Montana de Oro State Park is an amazing state park. The park has over 8000 acres of open area with miles of coast line and bays. There are a few bays that are lined with high rocks and rough areas. This makes an ideal location for tide pools. The easiest place to see these incredible tide pools is Spooners Cove. There are hundreds of yards of rocks and channels that have lots of barnacles, limpets, snails and lots of other marine live. At low tide, visitors can walk through these deep channels an see thousands of animals clinging to the sides of the rocks. There are other more secluded and harder to reach locations that have even more diversity and numbers of animals.
Location, Parking and AmenitiesThe easiest location to get to is Spooners cove. Follow the road from the Pecho Valley Road entrance several miles until the road reaches the bat at Spooners Cove. Visitors can park in one of the two lots available. Another great location is Hazard reef but visitors need to hike in.
Tidepool AccessThe easiest to reach tide pools are on the south side of the bay. Walk south along the beach until the rocky areas and tide pools start. There are some good tide pool locations on the north side but requires some hiking.
Points of InterestThe tide pool area has lots of deep and long channels. The tops of the channels are a bit rough and can be tricky to walk on. The sides of the channels are spectacular in that there are numerous animals of all kinds that attach to the rocks. Some of these locations have lots of limpets packed tightly together along with clumps of gooseneck barnacles. There are also numerous small pools that form on top of the channels that support sea anemones, crabs, snails and lots of other smaller animals.
Most of the tide pool life is found on the sides of the large channels and on the wave exposed areas. Take notice of the sandy bottoms of the channels as there are lots of larger crabs that can be found in these areas. At the right time of year, visitors will see lots of crab shells as the crabs shed their current shells and grow new ones.
There are several other great locations in the park. The first location worth exploring is the Hazard reef area. Take the trail from the parking area with the same name and hike over to the beach area. These tide pools are a vast area of flat rock with numerous pools of water. The pools have lots of animals including sea anemones, barnacles and mussels in the wave exposed areas. Look for larger crabs in the sandy areas. This location is always on my list to visit when I am in the area.