While visiting my wife at her workplace down in Templeton, in California’s Central Coast region, I took some time to do some hiking. First stop was the Los Osos Oaks State Preserve, which might actually be in Morro Bay rather than Los Osos. It’s pretty close, I think. Quite accessible from the Templeton/Paso Robles/Atascadero area – maybe 30 minutes if you average all three starting points.
I read about the preserve in the Sierra Club’s Trail Guide for San Luis Obispo County. I was drawn by the description of these 800 year old “dwarf oaks,” which are HUGE and have branches so long and so heavy that they have touched back down to the ground for support, then grown out from there. They really are impressive. It’s described as “mystical” in the book and that’s actually not a bad description. I went around noon which made it a bit less so, but I can see a morning hike being quite atmospheric.
The hike is also a level one, and relatively short. Maybe 100 ft in elevation change and about 2 miles, I think, based on the loop I did. I spent about 2.5 hours there (note: I’m a slow hiker due to stopping constantly for photos).