The trail: Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park. From San Luis Obispo, drive north on Los Osos Valley Road toward Los Osos. Follow the road about 9 miles until it turns into Pecho Valley Road. Follow the curvy road for about 4 miles to reach the trailhead just past the park’s visitors center.
Distance: 3.7 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate, with steep ascents and loose rock adding some increased difficulty as the hike progresses.
Tips: With the challenging inclines, bring plenty of water and hiking boots with a solid tread to help manage the loose rock. Make sure to also pack a snack and plenty of sunscreen. Trekking poles are helpful — especially when descending the mountain — although not essential.
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Dogs: Dogs are not permitted in Montaña de Oro State Park.
Parking: There is plenty of free parking past the campgrounds and around the trailhead. If hiking on a weekend, try and arrive in the morning to avoid the packed parking lot in the afternoon.
Facilities: There are restrooms near the trailhead at the visitors center.
Description: Montaña de Oro is packed with beautiful trails, but the views offered on the Valencia Peak hike are truly something to appreciate. The Pacific Ocean is visible even before you reach the trailhead, and on a clear day Morro Rock and the sandspit can be see to the north from the summit. After a challenging trek up the mountain, take a moment to relax at the peak and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Pacific Coast.