Cultural and Natural History of the Estero Bluffs

Sam Elliott: Estero Bluffs

Cultural and Natural History of the Estero Bluffs

Sadly, this walk is cancelled due to muddy trails. Please avoid hiking muddy trails as it causes long-lasting trail damage.

Killer's Surf Spot aka Fig Tree Parking Area
December 2023 TBD

Join longtime CLC member and Hike Leader Mimi Kimball for stories of indigenous people of the central coast, fun facts about marine mammals and coastal geology. This is a perfect walk for all ages.

Mimi Kimball telling stories on the Bluffs

Mimi Kimball telling stories on the Bluffs on Highway One

Meet at the Fig Tree Parking area on Highway 1. (You can find it on Google Maps.) about 1.25 miles north of Cayucos proper (past the San Geronimo windmill, past the next hill. It's a large pullout. Look for the Cayucos Land Conservancy banner!

Bring a jacket, binoculars & a water bottle, wear good walking shoes and sunscreen. Hiking sticks are also a good idea.

The walk is mild to moderate (flat with a small hill from the parking lot to the trail) and will take about an hour and a half. No RSVP required.

We hope you can join us!

Coming Events:

Identify Species on Estero Bluffs

iNaturalist tutorial and a walk at Estero Bluffs 

Saturday April 29th at 10AM

San Geronimo Creek Turnout from Highway 1

Walk leader Tom Seville is a life long observer of the natural world and very interested in the Biology of Estero Bluffs State Park. Tom has found iNaturalist to be a fun and efficient program enabling non-specialists to add to the scientific community data set, explore our own Estero Bluffs State Park, learn a little Biology, and view the natural world surrounding Cayucos from a Citizen/Scientist perspective.

Have fun while contributing to our community’s understanding of the organisms found at the Estero Bluffs State Park. Participants will use cell phones to photograph observed species within the Park boundaries. Photos collected are downloaded in to the iNaturalist App for Species Identification with location coordinates. Data collected is used to determine species present, distribution, and population.


Estero Bluffs State Park Species List


Our goal is to observe, identify and record the species found at Estero Bluffs State Park on the iNaturalist App.

It is recommended that you download the iNaturalist App onto your smart phone before the walk from Be sure to “Create an Account” on iNaturalist to enjoy the fun! Data collected is best viewed from a Desktop or LapTop Computer when you return home. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle.

Please RSVP to to attend.


Black Oystercatcher by Dr. Joel Germond

Black Oystercatchers of Estero Bluffs

Saturday May 27th at 10AM

Location TBA

Walk leader Bill Standley is the Natural Resource Specialist for the Bureau of Land Management's California Coastal National Monument. Bill lives in Cayucos, but works with volunteers throughout the state to monitor coastal wildlife and help prevent human disturbance.

Come explore the bluffs and offshore rocks at Estero Bluffs State Park in search of Black Oystercatchers and other coastal shorebirds. Black Oystercatchers are one of our coast's most unique shorebirds and will be in the midst of their nesting season so we may get lucky enough to see some young chicks being fed limpets by their parents, or see a nesting pair defend their territory from neighboring pairs.

Our goal is to observe the behaviors of Black Oystercatchers and other shore/seabirds. 

Meeting spot to be announced.  Wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle.  Be sure to bring binoculars (and a spotting scope if you have one). RSVP required, email



Dudleya Abramssii on Hollywood Hill by Dr. Joel Germond

Stalking the Wildlife of Hollywood Hill

Monday May 29th at 10AM

End of Hacienda Drive by the Water Towers

Walk leader, Dr. Joel Germond is a semi-retired clinical psychologist who has been an avid lover and observer of nature since childhood and is now a local expert on the flora and fauna of the Cayucos hillsides. Since moving to the area in 2007 he has focused on learning to identify and photograph all the interesting biodiversity of the amazing California central coast. He hikes daily with his wife Paolina Aligero, an avid nature lover herself. (See our article on the Hillsides)

Hollywood Hill - sometimes called Hang Glider Hill by the locals is host to an amazing biodiversity that is mostly unsuspected by those driving past on Hwy 1. Badgers, Mountain Lions and over 75 species of birds have been seen in these environs. Our hike will take us through coastal chaparral, grassy hillsides and along a thicket of willows and honeysuckle. Perhaps we'll see one of the many species of reptiles and amphibians that are to be found up there.

Our goal is to observe, enjoy and record the animal and plant species found on Hollywood Hill.

Bring binoculars (cameras optional) and wear sturdy shoes.  Meet at the water towers adjacent to Hacienda Drive (south of Old Creek Rd.).  This rigorous walk will proceed up the backside of Hollywood hill to the top and loop back.  Two hours or longer.  RSVP required, email


Past events:

Tide Pool Walk

With Sally Krenn & Faylla Chapman

Sally Krenn

Sally Krenn is a retired biologist from Pacific Gas & Electric and has conducted research in the intertidal and subtidal areas located along the Diablo Canyon Coastline. She is currently a volunteer for State Parks and has led numerous tide pool walks along the Montana de Oro coastline. Currently on the board for the Bay Foundation, she is an advocate for the protection of these intertidal areas.


Faylla Chapman is a marine biologist with a specialty in marine algae. She has worked at UC Irvine, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Diablo Canyon and as a consultant. Faylla is currently a volunteer for California State Parks.





The Central Coast offers a great opportunity to explore and observe tidepools of the rocky intertidal reef, where you'll get the chance to witness an astonishing array of seaweeds and animals that dwell within them. Sea stars, hermit crabs, and sea anemones, are just a few species of invertebrates that can be found in this magnificent ecosystem. One will also learn how to engage in a quest to search for the colorful nudibranchs and to search under rocks and crevices for mysterious species like the two spotted octopus.

Our goal is to learn about the fascinating animals and plants in the intertidal reef, and how to use “tide pool etiquette” so our access to this interesting and delicate ecosystem does not harm the invertebrates and seaweeds that thrive along our coast.


Estero Bluffs Rocks!

Geology Walk with Norma Wightman

Norma Wightman, a Morro Bay resident, has been a California State Parks volunteer walk leader for over 25 years, and is well known for her geology walks.

Thirty million years ago tectonic plate subduction bulldozed part of the ocean floor into the tortured mixture called Franciscan melange seen along Estero Bluffs. See the mix of tortured rocks (sedimentary, metamorphic and volcanic) that tectonic forces spewed up along this scenic section of coastline. Learn about the bulldozer effect as the Pacific Plate subducted under the North American place to form a unique mix called the Franciscan Melange.

Our goal is to observe the  “bulldozer effect” of subduction zone underneath the North American plate leading to a mélange of rock types, disrupted from their oceanic mantle sequence and encourage observation and comparison with other coastal areas with more uniform rocks.



Birds! Birds! Birds! with Tom Edell

Biologist Tom Edell has tracked San Luis Obispo County birds for over 40 years. He is an eBird reviewer for San Luis Obispo County, serves on the board of the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay, and leads offshore boat trips for the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival.

Villa Creek is a prime location for bird watching with its proximity to a wide variety of different natural habitats to support them. We will identify different species and learn more about their behaviors and how to identify them. Our walk will take us through the coastal bluff to the beach and then along the beach to the Villa Creek lagoon. On our way back we will check the rocky shoreline if time permits. We will observe a wide variety of birds including waterfowl, ocean birds ( grebes and cormorants), gulls, shorebirds (Snowy Plover), sparrows and finches. Learn about their behaviors - feeding, vocalizations, nesting and more. Trip distance will be about 1.5 miles.

Our goal is to identify coastal birds while observing their behaviors in their native habitats from the bay, rocky shores and sandy beaches to the grasslands nearer the highway.