Virtual Guidebook to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur and Central Coast
Oso Flaco Dunes Trail
near Guadalupe California


Oso Flaco means "skinny bear", from an incident on the Portola expedition in 1769. The Spanish explorers ate a bear that had apparently been poisoned by the Indians and was starving.

Despite this sad tale Oso Flaco is a wonderful place. The lake is freshwater backed up behind dunes. A boardwalk leads to the very long and wild beach, the same one as at Oceano, but OHV's are prohibited.



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The Oso Flaco trail begins at the edge of the rich agrcultural Santa Maria Valley

(June 11, 2010)


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The Oso Flaco Trail goes through a dense thicket of willows before reaching the lake

(June 11, 2010)


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On the boardwalk across Oso Flaco Lake, named for a "skinny bear"

(June 11, 2010)


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The Oso Flaco boardwalk leads through a beautiful area of rolling dunes

(June 11, 2010)


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Stable dune vegetation along the Oso Flaco boardwalk

(June 11, 2010)


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Small ponds are scattered through the dunes along the Oso Flaco boardwalk

(June 11, 2010)


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North of Oso Flaco the dunes are open to vehicular recreation, from here south they are protected

(June 11, 2010)


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Adjacent to the low stabilizied dunes along the boardwalk at Oso Flaco is an area of high active dunes

(June 11, 2010)


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The Oso Flaco trail ends at a long and usually lonely beach

(June 11, 2010)


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Surf fishermen at the Oso Flaco access to the long beach that runs from Pismo to Point Sal

(June 11, 2010)


Next Locality: Guadalupe Dunes and Point Sal