Oso Flaco Lake
Location: Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area, San Luis Obispo County, CA
Miles: 3 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours
Users: Hikers only. Wheelchair access. No dogs, horses, or mountain bikes permitted.
Oso Flaco Lake is located near Guadalupe, California. The lake was once a part of the Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes preserve, which was run by the Nature Conservancy. This area is now a part of the California State Parks, and more specifically Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area.
No vehicles of any type are allowed on the trail or the part of the beach that the trail accesses. The Oso Flaco Lake trail starts at a large parking lot that is only partially paved. At the beginning of the trail, you will see signs warning about bear activity around the area (“Oso” means bear in Spanish).
The paved road will turn to dirt and will reach the beginning of the boardwalk to the lake. You will take the boardwalk over the lake.
Along the boardwalk, you will see several signs that identify many of the plants that are common in the area. Once you are over the lake you will go over the dunes and reach a high point that is located near the beach.
There is a section that goes off the main route that leads to a platform that offers wonderful views along the beach. There are picnic areas here as well as bathrooms.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Wear comfortable clothes
This is an easy-going hike, best to wear comfortable clothes if you plan to go to Oso Flaco Lake. You can wear shorts on this trip.
2) Enjoy the beach!
Don’t just stay on the boardwalk, reach the beach for the full experience. If you get lucky, you can have the beach to yourself since it rarely gets crowded here.
3) Dip your toes on the shoreline
Have a little fun and loosen up. Feel the water on your toes!