Valencia Peak / Badger (dayhike)

SA Report: Baby it's cold outside

Trip Date: 12/7/2013

Location: Montaña de Oro State Park

Permit/Pass: No fees for day use.

Trails: Summit Post Map, Flickr

Directions: From Highway 1 (this section is called Cabrillo Hwy) just east of Morro Bay take South Bay Blvd. south for 3.9 miles to Los Osos Valley Rd. Turn right on Los Osos Valley and go 1.5 miles before it turns into Pecho Valley Rd. Continue on Pecho Valley Rd. for 3.7 miles before dipping down to Spooner Cove on the right. Stay straight on Pecho Valley for another few yards as it turns left and up toward the white Visitor Center on the left.

Trail sequence: Valencia Peak trail / Beebe / Oats Peak / Valencia Peak / Badger / Rattlesnake / Pecho Valley Rd.

Type: Loop

Distance: 5 miles

Elevation: Min. -  36', Max. - 1302'


Rating: Moderate (factors: some steep, rocky sections)

Synopsis: This is a very pretty hike through verdant foothills to one of the higher peaks in Montaña de Oro. There are tremendous views in all directions, especially from the top. Be sure to bring layers, as the summit can get very windy and downright cold. 

Track: Valencia Peak / Badger trail - Montaña de Oro State Park

Turn by Turn:

  -- (For this hike I parked at the Visitor Center rather than the trailhead because I had a kayak on my roof and wanted more protection in case the wind came up while I was gone. The trailhead is just a few yards south on Pecho Valley Rd. and on the left.)

  -- Head up Valencia Peak trail as it climbs gradually toward the southeast, negotiates a couple of switchbacks, then again straightens out toward the east as it climbs a gently sloping mesa to the base of the larger hills.

  -- At just under a mile you come to a junction with choices all around. There is currently a map posted on a marker, but be sure to bring a trail map just in case this doesn't last. Take the middle trail, a new trail called Beebe.

  -- Beebe works along the north side of the hills, climbing gently but surely to eventually meet Oats Peak trail.

  -- There are some trail options here and they're not well marked. To stay on Oats Peak - which will take you east, then south to connect with Valencia Peak trail - stay to the right. Before climbing you'll descend just a bit so don't be fooled into taking a different trail.

  -- After meeting Valencia Peak trail, you climb steadily around the north side of the mountain before coming to a junction. To the right takes you down Valencia Peak trail. Turn left to take the spur trail to the summit.

  -- You top out just below a rock outcrop, which is easily climbed by taking the use trail around the north side and then up some rocky steps.

  -- On the return, be sure to turn left onto Valencia Peak trail to follow the ridge back down to just before the earlier junction where you caught Beebe. While heading north toward the junction you'll notice a trail on the left heading in the opposite direction. This is Badger trail. 

  -- Turn left on Badger and follow it as you trend generally south and then circle around to the west. After almost a mile you meet Rattlesnack Flats trail. Turn right and continue on down past the Badger Camp environmental sites (walk-in backpacking sites) and outhouse on the right, eventually coming to Pecho Valley Rd.

  -- As I headed north on Pecho Valley I was keeping an eye out so as to pick up the Rattlesnake Flats trail again, but never found it. So I continued on Pecho Valley Rd. back to the trailhead and shortly after that to my car.

Photo Gallery: Montaña de Oro