When someone says “Take A Hike”, we have plenty of places to go!
Here are just a few hiking trails in California’s Central Coast:
Accessible from Ventura and Oxnard, Channel Islands National Park, encompasses five remarkable and remote islands right off the Ventura coast: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands and encircling waters are home to over 2,000 plants and animals, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world including the Island Fox. These islands offer uninterrupted time with family and friends while relaxing to the soothing sounds of the natural world. Island Packers Cruises, located at Ventura Harbor Village offers daily trips.
North of Santa Barbara, get your history lesson AND take a hike! La Purisima Mission State Historic Park in Lompoc is home to 25 miles of hiking trails over 2,000 acres, connecting to the backcountry. Most of the trails are sandy and lead through a mix of chaparral and oak and are home to a healthy population of wildlife. The Vista Del La Cruz Trail begins right behind the Visitors Center and leads up to the cross on the hill overlooking the Mission, about a half mile round trip. Gate entrance fee. Dogs allowed. Open daily.
In Santa Maria, Oso Flaco Lake is a varied landscape that provides a beautiful walk, over dirt trail, wooded areas, and boardwalk over the lake. This is one of the two coastal access points in Santa Maria Valley, with the other being the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. With tall, marshy grasses and blue water, it is a peaceful escape offering songbirds, lizards and varied wildlife. Enjoy the miles of serenity offered here.
Hiking in San Luis Obispo is almost limitless. Enjoy the outdoors among rolling hills, fresh air, and rewarding 360-degree views. Access more than 40 miles of trails within ten minutes from the heart of downtown at Cerro San Luis, Terrace Hill, Reservoir Canyon, and South Hills.
North of San Luis Obispo is a 4-mile trail in Cerro Alto State Park in Atascadero. It is a well-known hiking and mountain biking paradise providing you with a 360-degree view of the Central California coast and inland valleys.
There are many hikes to venture in San Simeon, but a secluded one in particular, the Boucher Trail, offers the best view of the Elephant Seals on the Piedras Blancas Rookery. As hikes go, it is a fairly easy hike that is only 3.8 miles round trip. Don’t forget your camera because this trail has some of the best sceneries and views in San Simeon.
Further north is the geological wonderland of Pinnacles National Park in San Benito County. It is teeming with wildlife that includes the endangered California condor. Thirty-two miles of trails carry hikers through talus caves alongside fragrant meadows and on to the jutting volcanic spires for which Pinnacles is known.
Just six miles from Salinas is a popular stop on the Central Coast Birding Trail – Toro Park. It spans 4,756 acres and is a haven for wildlife including deer, coyotes, and mountain lions. Rare golden eagles soar on wind currents overhead while 20 miles of hiking trails lead to sweeping Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay views.
For a self-guided walk that packs a lot of history into just 0.4 miles take the Chitactac-Adams Interpretive Walk in Gilroy. Along the way, you’ll see petroglyphs, bedrock mortars, and structures that recreate village life of the Ohlone natives who once made their homes here. In Morgan Hill, discover northern California’s largest State Park, Henry W. Coe, a mountain biker’s dream with ninety thousand acres of rugged peaks, trails, spring wildflowers, and streams.
To assist you in planning your own Central Coast Road Trip, check out these helpful Itineraries here.
Download or request a Central Coast Visitor Map here.
Discover all of California’s Central Coast here.