“one of the most scenic natural areas all along California’s coast”
Just north of Guadalupe, California, lies one of the most scenic natural areas all along California’s coast, Oso Flaco Lake. To get there, three miles north of Guadalupe, turn west onto Oso Flaco Lake Road, this road will dead end at the parking area for this hidden State Park. Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area is a part of Oceano Dunes SVRA, a California State Park. Access is permitted sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Trailhead begins through the white gate. The lake has been called Oso Flaco, meaning “skinny bear,” ever since 1769 when Gaspar de Portola’s expedition passed through. The reason for this is attributed to a fateful meal shared by the explorers. The group saw, shot and subsequently ate a skinny bear they had seen on the shores of the lake. By the next day, several of the men had died. The tale goes that the native people, the Chumash, had fed the bear tainted meat which when consumed would cause the animals to sicken enough for them to be unable to compete for resources. With the inability to feed came the inevitable wasting that would have led to our ‘skinny bear’. It would appear though that the bear’s flesh had enough residual toxins to have also dispatched our ill fated explorers to a quicker demise.
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Oso Flaco Lake
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 7:00 pm
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