Friday, March 4, 2022

So, Where Are The Elves? Hiking the Elfin Forest in Morro Bay

Today's breakfast at Dorn's was a more simple plate of eggs and some crispy hash browns. Just enough for some energy to go hiking.

We're tackling a new trail today in nearby Baywood Park, a twin city to Los Osos at the southern end of Morro Bay...the estuary, not the town.

Visiting Morro Bay in the past, we've driven the road to neighboring Baywood Park, Los Osos, and Montaña de Oro State Park. I've noticed the sign to the Elfin Forest and often wondered about it. Now that I've got Tim interested and enjoying hikes, I looked up to see if there were any trails in the area we could take a wheelchair on. Happily, I found that the Elfin Forest...a preserve on the edge of the bay...had a one mile boardwalked trail we could go on.

While the 90 acres of the preserve are owned ay the San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department, it's Friends of the El Moro Elfin Forest who do the work of running it. Browsing their  website (, I see that the 16th Street trailhead is the accessible one.

It's a 10 minute drive from our hotel to that trailhead which is not in the city of Morro Bay but the next town south, Baywood Park. The estuary itself is still called Morro Bay so we can still say we're there.

There are two designated handicapped parking spots at the trailhead and maybe a half dozen more regular parking spots in the dirt lot. The ramped boardwalk leads to the trail loop from here.

The short spur from the parking lot soon joins the main trail. A sign lets us know it's one way and to go to the left.

Signs along the boardwalk's edge have QR codes to scan on your mobile phone, pointing out features, different plants, and other interesting tidbits.

It's scrubby and sandy landscape is a poor provider of nutrition and we soon find out that the little shrubs that line the trail are actually fully grown live oak trees but, since the conditions are so poor, they only grow a few feet tall. These are the "elves" of the Elfin Forest.

Later in the trail, where theres a patch of better ground, we find a grove of more fully developed trees that grow up to 20 feet tall.

There are two spurs that lead to views of the large bay. You can get great ocean views and even spot Morro Rock sticking out of the ocean like a big thumb a few miles away.

After an hour or so, we're back where we started.

Back in the town of Morro Bay it's time for my wife's pick for dinner, the Great American Fish Company that sits at the north end of town next to the wharves that the local fishing fleet uses.

She gets a nice mixed seafood platter while Tim gets his go-to dish of fish and chips. It's all very good but my landlubber's tri tip sandwich was not anything to write home about.

It's time to rest up in the hotel, relaxing in front of the TV with our Oreos, chips, and candy before driving a few more hours in the morning to go home.

Darryl Musick
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