Montana de Oro State Park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. Naturalists and backpackers enjoy the solitude and freedom found along the park’s trails. There are also mountain biking and equestrian trails. The best-known beach is Spooner’s Cove, across from the campground. The park’s name, “Mountain of Gold,” comes from the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. Wildlife in the park includes black tailed deer and the black oystercatcher. The park includes primitive and equestrian campsites.
Within the park’s largest canyon, Islay Creek Canyon, you’ll find Islay Creek Campground. The conveniently-located campground is just a short walk from the beach at Spooner’s Cove and can serve as a base camp for hikes on nearby trails like the Bluff Trail, Valencia Peak Trail, Hazard Peak Trail, Islay Creek Trail, and Oats Peak Trail. Reservoir Flats Trail actually passes right through Islay Creek Campground, on a 2-mile loop that provides a great overview of the campground’s surroundings.
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!