Hiking Challenge – Buchon Trail
I’m still trying to catch up on my hiking posts from the past few months. Finding the time, as I’m sure we all can attest to, seems harder and harder as the kids get older with all of their extracurricular activities…but I’ll save that for future posts because I digress and need to stay focused on the task at hand.
I love having friends who will entertain my requests to go out and find local adventures. Some may ask questions like, “do you really want me to drive down this dirt road to some strange gate in the middle of nowhere, park, and hike in the middle of only god knows where?!?” Yeah, I love my friends – haven’t lost a friend yet on a hike – haven’t seen any bears either. However, there was a sign at the beginning of our hike of recent sightings of bear, deer, badgers, fox, rattlesnakes, coyotes, falcons, red tail hawks and humpback whales.
My friend Mariam joined me on this trail run/ hike on Montana de Oro’s State Park Point Buchon Trail. Montana de Oro has a multitude of hikes, beaches, tide pools to explore. This trail is at the far end and crosses onto PG&E’s nuclear power plant land. We had to sign a liability waiver before starting our hike and promise to stay a safe distance from the cliffs and sinkhole (yes, I said sinkhole!).
We began our trail run traveling along the grassy bluffs coming quickly to the sinkhole.
A gaping depression in the surface gives way to ocean water flowing in via a short tunnel. Stay behind the safety ropes, and enjoy this natural anomaly. The acoustics of the sinkhole, which is actually a collapsed sea cave, amplifies the volume of the waves, creating a great sound.
As we continued along the trail it was difficult not to keep stopping to take pictures of the breathtaking coast and picturesque rock formations, and not to mention we saw numerous humpback whales migrating right off the shoreline! Such a sight to see! This section of the trail is easy for the novice trail runners, hikers, young and old and is stroller-friendly.
There’s a nice vista point that’s called
Disney Point, so named because a Disney picture, Pete’s Dragon was filmed here in the 1970s. The beautiful shoreline played the role of Northern Maine on screen, but this landscape clearly belongs in California. A temporary lighthouse built along the coast for the movie has been removed.
A little further, the trail splits off where you can loop back or continue southbound progressively working up a sweat as you climb the narrow trail up into the hills. We traveled as far south as we could with a slight view of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and the sign “DEADLY FORCE may be used to protect this facility” we chose to turn around and head back.
This is truly a spectacular trail to hike, run or stroll.
Difficulty: 6 (out of 10)
Beauty: 10 (out of 10)
Distance: 7.75 Miles
Worth It? Absolutely!
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)
To get to the trailhead: From San Luis Obispo, exit the 101 Freeway at Los Osos Valley Road and drive a total of fifteen miles northwest toward Montaña de Oro State Park. After 11.2 miles Los Osos Valley Road becomes Pecho Valley Road and turns sharply to the south. Continue 4.8 miles across Montaña de Oro State Park to a large parking area in front of a large metal gate that blocks vehicle traffic.