Valencia & Oats Peaks plus Coastal Trail

Valencia & Oats Peaks plus Coastal Trail

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 35.26320°N / 120.872°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: May 16, 2019
Activities Activities: Hiking

Overview

The 1347 ft (411 m) Valencia Peak sits 1.2 miles away from the Pacific Coast in California’s Montana De Oro State Park near Morro Bay. Although 26 ft. higher, Oats Peak rises behind (to the east of) Valencia Peak and provides less dramatic views from its summit. Starting at Valencia Peak Trailhead near the ocean, I climbed Valencia and Oats Peaks, then descended into Coon Creek Canyon going back to the ocean. I then followed the coastal trail, which gave me spectacular views of the rugged coast, back to the starting point.

 

Trip Report

Hiking Distance: 10.65 miles

Total Ascent: 2160 ft

 

 

My cousin Kris and I started at Valencia Peak Trailhead at 7:25 a.m. (elevation 70 ft, 270 ft away from the ocean). Valencia Peak from trailhead.

Valencia Peak from Trailhead
Valencia Peak from Trailhead

 

The trail must have been recently re-routed. It took a different path than what I had entered into my GPS but was otherwise well defined. The slopes were covered by a dense growth of grass and bushes.

View of the ocean from the lower trail.

Pacific Ocean from lower trail
Pacific Ocean from lower trail

 

A ridgeline to the northwest of Valencia Peak appeared as a sub-peak in front of the main summit.

Valencia and what looks like a sub-peak
Valencia and what looks like a sub-peak

At around 720 ft elevation, we reached the top of the ridgeline that had appeared as a sub-peak.

Ocean from the ridgetop
Ocean from the ridgetop
Valencia from Ridgetop
Valencia from Ridgetop

At 1060 ft elevation, we were at a split in the trail. One side went to Oats Peak and the other was a spur trail to the summit of Valencia Peak. Got on the spur trail and went 0.3 miles to reach the summit of Valencia at 8:50 a.m., 2.39 miles. The views were spectacular. Conveniently, there was a park bench on the summit.

Pacific Ocean from top of Valencia Peak
Pacific Ocean from top of Valencia Peak
Morro Rock and Bay from the summit of Valencia
Morro Rock and Bay from the summit of Valencia

 

Zoomed view of Morro Bay and Morro Rock.

Zoomed view of Morro Bay & Rock from Valencia
Zoomed view of Morro Bay & Rock from Valencia

The sun was rising in the direction of Oats Peak making it difficult to see. There was a 550 ft drop on the trail from the summit of Valencia to Oats Peak.

Oats Peak from the summit of Valencia
Oats Peak from the summit of Valencia

After a short rest, we left the summit hiking back to the 1060 ft split in the rail. Kris was having knee pain and said will go back to the car. I continued toward Oats Peak. The trail went down slowly toward a broad 820 ft saddle. View of Hazard Peak to the north.

Hazard Peak
Hazard Peak

Point 1334 ft from the broad saddle.

Point 1334 ft
Point 1334 ft

East face of Valencia Peak and the ocean.

East face of Valencia Peak
East face of Valencia Peak

Went uphill toward the false summit of Oats Peak.

False summit of Oats Peak
False summit of Oats Peak

At 10:10 a.m. and 4.3 miles, reached the summit of Oats Peak. It too had a park bench.

Valencia Peak and Point 1334 ft rising in front of it with the ocean in the back.

Valencia Peak with Point 1334 ft from Oats
Valencia Peak with Point 1334 ft from Oats

Hazard Peak and Morro Rock.

Morro Rock & Bay from Oats
Morro Rock & Bay from Oats

Looking south.

Looking south from Oats
Looking south from Oats

Had my lunch and left at 10:22 following the trail a short distance east and then south descending  into Coon Creek Canyon. Threatening clouds were approaching from the northwest but fortunately no storm developed.

View of the ocean from the pretty grassy slopes.

Descending into Coon Creek Canyon
Descending into Coon Creek Canyon
Descending into Coon Creek Canyon
Descending into Coon Creek Canyon

Looking back at Oats Peak and its sub-peaks.

Oats Peak on the right
Oats Peak on the right

In a few places, the trail went into a beautiful forest.

 

Beautiful forest
Beautiful forest


Near the bottom of Coon Creek Canyon.

Near the bottom of Coon Creek Canyon
Near the bottom of Coon Creek Canyon

At 11:20 a.m., 5.9 miles and 300 ft elevation, I reached the bottom of Coon Creek Canyon. Followed the trail down stream toward the ocean. In some places, the grasses were quite overgrown. The thorns went through my pants and long sleeve shirt causing minor scratches.

Coon Creek Canyon
Coon Creek Canyon
Coon Creek Canyon
Coon Creek Canyon
Coon Creek canyon
Coon Creek canyon

 

Near the end of the canyon, the trail went uphill and then exited the canyon to reach a parking area on the coastal road at 12:25 p.m. and 8.3 miles. A few people were in the parking area. They were the first people that I had seen all day. Rested there for a few minutes and then followed the trail 0.6 miles on open flat terrain to reach the ocean. Many people were walking on that trail. I was blown away by the rugged coastal scene.

Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail

 

This little canyon was almost scary to look at.  I hate to be in there when the wave slams you against the end wall of the canyon.

Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail

Point 1340 ft.

Point 1340 ft from the coast
Point 1340 ft from the coast

More rugged coast.

Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail

 

Valencia Peak.

Valencia Peak from the coast
Valencia Peak from the coast

Kept going along the coastal trail.

Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail

 

Coastal Trail
Coastal Trail

Zoomed view on Morro Rock 7 miles away. 

Zoomed view of Morro Rock
Zoomed view of Morro Rock

Reached the car at 1:30 p.m. 10.64 miles.



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