May 23, 2012

Montana de Oro State Park Mountain Biking

Tuesday morning Maria and I rode from Los Osos to Montana De Oro State Park. Riding in to the park from Los Osos is perfectly doable, but be aware that there are a couple of stout hill climbs on the road to get you into the park.

Biking to the park

Mountain biking is allowed on about half of the trails in this park, with a number of available routes on both the east and west sides of the road.  After scoping out trail conditions on either side, I would certainly recommend riding on the inland (east) side, unless you've got some massive sand tires, due to how loose the ocean side (west) trails looked.

You might encounter Mountain Lions...Rattle Snakes...or worse yet, Poison Oak! 
Cyclist, please use a bell. You wouldn't want to scare the bears 
I wanted to do a loop, rather than an out and back, so I chose the Hazard Peak Trail, with Barranca as a connector to Islay Creek Rd.  Starting at Spooner’s Cove, you are right on the beach, and therefore at sea level.  You then climb 1076’ in a very continuous fashion over 2.9 miles.

Up, up and away
To reach Hazard peak, you have to take a short, steep offshoot trail, but once you’re there, the views of the surrounding area are fantastic. Back towards the ocean there are a couple of deep blue bays, inland there are numerous steep ridgelines, and of course the famed Morro Rock just to the north.

Taking a break on top of Hazard Peak
Views from Hazard Peak
Once you’ve apexed at Hazard Peak, you can either ride back the way you came, down the 1k foot drop over 2.9 miles, or continue on inland along the ridgeline, the route I took.  Since ridgeline riding isn’t perfect, you’re constantly riding up or down over various mini peaks and valleys.

Valley views off the trail
Ridge line biking
Hanging a couple of rights at trail intersections, I eventually ended up on Barranca (East Boundary Trail is an alternate route to connect the loop).  Barranca is a simple (albeit not easy) trail in that it consists of repetitive hairpin switchbacks straight down a mountainside.  My hands were honestly aching towards the bottom from having to break so hard for so long!

Barranca eventually T’s you in to Islay Creek Road.  For you single-track purists, calling it a “Road” is a bit of a misnomer.  It’s actually more of a smooth double-track with a steady downhill grade that allows you to really gear down and fly down the remainder of the mountain.

For this loop, the total ride is only around 9 miles, but the constant up and down grades give you a great workout, overall I really enjoyed this loop.

For more pictures of the park, click here.


P.S. Maria spent the day chilling on the beach in Spooner's Cove (but did bike to and from the park...) :o)

Spooner's Cove
Views from Spooner's Cove

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1 comment:

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