The peaceful water on the east side of the Morro Bay sand spit causes one to simply take a deep breath in then slowly exhale. One has many riding trail options available from the Morro Dunes Trail which skirts Montana de Oro State Park. The primary trail takes you along the tip of the back bay then over the sand spit to the ocean on the west side.
The open terrain is covered with typical California coastal chaparral. The mostly single track Morro Dunes Trail is narrow and deep sand is the footing through most paths. There are parts where the trail spreads out and then narrows again. Sea Pines Golf Resort borders the beginning of the trail where golfers pause to watch riders enjoying the same view.
Over the Sand Spit to the Pacific Ocean
Access to the West side of the Morro Bay sand spit takes one to a different setting, one with wind and waves as the Pacific Ocean opens up to be enjoyed. Access on the Rim Trail is up and over the sand spit on the dune trudging again through deep sand, yet a wider path. The view is glorious at the top of the dune as it leads to the rugged shore line where windswept foliage meets packed wet sand and shrinking dunes.
Taking a right (north) at the beach sends one towards the tip of the Morro Bay sand spit. This is a four-mile trek to the Morro Bay harbor entry. Taking a left (south) sets you towards Montana de Oro State Beach and the trail network available there. You will enter the Montana de Oro trail network through the American Canyon Trail. Checking the tide chart before you leave will tell you how much beach you might have to ride along each way.
Montana de Oro Trail Network Access
Montana de Oro trail network access slides seamlessly right into the Morro Dunes Natural Preserve. If you choose not to go over the sand spit dunes, the trail continues on along A-Line Trail which connects you to the trail network inside Montana de Oro State Park.
One can spend a whole day out here riding numerous trails providing a variety of riding experiences: hills, deep sand, packed sand, single track and wider, open chaparral, eucalyptus forests, ocean views, and beach riding with no vehicles. There are just so many options to explore.
How Does One Get to the Morro Dunes Trail?
Equestrian Access to the Morro Dunes Trail is off Butte Drive in Los Osos. To get there you’ll take a right off Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos onto Pecho Road. Turn left on Skyline Drive and head towards Sea Pines Golf Resort. Turn right on Solano Drive then left on to Butte Drive. You can park along the curb in the neighborhood. Please be courteous to the neighbors and please CLEAN UP YOUR POOP! There is a manure rake and a bucket placed there if you forgot to bring your own.
Sea Pines Golf Resort has Amenities for Equestrians
Equestrians can also park along Solano Drive opposite the Sea Pines Golf Resort. You will notice there are pipe corrals here. Yes, Sea Pines Golf Resort guests can bring their horses along and stay in nice accommodations and enjoy riding their own horses! How cool is that? See our upcoming story about how both you and your horse can vacation together at Sea Pines Golf Resort.
Day Use Horseback Rider Activities at Sea Pines Golf Resort
Day users can make arrangements to leave their horses in the corrals while enjoying the amenities at Sea Pines Golf Resort. As part of your riding day make a plan to enjoy lunch or dinner at the Clubhouse, or for early-risers, enjoy breakfast first then ride. Go home relaxed and limber with an after ride massage or spa treatment. Husbands can come along and play a round of golf while the wife enjoys a ride on her horse. Again, pick up your horse’s poop here too. A bucket and manure fork are available.
Notes for a Perfect Trail Riding Day
- Dogs are not allowed on the trails
- Dress in layers – wind and fog can come on quickly
- Water: carry water for yourself, there are a few streams for horses
- Pack out any trash
- Ride in control of your horse
- Trails are shared use so you could encounter bikers and hikers, be considerate
- Remove all horse poop from Staging Areas especially those in the Sea Pines Golf Resort and Butte Drive neighborhood
The possibilities are endless for you to enjoy one of the top trial riding spots on the Central Coast. Starting with the Morro Dunes Trail, you have many options and access to the numerous Montana de Oro trails.
Photo Credit: Sharon Jantzen (except maps)
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