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Experience the El Moro Elfin Forest

Pygmy trees of the Elfin Forest - El Moro Elfin Forest, Los Osos, California
Mary Piper
Mary Piper
February 26, 2021

There are so many great ways to experience nature when visiting Morro Bay, California. Whether you are outside exploring Morro Rock or going on a whale-watching boat tour, you will discover a wide variety of wild and plant life during your trip to Morro Bay. One exciting place to visit during your trip is the El Moro Elfin Forest, a one-of-a-kind park where ancient oak trees are pint-sized compared to other California Live Oak trees. The park also has several walking trails and scenic outlooks that make it a perfect way to spend an afternoon while touring Morro Bay. Learn more about visiting the forest below!

About El Moro Elfin Forest‍

El Moro Elfin Forest

The Elfin Forest Natural Preserve is located between the towns of Morro Bay and Los Osos. The park's unique quality is that even though it's filled with historic oak trees, the trees in this park only grow to a maximum of 20 feet tall! Poor soil quality that lacks the proper nutrients and minerals needed for Live Oaks to mature keeps the trees in their small stature. This 90-acre park is adjacent to the Morro Bay Estuary, so you can also gaze upon Morro Rock, the Pacific Ocean, and the mountain peaks near Morro Bay State Park while you're there.

Things to do‍

trees from bottom up angle

Wildlife viewing and hiking are the top activities in the park. There are trails inside the park, as well as a mile-long boardwalk that circles the park. In addition to walking through the grove of tiny Live Oak trees, The park has several lookout points. Bush Lupine Point, one of the lookout areas, faces the ocean and is a great place to see waterfowl, including cormorants, egrets, and ducks. Beyond the sea, you can see Morro Rock off in the distance. Another outlook point, called Siena's View, also has excellent Morro Bay Estuary views and the wildlife that call it home. This viewpoint is more inland, so you have better opportunities to see waterfowl up close, and it is also the best place to view Cerro Cabrillo, the highest mountain peak in Morro Bay State Park.

At select times throughout the year, park rangers hold guided tours through the forest. Each tour focuses on a different topic, concentrating on preserving the forest and its wildlife. These free tours are usually held every third Saturday of the month.

Visiting the forest‍

El Moro Elfin Forest with view to the Morro rock

El Moro Elfin Forest is open daily from dawn until dusk. It is free to visit the park. The slight, 80-foot elevation makes the park an excellent place for strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and hikers of all expertise. Dogs are also welcome, as long as they remain on a leash. You'll find several displays that talk about the park's wildlife, trail maps, and benches inside the park. It is important to note that there aren't restrooms or drinking water inside the park.

To get to the park, drive along Highway 1 South past Morro Bay and take exit 277 towards Los Osos/Baywood Park. Make a right on to South Bay Boulevard, then another right on to Santa Ysabel Avenue. There are several street parking entrances along Santa Ysabel Avenue from 11th to 17th streets.

Choose Blue Sail Inn when you stay in Morro Bay‍

Check out this blog post for the best things to do in Morro Bay! We’re steps away from the Embarcadero and the downtown area, which means you are within walking distance to many shops and restaurants in the area. Book your room today!

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