This Saturday afternoon I began hike number 10/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015, and 87 of my goal of 1000 miles this year. After spending the morning in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, we made our way out to Montaña de Oro and Islay Creek Campground. This is easily one of my favorite places to visit, as the campground is only a short walk to some of the most beautiful coastal views you’ll ever see. We arrived to the campground at about 1:30, and claimed a site towards the back of the grounds. Before leaving SLO, we grabbed some Firestone’s to go. It had been far too long since I enjoyed a tri-tip sandwich from on of my favorite SLO eateries. After letting the food digest a little while setting up camp, I made my way out to the Bluff Trail, to take in some of the gorgeous afternoon views. Unfortunately, Julia had to stay at the camp with Lilly and Isla, as no dogs are allowed on this trail.
The trail head for Bluff Trail starts on the west side of Pecho Valley Road, across from the trail head for Valencia Peak. The trail initially leads west towards the sea and offers great views of Spooner’s Cove before turning south to parallel the coast line.
One of my favorite things about Montana de Oro is getting up close and personal with all of the Monterey Shale. Monterey Shale is sea floor that has been pushed up to the surface. It was formed millions of years ago as living organisms drifted to the mudstone floor of the ocean to mix with silt and sand to form thick layers of diatomite, clay porcellanite, dolimite, and chert (Read More).
The Bluff Trail continues south and passes by Quarry Cove before heading inland at Coralina Cove. If you have more time, you can continue on and hike down the road to start Point Buchon Hiking Trail. It was getting late for me, so I turned around here and left the full Bluff Trail and Buchon Trail combination for another time. I walked back the someway I came, and savored the sights, smells, and sounds of the ocean.