Point Buchon Trail Hike, Montana de Oro, Los Osos

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San Luis Obispo, CA
Point Buchon Trail Hike, Montana de Oro, Los Osos
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Point Buchon Trail (closed Tues and Wed) is an incredible hike past a sink hole, sea stacks, sea arches, birds, and super bloom flowers in spring. It is on Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant property at the far end of Montana de Oro State Park in Los Osos. A narrow, hard-packed dirt trail takes you on cliffs with views of the magnificent coastline. In spring, you are immersed in the colors of flowers everywhere- yellow, icy lavender, deep purple, pale pink, orange, rich golden yellow, translucent white. It feels like you are in a Monet painting and you can't help but raise your hands in the air in elation!

The trail begins at the Coon Creek parking lot. At the beginning, you walk a road (closed off to cars) on a steep (11% grade) incline into a canyon and back up again. The views are wonderful and high, of the canyon all around you. On either side are morning glory flowers galore- beware of poison oak growing alongside flowers and blueberry bushes.
You reach a guard shack where you sign in with Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. There is a limit of 275 hikers, but I saw barely any when I arrived early on a weekend morning. Take the right fork to follow the coast. You are on a narrow, hard-packed dirt trail, with tall grasses and flowers on either side, cows standing right next to you with an electric wire in between, and gorgeous coves on your right. What views! The cove below is full of a hundred pelicans, flying by you in rows.
You come to a sink hole- you can stand up next to it, and see and hear the ocean water rushing into it. A series of marvelous sea stacks keeps you busy snapping photos for the next mile. One juts out like a dagger. Others, further out, are like a row of teeth. A sea arch looks like an elephant seal nose. A little cove offers a sweet view of sparkling water and sea arches. And a long, curved beach makes for a pretty shape. Chubby birds sit atop bushes and posts. 
In spring, different flowers create amazing foregrounds for your photos- new colors with each few steps!
After 1.2 miles, you have the choice to take a left fork and head inland to make a loop back to your car, which is 0.7 miles away. Or you can return the way you came- which I did- making for a 2.4 mile walk. Or you can continue on. The trail becomes less cleared now. My husband ran to the end, making for an eight mile run, out and back. At this point, the trail is no longer flat, but goes up and down, reaching a maximum steepness of 10% grade.
Near the end of the run you see the nuclear plant in the distance. The grasses along the trail are almost as tall as you.
You will need a puffer jacket for this coastline. It is cold!
On the coast in SLO county, it is often foggy in the morning and around 50-55 degrees, and then clears in the afternoon, becoming sunny and about 60-65 degrees and very windy (ice cold wind that gets your ears and cheeks). I don't know which is worse, but I'm starting to think that 50-55 degrees, foggy, and windstill in the morning is your best bet. 
After your walk, have a sandwich at High Street Deli or coffee at Nautical Bean in the cute 2nd Street area of Los Osos
Check out other gentle incline hikes in SLO county.

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Directions

Point Buchon Trailhead is located at the Coon Creek parking lot on the southern tip of Pecho Valley Road. It has three labels on google maps: Parking Lot, Accessible Bluff Trail, and Vault Toilet. But you can find it by following Pecho Valley Road south to the very end. There is room for dozens of cars in the parking lot. 
There is no fee to enter Montana de Oro State park, nor to park you car.
Open 8-4, closed Tues and Wed.

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Last Updated: Mon, 03 Jun 2024 16:23:37 GMT

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