Coastal Discovery Celebration Jan. 18-Feb. 29, 2020
Over 40 FREE things to do
Get up close and personal with the best of the Central Coast during the 7-week Coastal Discovery & Stewardship Celebration. The celebration brings coastal San Luis Obispo County to life with a collection of events including: whale watching, screenings of National Parks Adventure at Hearst Castle, elephant seal talks, Montaña de Oro trail restoration, and much more!
Whale Watching at Montaña de Oro
This state park is one of the most beloved spots on the Central Coast, known for being one of the best locations for watching the sunset or for viewing wildlife. You can view whales year round in Montana de Oro, but the best time to see them is between December and April. After whale watching, visit Corallina Cove to see harbor seals, southern sea otters, sea stars, sea anemones, and more amazing marine life.
National Parks Adventure Movie at Hearst Castle
Back by popular demand, the Visitor Center at Hearst Castle State Park will offer free weekly screenings of National Parks Adventure. Narrated by by the Academy Award® winner Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness. The film takes viewers soaring over red rock canyons, hurtling up craggy mountain peaks and into other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor playgrounds, including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches.
Elephant Seal Talks
The elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas is an interesting place to visit year-round. Come join elephant seal expert and presenter, Phil Adams to learn about the amazing life of the Northern Elephant Seal on land and at sea. After the presentation, you will be able to drive to the elephant seal rookery viewing area only 4.5 miles north of the Center, which is manned by knowledgeable docents from Friends of the Elephant Seal.
Participants will meet at the Coastal Discovery Center in San Simeon (across from entrance to Hearst Castle Visitors Center, by the pier) each Saturday, January 18th through February 29th, from 10:00-10:45am.
Spooner Ranch House in Montaña de Oro
Montaña de Oro is rich in history, from Native American to Spanish Land Grant, to cattle ranching and dairying. In 1892, Alden B. Spooner, Jr. built this ranch house overlooking the sea. He and his three sons began running cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, and operated a 150-cow dairy that was considered one of the finest in the area. Spooner also built a landing on the bluff of Spooner's Cove where "doghole" schooners could moor to take on crops from the ranch. During the 1920s and 30s, they leased ocean terrace land to Japanese pea farmers. Except for the highest slopes, every acre visible from the ranch house was under cultivation. During prohibition Spooner's Cove was known as Smuggler's Cove, as illegal liquor from Mexico was brought ashore and sold to area speakeasys. At least 18 outbuildings, a water-powered creamery, and a cliffside loading chute for coastal steamers once clustered near Spooner's Cove. Now only the ranch house and a concrete creamery built in 1915 remain.
To learn more about the parks natural and cultural history, visit the Spooner Ranch House above Spooner's Cove, is open daily from 11am to 2pm. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.
Montaña de Oro Trail Restoration
Visitors and local residents are invited to join the popular annual Super Bowl Sunday Trail Work Day each February in Montaña de Oro State Park. All events are well organized by the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers group, a non-profit organization since 1987 that assists California State Parks, County Parks, and the National Forest Service to expand and maintain networks of sustainable and enjoyable trails. No experience is necessary to jump in to help and learn!
Trails in Montaña de Oro State Park, near the towns of Los Osos and Baywood, offer bicyclists, hikers and equestrians varied terrain with beautiful ocean and canyon views. The park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons and hills, include the 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. The best known beach is beautiful Spooner’s Cove, across from the main campground. The park’s name, Montaña de Oro, means “Mountains of Gold,” and comes from the massive amount of golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. Wildlife in the park features the black tailed deer and the black oystercatcher.