PG&E Commitment: Latest Updates on Wildfire Response and Recovery Effort

Posted on August 2, 2012

Trails Near Diablo Canyon Plant Offer Stunning Views of Coastal Scenery

PG&E and RecreationEditor’s Note: This week, Currents looks at some of the places in PG&E’s service area where camping, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities can be enjoyed – public recreational facilities that are just some of the benefits of PG&E’s hydroelectric generation system and other operations.

By John Lindsey

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – PG&E provides hiking opportunities on specific coastal portions of its Diablo Canyon Power Plant property. Available through its Land Stewardship Program, these hiking trails take you back in time.

Only open Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Pecho Coast Trail leads hikers to the Point San Luis Lighthouse and then on to Rattlesnake Canyon. (Photos by John Lindsey.)

The secluded beaches, rugged cliffs and broad coastal terraces of the Pecho Coast have been privately owned and inaccessible to the public since the Spanish Mission period. A hiker can see bobcats, coyotes and badgers that are typically nocturnal in broad daylight.

Two trails are open to hikers – the Point Buchon Trail and the Pecho Coast Trail.


Point Buchon Trail

If you’re looking for a local adventure with your family, look no further than the Point Buchon Trail. It opened to the public in 2008.

The trail, sandwiched between the Irish hills to the east and the rugged Pecho Coast to the west, is 3.4 miles long. This stunning trail runs south from Coon Creek near Montana De Oro State Park all the way to the Lion Rock overlook, a point just north of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The trail, which generally follows the coastline, moves inland at several points to avoid ecologically sensitive areas and to give hikers more panoramic views of the coastline.

The trail is open 8 a. m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Hikers must sign in but do not need to be accompanied by docents. Reservations are encouraged.

Point Buchon takes its name for the Spanish word for goiter. At the time of the Spanish arrival, the Chumash chief had an enormous goiter on his neck, and was nicknamed El Buchon.

“The Point Buchon headland is one of the more prominent points along our Central Coast. When one stands along this spectacular headland, one can sense an aura of spirituality as the Chumash considered this one of their sacred sites,” said Sally Krenn, a PG&E senior terrestrial biologist.


Pecho Coast Trail

The Pecho Coast Trail is accessed by traveling through Avila Beach and parking at the Port San Luis Harbor parking lot located at the base of the pier.

A beam of light from the Point San Luis Lighthouse guided ships on the treacherous coast from 1890 to 1933. Visitors can tour the historic structure.

The trail to the Point San Luis Lighthouse is open to 20 hikers on Wednesday and 40 hikers on Saturdays. Docent-led, the hike starts at 9 a.m. and returns at 1 p.m.

The hike to the Point San Luis Lighthouse is 3.75 miles and moderately strenuous with uneven terrain, steep cliffs and grades, narrow paths, and crumbling earth. Sturdy hiking shoes are required.

At the Lighthouse, an admission fee of $5 per adult will be required to take the Lighthouse Headkeeper’s quarters tour. The balance of the site and buildings can be visited at no charge. Children under 12 are free. This fee supports the work of the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers’ restoring, maintaining, and operating visitor services at this historic site.

From the trailhead at Port San Luis, the hike to the lighthouse is 3.75 miles round trip. At the lighthouse, visitors can continue to hike to Rattlesnake Canyon. That is an eight-mile round trip from the Port San Luis trail head.

Point Buchon and Pecho Coast TrailsReservations need to be made two weeks in advance of the hike. For information regarding the eight-mile roundtrip hike to Rattlesnake Canyon and for information regarding special group hikes, please call 541-TREK or log into this website.

Tomorrow: Boats, bass and more on Bass Lake

Email John Lindsey at



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