Morro Bay Estuary

Morro Bay, California 93443

Morro Bay Estuary

Morro Bay Estuary Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"One of the more prominent coastal landmarks in the state, 578-foot Morro Rock is the last of the Seven Sisters, a series of dramatic outcrops (there are nine, actually), stretching over 10 miles inland in a line to San Luis Obispo. The word morro, Spanish for a dome-shaped promontory, reflects the distinctive shape of this peak, which has for centuries provided an important landmark for mariners. The sheltered estuary at Morro Bay, bordered by nature preserves, is prime habitat for beginning paddlers, as few areas provide such sea life, scenery, and solitude so close at hand.

The largest coastal wetlands in the area south of Elkhorn Slough, the bay, which encompasses the fertile salt marsh of Morro Estuary Natural Preserve, is among the West Coast’s better birding spots. More than 250 species have been recorded in the area with winter migrants flocking in by the tens of thousands. Paddlers also see harbor seals, sea lions, and otters, and, after a short crossing to the sandspit in Morro Dunes Natural Preserve, they are treated to remote beach hiking with great ocean views."

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This is the perfect spot for beginners, the waters are shallow and make you feel secure. Make sure you bring binoculars with you because there is plenty of wild life to see. Take the time for a hike on the sand pit to see the ocean on the other side.

Morro Bay Estuary Photos

Trail Information

Morro Bay
Nearby City
1-5 miles
Trail Type
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
Extensive mudflats begin to uncover at tides below 2 or 3 feet, but a boat channel along the near (eastern) shore keeps the bay navigable to Baywood Park at any water level.
Tidal Information
Mudflats, afternoon winds, boat traffic around main harbor area, tidal currents and rips at the mouth of the bay, and breaking waves at ocean jetties.
Best Times
USGS Morro Bay South (7.5 minute) and NOAA chart 18703 (
Local Maps

Trail Log