Oso Flaco Lake Trail

Oso Flaco Lake Trail is an easy, 1.7-mile, famous out and back trail located in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. This trail features a lake and is good for all skill levels and perfect for families. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

This freshwater lake whose name means “skinny bear,” covers 75 acres and is the perfect location where several diverse natural habitats unite to create a safe haven for more than 200 species of birds and an abundance of wildflowers. The park also offers a view of the tall willows and wax myrtle trees, which serve as the home to many of these birds.

Since the 1700s, the trail has become widely known in the area. Its name is centered around an old tale by the native people, the Chumash. The tale goes that the Chumash had fed the bear tainted meat so they wouldn’t be competing for resources. This is how the bear from the area became “skinny.” 

The trail now offers the perfect spot for bike rides, birdwatching or a peaceful walk. Also, the route that leads to the overlook is wheelchair accessible.

Where the sea meets the land, this park offers visitors a chance to explore and enjoy an undeveloped gem on the California coastline. Whether you’re taking a walk to see the sunrise or sunset, finish it off with a picnic along a secluded beach where even on the busiest of days there aren’t many people you’ll encounter. 

Tip: Pets are not allowed and there’s a $5 per vehicle fee is charged to park in the lot.

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