Hiking in Santa Maria Valley

August 27, 2018

As the ideal home base, Santa Maria Valley sits within 30 minutes of 24 hiking trails. These trails vary in distance and difficulty, from easy to moderate or hard, with something for every hiker. This list begins with easy hikes and continues down to longer, difficult hikes. Read below to discover your perfect hike and click the link to figure out exactly how to get there. Grab your sunscreen, fill your water bottle and get outside #SantaMariaStyle.

Click to jump: Easy | Moderate | Hard

Easy

Santa Maria Valley Multipurpose Trail

10 minutes from downtown
5.4 miles
Easy
This out and back trail is located near Waller Park in Santa Maria. The trail is great for all skill levels and features scenic views. There are a number of activities nearby, and dogs are also welcome as long as they’re leashed.

Parking is available at 725 Spyglass Dr, Santa Maria.

Santa Maria River Levee Trail

10 minutes from downtown
6.7 miles
Easy
This trail offers expansive views of the nearby mountains and Santa Maria Valley’s landscape. This trail is partially paved and follows a levee built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1960s. This trail is great for hiking or cycling, and leashed dogs are allowed.

Parking is available off highway 101 exit 173.

Orcutt Hill

20 minutes from downtown
3.1 miles
Easy
Orcutt Hill Trails, located near the Orcutt Community Park, offers scenic views of the surrounding hills and towns. Orcutt Hills Trail is good for all skill levels and can also be used for horse riding, mountain biking and walking dogs on leash.

Parking is available at 5800 S Bradley Rd, Orcutt.

Rice Ranch Trail

20 minutes from downtown
3.2 miles

Easy
Also located near Orcutt Community Park is this loop trail, which features opportunities to see beautiful wild flowers and wildlife. The trail offers a number of nearby activity options and is accessible all year. Leashed dogs are also welcome on this trail.

Parking is available at 5800 S Bradley Rd, Orcutt.

Nipomo Park

20 minutes from downtown
1.9 miles
Easy
The Nipomo Park trail is located in Nipomo Regional Park, which features many short hiking trails. This loop trail is good for all skill levels. The trail offers beautiful views of wild flowers is close to other amenities. Leashed dogs are also welcome on the trail.

Parking is available at Nipomo Regional Park, 255 Pomeroy Rd, Nipomo.

Nipomo Native Garden Loop

20 minutes from downtown
0.6 miles
Easy
This trail is also located near Nipomo Regional Park and offers the chance to see native plants and wildlife. This trail is an excellent place for birdwatching enthusiasts. Dogs are also able to use this trail, as long as they’re leashed.

Parking is available at Nipomo Regional Park, 908 w Tefft St, Nipomo.

East La Cuesta Loop

20 minutes from downtown
3.8 miles
Easy
This trail is located near the gorgeous Los Flores Ranch Park, which features 15 miles of hiking trails. East La Cuesta Loop offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is good for all skill levels.

Parking is available at 6271 Dominion Rd, Santa Maria.

Clover Ridge Trail

25 minutes from downtown
1 mile
Easy
This trail is located in the scenic Los Padres National Forest. This trail features beautiful wild flowers and birding opportunities and can easily be hiked on a short break. The trail is good for all skill levels, and leashed dogs are also able to use this trail.

Parking is available at 160 Reugio Place, Arroyo Grande.

Oso Flaco Lake

30 minutes from downtown
1.7 miles
Easy
Oso Flaco Lake Trail is a 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.

Parking is available at Oso Flaco Lake Rd, Arroyo Grande.

Hancock College Trail

30 minutes from downtown
1.8 miles
Easy
Hancock College Trail is an out and back trail located near Hancock College in Lompoc. The trail is paved and good for all skill levels. This trail can be used for hiking, cycling and walking leashed dogs.

Parking is available at 1 Hancock Dr, Lompoc.

Pismo Dunes

30 minutes from downtown
2.4 miles
Easy
Pismo Dunes is an out and back trail located near Pismo State Beach in Oceano that is good for all skill levels. The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding ocean and wildflowers. Dogs are welcome on this trail as long as they’re kept on leash. This trail is also often used for off-road driving.

Parking is available at 307 Pier Ave, Oceano.

Guiton Trail Oceano Lagoon

30 minutes from downtown
1.3 miles
Easy
Guiton Trail Oceano Lagoon is a loop trail also located near Pismo State Beach in Oceano. This trail offers hikers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is available at 555 Pier Ave, Oceano.

Coastal Access Trail at Pismo Beach

30 minutes from downtown
4.8 miles
Easy
Coastal Access Trail at Pismo Beach is an out and back trail, also located at Pismo State Beach. This trail is aptly named, as it takes hikers into Pismo Beach. The trail offers views of the ocean and of coastal vegetation. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Parking is available at 1 W Grande Ave, Grover Beach.

Monarch Butterfly Grove and Meadow Creek Trail

30 minutes from downtown
1.4 miles
Easy
This is an out and back trail located near Pismo Beach that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. In October, monarch butterflies flock to the grove, giving hikers quite a show. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is available at 4737 Cabrillo Hwy, Grover Beach.

Chumash Trail

30 minutes from downtown
1.3 miles
Easy
Chumash Trail is an out and back trail located in Chumash Park near Pismo Beach. The park and trail are family friendly, and leashed dogs are welcome. The trail offers great views of the surrounding region and is a popular spot for bird watchers.

Parking is available at 53 La Garza, Pismo Beach.

Price Historical Park Trail

30 minutes from downtown
1.3 miles
Easy
Price Historical Park Trail is an out and back trail located near Pismo Beach. This park features a river and is good for all skill levels. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The park is kid-friendly and is a popular spot for mountain bikers and hikers.

Parking is available at 390 Bello St, Pismo Beach.

Tepusquet Road

30 minutes from downtown
14.7 miles
Easy
Tepusquet Road is a long stretch of road primarily used for scenic driving, but also popular with hikers and cyclists in the area. This trail features a beautiful forest setting and has a slight incline. The road is long, so we recommend either parking a car at each end or walking only a portion of the road before turning back.

Parking is available at 3500 Santa Maria Mesa Rd, Santa Maria.


Moderate

Five City’s Coast Walk

30 minutes from downtown
8.2 mile
Moderate
This is an out and back trail located near Oceano Beach and features a river and stunning views of the nearby beach. The trail is a combination of multiple smaller trails and two board walks. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is available at 100 Pier Ave, Oceano.

Willow Spring Trail

30 minutes from downtown
6.3 miles
Moderate
Willow Spring Trail is an out and back trail located in the Los Padres National Forest. The trail is best used from February until October. This trail is popular with backpackers and hikers because of its beauty and distance. Leashed dogs are also welcome on this trail.

Parking is available at Cuyama Hwy, Santa Maria.

Punch Bowl Lake

30 minutes from downtown
1.6 miles
Moderate
This loop trail is located on the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc. As the name suggests, this trail features a lake and gorgeous views. The trail also has camping spots and picnic tables.

Parking is available at Punch Bowl Rd, Vandenberg AFB.

Sand Highway

30 minutes from downtown
10 miles
Moderate
Sand Highway is an out and back trail located near Nipomo, California that offers scenic views. The trail is primarily used for off-road driving and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is available at CA-1, Arroyo Grande.


Hard

Paradise Beach Backpacking

20 minutes from downtown
15.9 miles
Hard
This trail is popular among backpackers. It’s an out and back style trail located near Guadalupe, offering scenic views. This trail is a difficult trek over sand and hills, but the views you’ll be rewarded with are worth the effort. The trail is best used from April until October.

Parking is available at 6106 W Main St, Guadalupe.

Point Sal Overlook

20 minutes from downtown
9.8 miles
Hard
This is an out and back trail also located near Casmalia. This trail offers hikers with amazing views, but the road to the stop is steep and winding in certain areas, so come prepared. The trail is also used for fishing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is available at Point Sal Rd, Guadalupe.

Paradise via Point Sal

20 minutes from downtown
10 miles
Hard
This popular backpacking trail takes hikers to Point Sal beach. It’s an out and back trail also near Casmalia. This trail features beautiful wild flowers and views of the ocean, Sea Lion Rock and cliffside views. Dogs are also able to use this trail but be aware that this trail is long.

Parking is available near the trailhead in Guadalupe.

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