Chumash Loop and Los Osos Creek Trails - Los Osos Oaks State Reserve is about 0.9 miles long and located near Los Osos, California.... more » The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less.
Los Osos Oaks State Reserve is a 90-acre state park located on the east side of the town of Los Osos. The park's only trailhead is located on the south side of Los Osos Valley Road, just before reaching the "downtown" area of Los Osos (if approaching from the east).
The small, paved parking lot is the park's only developed feature. There are no campgrounds, picnic areas, water faucets, or restrooms. A sign board indicates the start of the main trail, which crosses a small wooden bridge and quickly reaches a three-way junction with two branches of the Chumash Loop Trail (straight ahead and on the right) and the Los Osos Creek Trail (on the left). For our hike, we turned right to follow the Chumash Loop counterclockwise to its intersection with the Oak View Trail, another short loop that explores the park's southern area. The Oak View Trail eventually reaches a junction with the Los Osos Creek Trail, on which you turn right and continue north, generally paralleling Los Osos Creek. This trail leads back to the original three-way junction near the parking lot.
Along the way, the route passes through oak woodlands dominated by coast live oaks and a rare dwarf or pygmy variant of the coast live oak that only reaches about 8 feet in height. Away from the woodlands, the trail traverses open coastal sage scrub that lies atop an ancient sand dune.
Some parts of the trail are quite muddy if there has been recent rainfall. Luckily, wooden bridges and sections of boardwalk cross over the muddiest sections. There is also a tremendous amount of poison oak along the trail, although it is easy to avoid if you stay on the established trail.
Our complete route was about one mile, with approximately 100' of elevation gain and loss.