2023 San Luis Obispo Classic
6 days/5 nights
Max Capacity: 20
$800 Coastwalk Member Price
$850 Non-Member Price
Welcome to an extraordinary adventure as we hike beaches and trails along the beautiful Central Coast on the San Luis Obispo Coastwalk. You can expect a daily 6 or 7 hour walk of 5 to 11 miles, stopping for lunch and enjoying the sights and views. Hikes will usually start at 9:00 am. The trails can be moderately difficult but are fairly level. Some trails are well defined and maintained; all of the new trails have been pre-hiked and will provide the excitement of an infrequently traveled area. There will be some beach walking on the wet sand. Evening programs will highlight some aspects of the local ecology or history. Walk on rarely trod trails from Piedras Blancas Light Station to Montana de Oro.
Highlights include: Following the CCT through 18 miles of Hearst Ranch, hikes on newly opened trails to a view of the fascinating Diablo Canyon decommissioned power plant, a lighthouse tour, abundant birding & wildflowers, Morro Rock, miles of empty beaches; plus viewing sea otter families & the elephant seal sanctuary. Campsites chosen to maximize privacy and minimize setup. Gourmet dinners and home-made treats provided by our fabulous volunteer chefs.
Max capacity 20
Set in the shadow of Hearst Castle on the California Coastal Trail through the Hearst Ranch, the Piedras Blanca lighthouse, the elephant seal breeding grounds, San Simeon State Park, charming Cambria, spectacular pocket beaches of Montana de Oro State Park and the Point Buchon Trail to Diablo Canyon.
Camping & parking fees; guided hiking; nightly dinners; shuttle transportation; evening programs; dinners, hot water/coffee & light breakfast and lunch fixings.
July 18 – Night 1: San Simeon State Park Washburn Campground- Beautiful and primitive.
July 19 -23 – Nights 2 thru 4: Morro Bay State Park Group Campground- Large and semi private.
FACILITIES: You will be camping out each night so you will need appropriate gear including sleeping bag, mattress or pad, and tent with rain fly. Since seating at some of the camp sites is minimal, we recommend you bring a folding chair. These items and your personal duffle will be hauled from camp site to camp site so you do not have to carry them during the day.
WATER: Due to the draught conditions on the Central Coast, water may be a problem. Hygiene is a priority for Coastwalk- be assured that we will handle all situations. There are no showers or flush toilets at San Simeon State Beach; we will be there for only the first night. There will be flush toilets and hot showers at Morro Bay State Park.
FOOD: Coffee, juice, and milk will be available each morning, as well as a variety of breakfast foods. We brew a large pot of coffee- decaf will be available. The prior evenings’ leftovers may be packed in your lunch bag/ box. Coastwalk will provide food and drink for breakfast and lunch; you may want to bring other food items to supplement these meals.
Each evening there will be a Happy Hour, with soft drinks, beer or wine and appetizers. Coastwalk will provide your first beverage and if you would like an additional beverage, feel free to bring your own libations but please label them as with your name if it needs to be kept in our communal cooler.
Great dinners are provided each evening by our food angels; please show your appreciation for these volunteers. Alternative meals will always be available for those who have informed us of their dietary restrictions. You will only need to carry lunch items and water while hiking, plus personal items.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING: The ocean is our climate control (water temperatures are in the lower 50s year around) so you can expect relatively cool temperatures with highs mainly in the mid 60s during the middle of the day and lows in the low 50s during the evening and early morning.
There may be some morning fog that will burn off by about 10:00 am. Rain is not likely but is a possibility- we should have a fair handle on this at the time of the walk. A lightweight windbreaker is advised as it does get windy on the bluffs and beaches. You’ll definitely want a sweater and/ or jacket in the evenings and mornings; layering is usually best. Fleece is a warm, comfortable option. Otherwise, you can use your judgment about clothing when temperatures are in this range. The humidity can be high; which along with the air temperature will affect your comfort. Bring sturdy hiking shoes that are comfortable and in good condition. A trekking pole provides excellent stability while crossing tricky terrain and rocks, and can offer good support while tide pooling. Sandals are great for the wet sand; barefoot is an option on some of the longer beach hikes.
TRANSPORTATION: You will shuttle your vehicles and gear when necessary; transportation to our parking areas and home again will be your responsibility. Those who volunteer a 4+ passenger car for shuttles will have first priority on campsite parking. Street and overflow parking is available for all autos. Please contact [email protected] if you will be taking public transportation, and perhaps we can help get you to where you need to be. Please bring some change for the occasional public bus, and some crisp one-dollar bills for the hot shower token machine.
This is a sample itinerary which is subject to change due to trail conditions and services availability
Tuesday, July 18
We will be meeting no later than 1:00 at the Washburn Day Use Area parking lot (San Simeon State Park), just off of Highway 1, about 2 miles north of Weymouth Street (Cambria).
We will set up camp at Washburn, then shuttle back to Cambria. Our Hike Leader will take you down the boardwalk at Moonstone Beach and north along the beach 1.5 miles to San Simeon State Park. We’ll walk up a beautiful rustic trail to the Washburn Campground where we will pitch camp. This evening there will be a brief program to welcome you, volunteer hosts will introduce themselves, introduce yourselves, review the itinerary and procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Dinner and drinks!
Wednesday, July 19
We’ll break camp and shuttle up to the Boucher Trailhead, then hike to William Hearst Memorial State Beach., a stunning 7 miles of rarely traveled California Coastal Trail. Highlights include a Piedras Blancas Light Station tour, elephant seals, parasailing surfers, dunes and beaches, the cypress and eucalyptus wooded bluffs above San Simeon Beach. Our hike will end at the Hearst Ranch Winery, where those who wish can indulge in tasting. https://www.hearstranchwinery.com/ We will shuttle back to San Simeon State Park, pick up our vehicles and drive down to Morro Bay State Park Group Campsite, where we’ll settle in for the rest of the Coastwalk. Dinner and drinks.
Thursday, July 20
A morning shuttle will take us to the Estero Bluffs south of Harmony. From there we will hike 9 miles or so to Morro Rock and shuttle back to Morro Bay State Park Group Campground. This hike will start with a few miles of coastal bluffs to a brunch stop at Cayucos Beach (many choice restaurants for those who don’t pack their own lunch). A long beach walk on the wet sand leads to Morro Rock and the sea otters in the channel; shuttle back to the campground.
Friday, July 21
Morning walk north along the scenic Morro Bay Esplanade. We’ll row across the bay in a war canoe to the sand spit, and continue along the beach to Hazard Canyon (6+miles), shuttling back to Morro Bay State Park.
Saturday, July 22
We will shuttle to and explore the stunning Montano De Oro State Park, hiking coastal bluffs and entering the gated PG&E land in the northern end. There we will be walking Point Buchon Trail to Windy Point where we can catch a glimpse of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. Shuttle back to Morro Bay State Park
Sunday, July 23
We will pack our gear and break camp; then shuttle to the Elfin Forest for a tour of this unique area. Then back to the State Park for our final farewell. Those headed north can enjoy an optional hike at the Harmony Headlands; the south bounders may enjoy a trip into the Architectural Graveyard, a short hike from the campus of Cal Poly SLO.
- Hiking shoes, boots or sturdy walking shoes
- Waterproof sandals
- Spare walking shoes & laces
- Comfy camp shoes
- Hiking poles
- Water-proof windbreaker/ or parka for cold nights
- Long pants and long sleeve shirt (protection against sunburn, poison oak, and bugs)
- Layers for upper body
- Hat for sun protection that ties under chin
- Beanie for cold, windy conditions
- Other clothing – underwear, T-shirts, lots of socks, etc.
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Sunscreen (minimum 30 spf)
- Natural bug repellant
- Personal first aid kit (band aids, blister pads)
- Personal medicines
- Day pack
- Plate, cup, bowl, and eating utensils
- Sturdy Tupperware for leftovers
- Flashlight & headlamp with new batteries
- Spare batteries
- Folding camp chair
- Tent & Ground Cloth
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- REUSABLE Water Bottle
- Trail snacks (power bars or jerky)
- Credit Card & cash for camp showers and treats
- Solar shower if there is no shower at campsite
- Shower towel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.
- Coffee: (Regular in percolator with caffeine free available upon request), Teas, Cocoa, Juice, Milk (1/2 & 1/2, 2% Milk, Soy & Almond Milks)
- Sweeteners- (sugar, honey)
- Hot Cereals (Instant Oatmeal, and prepare it yourself steel cut oats available)
- Walnuts or assorted nuts
- Fruit (fresh)- (Blueberries, Bananas, Apples, Oranges / Cuties)
- Fruit (dried)- Raisins & Craisins
- Breads- (Multi Grail & Gluten Free)
- Almond Butter
- Fruit spreads
- Cold Cuts
- Cheeses (sliced)
- Condiments, (Mustard, Mayonnaise)
- Butter, (Regular and dairy free)
- Dinners are included unless otherwise noted and will be provided by Coastwalk’s Volunteer Food Angels.
Our Chuckwagon Wrangler will do their best to accommodate you but if you have special dietary needs please bring your food in a small cooler and we will be sure to provide you with ice throughout the trip.
Mike Minky – Walk Leader
2023 will be the 10th year that Mike Minky leads the SLO Coastwalk. Mike owns several record companies specializing in a wide range of classics from Cambodian psychedelic surf bands to Calypso to ‘60’s East L.A. garage bands. Mike’s first Coastwalk was joining the 2003 Border to Border walkers for 3 weeks on the San Simeon to Carpinteria leg. As land acquisitions have opened up new trails on the Central Coast, Mike has been bushwhacking and marking for the future route of the California Coastal Trail.
Chuckwagon Master – Bob Adams
I was born to a mom that loved taking her dogs for long walks. It was the 50’s & 60’s and San Francisco was a much less “developed” area, offering large areas to hike or drive to one of the many open coastal properties nearby for a daily 4-6-mile walk.
My dad would arrange family gatherings and camping adventures throughout the Western United States. I then spent 24 years flying Air Force Cargo Aircraft around the world which afforded me access to hiking and camping opportunities throughout the globe so that I was able to hike on every continent-including Antarctica!
Alone, with family or like-minded groups I have spent my years with a love of the outdoors. I spent 20 years as a RN at medical, surgical, oncology hospitals units.
I joined Coastwalk several years ago for another opportunity to discover new hiking and camping experiences and have been a Chuckwagon Wrangler supporting Coastwalks in almost every coastal county.
Please check back for updates.