Some Stoke: Gorgeous California Coast Singletrack

Uncrowded single track mtb beauty along the jewel of California’s Central Coast.

As a native of this particular part of California’s Central Coast, there’s some reluctance to share its natural splendor with the outside world, but then the intense pride of place kicks in, and share, share I must. No offense Montana, but San Luis Obispo County truly is the Last, Best Place.

This short film partly shows why. Montaña de Oro State Park is a small wonderland bordering the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to the south, and the massive estuary of Morro Bay to the north. It’s a Disneyland of stunning hiking trails, golden-sand beaches, rocky tidepools, terrific surf (the challenge of which keeps crowds low), world-class fishing, and some serious single track mountain bike possibilities.

The Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers helped put this video together, a group that’s worked to maintain access to trails in the area since 1989. Part of that includes keeping a peaceful trail coexistence with hikers, runners, and equestrian trail users, which they’ve addressed by building bell boxes at trailheads full of little loaner bells for mtb’ers to velcro onto their rigs to limit unexpected trail encounters. The group also took it upon themselves to tackle trail maintenance and just generally make themselves pleasant parts of the Montaña de Oro community.

Anyway, back to the video. You get a little taste of the magic of this part of the country. It’s as close to Middle Earth as you’ll get in California. I’ll always treasure parking my battered Toyota truck beneath towering eucalyptus trees, dragging a grimy, cold wetsuit from the bed, and picking my way down slick trails to surf sketchy reefbreaks, barking sea lions the only audience, then hiking to a nearby peak for a cold beer at sunset. Probably waved high to members of the CCCMB, everybody just stoked to be in such a wonderful place.


Showing 7 comments
  • GonzoKat

    It is also poison oak heaven. Bring a change of clothes and go for an ocean rinse, if you dare.

  • Greg Bellotto

    This is awesome. After seeing this I reserved a campsite and I can’t wait to bike, surf and enjoy a cold beer by the fire!

  • Ringo_Stingo

    Ticks, as well. Some years more than others; but regardless, search your bod well, or pay the price.

  • Crag

    Totally sucks to dry, no traction, to hot or to cold. The surf is consistent 2-3 foot slop the water is freezing. Oh and great whites. You wouldn’t like it. The beer, the beer sucks more than the wine. You should all just stay home. Not worth the trip, or maybe just go to Canada. Yeah Canada that’s the ticket!!!

  • Sandor Lengyel

    Discovered this unexpectedly a few years ago. Great spot. You can do 25-30 miles in the park. Pay attention to the details of modern trail building there, and check out the old school trails they replaced. Old trenched out trails that are erosion messes have been replaced by flowy trails.

  • Ivy

    This place looks so great. I believe many people will feel comfortable if they learn the beauty of nature here. Hoping i can go there one day

  • old geezer

    Sadly, if you are skidding your rear wheel into turns, you are either riding too fast or braking unnecessarily, which in any case accelerates trail wear and erosion. Skidding is an artifact of downhill racing mindset, hardly that of enviro-conscious trail users. Sweeping, rolling trails like those in the video hold up longer than steep erosion gullies, partly as the true gonzos find them too boring, but this underscores a symptom that reveals the downside in arguing for more wilderness access via bikes. Until the rider mentality matures in line with the advances in suspension technology, bicycles will continue to be ridden by a disproportionate number of aggressive white guys between 20 and 35 who frankly too often display little regard for either the natural resource they consider their personal playground, or for the history of mountain biking outside the race arena.
    I’m reminded of the 1971 anti-war poster “Join the Army; travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them” when I see the next video of extreme RedBullesque shenanigans. GoPros have fueled the indulgently self-aggrandizing egos, while shoving the truly reclusive, introspective, experiential types to the rear. “Loving nature to death” means that we will never preserve the last wild areas by bringing new hordes into them.

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