Oso Flaco Lake Trail is a 1.7 mile out and back trail located near Nipomo, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

1.7 miles
22 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly


nature trips

trail running


bird watching



partially paved


no dogs

Oso Flaco Lake is part of the former Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Preserve, operated by The Nature Conservancy. The area has been transferred to California State Parks, and is now part of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. The trail and the portion of the beach it accesses are not open to vehicles of any kind. The trail starts at a large gravel parking lot and is briefly paved. The closed paved road turns to dirt and soon reaches the start of the Oso Flaco Lake boardwalk, on your left. Turn here and take the boardwalk across the lake. The boardwalk includes benches and several interpretive signs identifying common plants and birds in the area. After crossing the lake, the boardwalk continues over the dunes to a high point near the beach. Here, a short section of boardwalk branches off the main route and leads to a viewing platform with excellent views to the north and south along the beach. There is also a picnic area near here with picnic tables and a restroom. The main route follows a sandy path between two fenced-off areas (the one to the north protecting snowy plover habitat) and leads onto the beach. From here, views extend south to Point Sal and north to Point San Luis. The mouth of Oso Flaco Creek, which drains the lake, lies just to the south of here.

2 months ago

Easy, beautiful, a nice relaxing stroll over a boardwalk that leads to the ocean just south of the Oceano Dunes recreation area. Vehicles aren’t allowed this far down on the beach. There’s a small creek that flows into the ocean so be prepared to get wet if you’d like to cross it and continue south on the beach.

There is a day use fee if you park in the parking lot. There is also parking along the road outside. Bathrooms were kind of gross.

3 months ago

Such a good hike, with an AMAZING view!

4 months ago

This is a pretty nice trail. It could use a bit of maintenance and the outhouse near the end tends to be dirty so go to the bathroom before you go. The views at the end are so worth it and the beach won’t have a lot of people. It’s an easy enough walk to be able to bring a cooler and lunch.

6 months ago

Gorgeous trail, very easy for kids. We took our 3 year old and 18 month old and they walked the entire trail out and back. Beautiful beach at the end of the trail.

7 months ago

Easy Hike. very scenic ends at the beach but tide is very strong in the water. not a swimming beach.

8 months ago

This trail exceeded our expectations. I brought my 7 and 8 year old to explore a new area and it was perfect! Beautiful bridge across the water and a boardwalk all the way to the viewing deck at the beach made it easy to navigate and super easy for the kids! Bring your poles if you’re a fishing family because the fish were jumping and very few people were out fishing so it makes it feel very serene.

10 months ago

Very easy beautiful trail. You go over a bridge with lots of different types of birds on a lake. Then a well paved easy walkway all the way to the beach. Nice easy trail.

Friday, February 02, 2018

We did this hike when my son was 3 months old. It was very easy and we loved it. I didn't even have to change into any sort of work out gear or wear tennis. It seems like the trail would be great for someone in a wheelchair also (seemed wide enough).

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Beautiful, the kids did it easily, there were beautiful birds everywhere, and we saw dolphins jumping and riding waves at the end.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

This trail has a beautiful ocean view at the end that makes it worth the long walk. Most of the path is wheelchair, bike accessible. There are even wildlife mallards, raccoons, beautiful serene area.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A great walk through a variety of settings, both fresh water and the ocean. Dolphins, seals, raccoon, fish jumping and a variety of birds. The beach is gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Easy hike. beautiful. usually hardly anyone on the beach.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Still great spot, take trail to the ocean

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Awesome trail.
Beach gets really windy, love it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Very beautiful, takes you right onto the beach.

bird watching
Monday, April 03, 2017

Beautiful day for a nature walk. This is an easy walk to the ocean with plenty to see and lots to read about the area.

Sunday, January 01, 2017


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

This is one of my favorite places to visit. I'm very surprised of how well the lake is doing in this drought

Monday, November 07, 2016

Absolutely relaxing hike! we'll do it again near summer

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Lovely place to relax, takes you through the trees,on a little bridge above water and ends on a secluded beach where you can just be you and your thoughts.
Bathrooms access at the beginning of the trail (there was no parking fee when we went), and another one closer to the beach.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Easy relaxing walk, not far to the beach.. Lots of birds and little creatures to enjoy along the way.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Nice gentle hike down the boardwalk but keep in mind there's a ranger station on your right and a $5.00 fee to park at the trailhead. You can avoid the parking fee by parallel parking on the road just outside of the trailhead parking lot. Also, it was very cold/windy so bring a jacket just in case. Have fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Very easy hike with a 4 year old and 2 year old. We went early morning and it was overcast, so there were tons of bugs along the bridge across the water. But once we were past the bridge, it was great! Saw about 8 wild rabbits (boys loved it!)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nice easy hike / walk. Beautiful trees cover the beginning of the trail and then you make a left on to an expansion bridge and walk across the water. We spent some time there bird watching. Next you are met by a wooden foot path through the sand dunes where it was very peaceful and serene. There is a bathroom there to!! Then on to the beach where you can see for miles at the look out at the end of the boardwalk.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

always a fun hike with the kids. they love it and it gets us out for a while.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Love this place! Great for kids

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nice easy walk , great for families ..

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The trail was way to short in my opinion. Took my girlfriend and I less than an hour to reach the beach. The good thing about this trail is the HUGE lake right in the start and the many picnic tables. The bad thing is that it's too short. I've seen toddlers walk the trail with no problems so anyone can do it even 70+

Saturday, April 02, 2016

I went October 2015, lots and lots of Ducks, Herring, Osprey, Great white pelican. Loved it and will go again. Easy walk, beautiful plants along the way.

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