The Elfin Forest of California

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The Elfin Forest in Morro Bay, California

We’ve been all over this part of the coast for years. But we found another of those places that we have just passed by all these years and never explored. That place is the Morro Bay Estuary and the Elfin Forest. This area of Morro Bay is a wildlife sanctuary. It’s home to countless birds and little tiny shrubs. These shrubs make up the Elfin Forest.

Now, it seems that people have named a lot of places the elfin forest. The one we explored is just south of Morro Bay. It’s on the hill overlooking the Morro Bay Estuary.

The Morro Bay Estuary and Elfin Forest.
The view of the estuary and bird sanctuary from the Elfin Forest trail.

Bird Watching

Morro Bay and Los Osos are a haven for bird watchers. In fact, they hold events where people gather together and go bird watching together. I’ve never really understood it. But it’s a big deal. And the estuary and Elfin Forest are definitely a spot worth checking out if you like to spot some birds in their natural habitat.

The Morro Bay Estuary

The Trails

There are a lot of little trails that wind through the forest. The main one is a boardwalk that meanders out to a birdwatching platform over the Morro Bay Estuary. It then loops back around to form a almost full mile. The boardwalk is an easy walk. There are some windy and narrow parts. But for the most part, it seems to be built to ADA standards. Here is a video we shot while we were out exploring the area.


There are several areas to park along the boardwalk. If you search for “Elfin Forest Los Osos” you will find the area connects to the end of the 11th to 17th streets. Most of those allow for limited parking. Just be sure to stay off of private property. For the most part, it was well marked and we had no problem finding a place to park.

The Trees

There is a pretty big variety of trees and plant life along the boardwalk. Some of the trees are really interesting. There is a species of oaks that grow out of the ground looking like the rest of the tree is buried. It feels like you are standing up in a tree house. But you are actually on ground level. This has become a somewhat local favorite for wedding photos.

Go Check Out the Elfin Forest

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, CA near Morro Bay

The Elfin Forest is worth a stop if you are passing through the area. If you are in a hurry, it can take only 20 minutes to walk the boardwalk. Or stay longer and take in the sights and sound of over 120 species of birds and 90 species of plant life. It really is another one of those hidden gems that seems to get passed by. So go check it out!


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