking and access points farther north as well.
Description: The 353-acre Estero Bluffs joined the State Parks system in 2002 after the Trust for Public Land bought the property in 2000. It’s the kind of spot that’s accessible to almost anyone and features flat open trails with expansive views of the bay and Morro Rock in the distance. The rocky coastline here is filled with tide pools and is a favorite habitat for otters and harbor seals, who like to play just off shore. You can access the ocean by scrambling down a trail near San Geronimo Creek and can then walk at the water’s edge or stroll along the sand. The coastline features several pocket coves, and to get from one to the other, you have to navigate some tidal rocks, but it’s nothing too difficult. The bluff trail is decorated with wildflowers in the spring, and the park is always a prime spot for capturing sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.