Oats Peak, in contrast to the hike to its sister peak, Valencia, is a much longer but milder climb from sea level (sea cliff level, really) to a 1,373 summit with wonderful views of the beautiful mountains and canyons of Montana De Oro, Morro Bay, San Simeon, and the coastal ranges to the north. The trail winds through thick brush and chaparral along the side of Valencia Peak (1340 ft), ascending most of the way, but so gently that the first 3 miles or so really do feel like the hike is on the easier side of moderate. Soon the inclines become more steeply rolling, until the steepest section, in the last half mile, to the top of Oats Peak. By the time I reached the top that cooling coastal fog had begun to envelop Montana De Oro, and my views became obscured, but I was not unhappy. The mist cooled me after this particular day's hot, sunny trek and, while the photo ops weren't as great as they were on the first part of the trail, it was magical. The hike back to the trailhead is easy, not too terribly hard on the knees, just a little bit fatiguing considering the distance. There are options for taking other routes as you head back towards the ocean and the bluffs if you feel like shaking it up. Mountain bikes and horses also share this trail and they always try to be polite, but be aware of them as you come around curves. There is virtually no shade on the trail and it can be a little oppressive in hotter months because it is tucked back away from the coast--but the ocean provides sweet breezes more often than not, and Montana De Oro is, in general, a chilly place. Friends I encountered along the way included a family of California quail, countless lizards (thankfully no rattlesnakes, which are not uncommon here), hummingbirds, many sparrows, red-tailed hawks, vultures, a peregrine falcon (!!!), milk thistle, golden yarrow, California fushcia, Indian paintbrush, and millions of orange monkeyflowers.