Morro Bay

Park Brochure

brochure Morro Bay - Park Brochure
Our Mission Morro Bay State Park The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Morro Bay State Park blends rich history and unique beauty with diverse resources  — from Morro Rock to a nationally recognized California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (805) 772-7434. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service Morro Bay State Park State Park Road Morro Bay, CA 93442 (805) 772-7434 © 2005 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) estuary teeming with life. M orro Bay State Park looks out over the bay to wind-sculpted sand dunes. Guarding the harbor entrance of the central coast’s Morro Bay, Morro Rock has been a landmark for mariners over the centuries. The park includes the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Rock Natural Preserve, the Heron Rookery Natural Preserve, and the highly acclaimed Morro Bay State Park Golf Course. Amenities include a marina, restaurant, campground, and picnic areas. A butterfly grove sometimes hosts overwintering Monarchs from November into February. The climate is mild year round. missions in California were established — drastically changing the lives of the native people. Most of them left their settlements and were taken into the mission system, adopting the agricultural practices of the missions. The number of indigenous people dwindled in the face of European disease and diminishing traditional food sources. When missions were secularized in 1833, newly independent Mexico began granting land to Mexican citizens. Four such grants were made near Morro Bay. The MexicanAmerican War concluded in 1848, and in 1850 California became part of the United States. PARK HISTORY Native People and Spanish Explorers For many millennia before European contact, ancestors of the people who today call themselves Chumash or Salinan lived on the central coast. Seasonally, they traveled inland, using the area’s marine and terrestrial resources. The first European overland expedition into the Morro Bay area was led by Don Gaspar de Portolá in 1769. Soon after, the first Becoming a State Park Morro Bay became a popular tourist destination beginning in the 1890s. A construction boom that peaked in the 1920s was halted by the economic crash of 1929, causing speculators to go bankrupt and new subdivisions to languish as empty lots. The Cabrillo Country Club had opened on the present state park site a few months CCC-built “comfort station,” ca. 1934 before the crash. The club’s developers desperately sought a buyer, and the residents of Morro Bay pushed for the State to acquire the land as a state park. The State took possession of the property in 1934. Civilian Conservation Corps Started in 1933 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created work for unemployed young men. The CCC arrived at the property on May 11, 1934, and began transforming the former country club into a state park. The finely crafted stone features seen in the park today were built by the CCC and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Morro Rock from Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History From left to right: Accessible Marina Peninsula Trail, California fuchsia, Museum of Natural History from Morro Bay NATURAL HISTORY Plant and Animal Life The diverse vegetation in 2,700-acre Morro Bay State Park includes grasslands, freshwater riparian, saltmarsh, and coastal sage scrub habitats. The bay is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway, providing seasonal feeding grounds for more than a hundred species of migratory birds, sometimes numbering in the thousands. Heron Rookery Natural Preserve Double-crested cormorants, great egrets, and great blue herons can be spotted roosting in trees on the point north of the Museum of Natural History. Many active nests provide excellent bird watching between February and June. Great blue heron Morro Estuary Natural Preserve Once endangered, the falcons nest high on the rock, where they are well situated for In this 800-acre wetland, fresh water mixes their frequent feeding forays. It is illegal to with ocean tides. Estuaries are rich and climb Morro Rock. productive habitats, providing spawning grounds and nurseries for numerous Museum of Natural History wetland wildlife species. Situated high on White’s Point, On the southeast shore of the museum commands a the estuary, rare coastal dune spectacular view of the bay. The scrub habitat —  the Elfin Forest’s museum’s interactive exhibits diminutive, wind-pruned oak show how natural forces  — trees  —  provides homes for a variety including humans  —  affect Earth’s of mammals, birds, and reptiles. environment and all life. Trails follow the edge of the Natural and cultural interpretive Peregrine falcon estuary and wind into the hills programs such as exhibits, hikes, above the bay. talks, and special events are offered by Morro Rock Natural Preserve The spectacular rock at the entrance to Morro Bay is a 23-million-year-old volcanic plug; many similarly rounded and dramatic outcroppings occur in a line between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Morro Rock is home to nesting American peregrine falcons. the museum staff. Presentations are also offered for school groups to complement school curricula. For more information and schedules, please contact the museum at (805) 772-2694. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days. Marine Protected Areas in California Formed as a result of the Marine Life Protection Act, California’s marine protected areas (MPAs) are marine or estuarine areas set aside to protect the diversity and abundance of marine life and marine ecosystems. California State Parks works with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the City of Morro Bay, and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program to provide a balance between wildlife protection and human recreational activities. The Morro Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area permits some limited recreational fishing and hunting. The Morro Bay State Marine Reserve has the most protected classification, where all living marine resources are protected and must remain undisturbed. When hiking, kayaking, and exploring the shores and waters of the estuary, please give wildlife space. If any animal such as a bird, otter, or sea lion notices you, back away and give them enough space to rest, breed, and feed. See RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES Activities include camping, boating, fishing, water sports, hiking, biking, and bird watching. Marina  —The small boat marina features rental canoes, kayaks, and a café. Kayaking is a popular activity in the bay, but to be safe, check the tide schedule before embarking. Golf Course  —  Located on the hills above the campground, this 18-hole course offers Overview of Morro Estuary Natural Preserve from Black Hill The Marina sweeping views of the bay, the estuary, Morro Rock, and the ocean beyond. The course is open to the public and includes a driving range, pro shop, and café. Camping  —The campground includes 134 campsites in addition to two group camps, restrooms, showers, RV hook-up sites, and an RV dump station. Firewood is sold Morro Bay State Park Golf Course on site; visit For camping information and reservations, call (800) 444-7275 or visit Picnicking — Picnic facilities are available for day use throughout the park. Trails  — Hiking on the park’s many trails is a favorite pastime. Mountain bikes are welcome on many of these trails. These trails take hikers along chaparral-, tree-, and grasscovered hillsides, with beautiful views of the estuary and mud flats. Please stay on trails. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES • Museum of Natural History: parking lot, exhibits, unisex restroom, trailhead, picnic tables, and the Museum Loop Trail • Campgrounds: picnic sites, restrooms, five campsites, and one group site Mountain biking in the Black Hill area • Marina: unisex restroom, Marina Peninsula Trail, and kayak launch ramp • Trails: Inn at Morro Bay Nature Trail (1,000 feet) and Marina Peninsula Loop Trail and Boardwalk (.7 miles) Accessibility is continually improving. See updates at NEARBY STATE PARKS • Morro Strand State Beach 2 miles north of Morro Bay on Hwy. 1 (805) 772-7434 or (805) 772-8812 • Montaña de Oro State Park 3550 Pecho Valley Road, Los Osos 93402 (805) 772-7434 • Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos 93402 (805) 772-7434 PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed. • Camp and park within designated areas. • Dispose of wastewater and trash properly. • Keep campfires in designated rings only. • Do not gather wood. • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. • Generators must not be used between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. • Do not leave your dog unattended. Dogs must be on a leash (6’ maximum). Except for service animals, dogs are not permitted on beaches and trails. This park receives support in part through a nonprofit organization. For more information, contact: Central Coast State Parks Association P.O. Box 445, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 (805) 548-0390 • 120° 52’ 120° 51’ 30” 120° 51’ 120° 50’ 30” 120° 50’ 120° 49’ 30” 120° 49’ 120° 48’ 30” 120° 48’ 120° 47’ 30” 40 0 120° 52’ 30” o de r Em rc a ba ba rc a to Cayucos de r Morro Bay 578ft 176m P State Park 200 Fro nt S N AT U R A L P R E S E RV E m Morro Rock o ROCK E MORRO 35° 22’ 200 t d Blv th il 0 et il Tra il Tra 60 Cre P spi Tra il MARINE MARINE R E S E RV E (SMR) 400 Locked Gate MANAGEMENT L os O so s El Moro Elfin Forest Parking 400 Picnic Area 200 Cresp il Tra i Restrooms Cr e RV 600 400 RV Sanitation Station (SLO County) Showers Santa Ysabel Ave 20 Tu r S ou ri th (SMRMA) 600 Ranger Station Mud flat AREA 35° 20’ 30” Marina 400 ek R E C R E AT I O N A L Fishing 0 Trail Mud flat M O R R O B AY S T AT E Exhibits 0 ge Boat Launch: Hand 80 200 Park Rid Campground: 600 Hike & Bike 600 Chumash S T AT E Mud flat Tr Pa r k Trail M O R R O B AY 35° 20’ Ridge Liv eO Tra ak il Po rt Tra ola il 329ft 100m n Ca 35° 21’ Campground: Group Marine Reserve Boundary Marine Recreational Mgmt. Area Boundary 0 Oak Accessible Path Trail 20 N AT U R A L P R E S E RV E Quarry Campground 200 400 40 P MORRO ESTUARY Quarry 200 Campfire Center Trail: Hike & Bike Marsh 0 35° 20’ 200 Tr a 0 ar Trail Boating Trail: Hiking 0 o orr Ch 400 il Unpaved Road M O R R O B AY S TAT E PA R K Qu Rd Morro Bay 600 Live see detail map P y Tr a ry Exercise Trail e 20 l Hil Ba Accessible Feature Paved Road Cerro Cabrillo 911ft 278m 80 Rd ark Legend 400 0 View 200 ck Trail Chorro and Oso Group Camps at 209ft 64m 20 Park St Chorro Hill Ro Trail 0 ck 200 Morro Bay Campground 35° 20’ 30” 20 uth P 0 So 35° 21’ HERON ROOKERY N AT U R A L P R E S E RV E GOLF COURSE 40 Trail 35° 21’ 30” h e Mud flat d P Black Hill R rk V i ew Rd 661ft 201m v ro Fairbank Point Black Hill y G Clubhouse Pa 0 Pipe lin e GOLF COURSE Inn at Morro Bay Nature Trail 60 Ba Tu r St 400 to San Luis Obispo Rd Qu i ntan a 0 eT rail Bla n 20 rlin 1 op Creek ai we Carmel Loops ro M g Lo tle cade E mb a r Po MORRO BAY P 35° 21’ 30” min Sou La 200 SMRMA Fle Lo B AY Bay Tr ma St MO RRO Sou t 35° 22’ Viewpoint Rd © 2010 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) Ba yB lvd M O N TA Ñ A 35° 19’ 30” 11th St 35° 19’ 30” Monarch Butterfly Roosting Area DE Museum of Natural History Campground Entrance 35° 19’ Mud flat 35° 19’ Sta Café ORO White Point te Pa rk Rd LOS OSOS yR d B oa Mud flat Pe ch o Va l le S TAT E 35° 18’ 30” Ma rin a rdw a P en insu la M O R R O B AY S T AT E P A R K CAMPGROUND lk 35° 18’ 30” Tr a i l Loop 200 PA R K Los 200 LOS OSOS OAKS S T A T E N A T U R A L R E S E RV E 400 0 0 120° 52’ 30” 120° 52’ 120° 51’ 30” 120° 51’ 120° 50’ 30” 120° 50’ 120° 49’ 30” 120° 49’ 120° 48’ 30” 0.1 0.2 Oso s Va 0.2 0.3 0.4 lley Rd 0.4 0.6 0.5 Miles 35° 18’ 0.8 Kilometers 120° 48’ 120° 47’ 30”

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