Oats Peak Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Los Osos, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
I hiked 7 miles total on the Oats Peak trail. Eventually I'd like to work up to the approximate 10.5 miles that I calculated that it would take to get to the peak and back, but 7 for me was great, especially since I left at 5:15 and got back close to 7pm. I didn't want to hike in the dark. I wasn't as impressed with this trail as Valencia Peak trail, which is also in Montana de Oro State Park, but it was fun to explore another trail none the less. All of the trails at this park are beautiful and have ocean views. On this trail I was worried about wild animals for some reason. I ran into a huge ant, a deer, and another rodent, but no mountain lions or rattle snakes thank goodness! Both are rare but in the evening more wild things can show up. ;) Anyway this was a nice trail but they need to figure out how to shorten it up to 8 miles instead of the 10. I think the old and new part of this trail were combined lately because the reviews on the internet made it seem like it was only 6 miles total with the new trail. Nope -- definitely still 10+ miles because I had already hiked 3.5 miles and there were still 2.5 left to go. That would total 12 miles if I calculated my milage correctly! It may be this way right now because many alternative routes to this trail were closed off. That potentially could have been the new trail and I hiked half of the old trail. I'm not sure. It's confusing unless you're really familiar with the trail. The existing trail is well marked with signage on which way to go despite all the block offs and there are other small trails to explore while on Oaks Peak trail. All in all I still loved being back in the park despite the constant switchbacks and length of this particular trail. It really is a gradual climb and offers great views of Valencia Peak. You can actually hop on the other trail and go up to Valencia this way and make your round trip 7 miles I believe. I could actually hear hikers talking from far beneath Valencia peak and they were almost to the top of the summit! Can't wait to go back and hike the smaller trails there in the future but for now I'm staying away from Oats until the trail is shorter with less switchbacks. It makes you feel like you're stuck sometimes instead of continuing to climb elevation and actually get somewhere. All in all Montana de Oro is gorgeous, but I'm going to explore other trails before heading back to Oats Peak trail.
This is a great trail when you want to get away from the crowds, and don't mind putting down a few extra miles. The Spring is an especially good time to do this trail, as the wildflowers can be quite prolific along the rolling hills. I usually do it as a loop and return through Coon Canyon and the Bluff Trail.