Information and Historical Background
Pecho Coast Trail History
This pristine area is situated north of the Point San Luis Lighthouse and west of the Irish Hills on California’s Central Coast.
The Pecho Coast Trail has been open for docent-guided hikes since 1993. Before that time, the secluded beaches, rugged cliffs and broad coastal terraces of the Pecho Coast had been privately owned and inaccessible to the public since the Spanish Mission Period and had once been known as Rancho San Miguelito and Rancho Cañada de Los Osos y Pecho y Islay.
The wooded canyons, fertile headlands, lush shoreline and tide pools have provided dependable human sustenance for at least 9000 years. When the Spanish began exploring and settling along the Central Coast, the Chumash Native Peoples inhabited the area. Their rich and varied culture, reflecting the abundance of the land, was displaced as the Spanish introduced land ownership and ranching.
The development of Port San Luis and its important shipping industry coincided with the increasing settlement of the area during the nineteenth century. The Point San Luis Lighthouse and breakwater were constructed in 1890 to maintain a safe port. These structures and many other sites of historic interest are visible from the Pecho Coast Trail.
For additional information about the Lighthouse, please visit the Port San Luis Lighthouse Keepers’ website Point San Luis Lighthouse or call toll free (855) 533-7843.
Point Buchon Today
Point Buchon has been designated as a “Marine Protected Area” (MPA’s). California is the first state in the nation to establish a system of MPAs – similar to national parks and forests on land – to protect and restore ocean habitats and increase the health, productivity, and resilience of ocean ecosystems.
Explore the California Marine Protected Areas website to learn more about the benefits of marine protected areas (select “Central Coast” from the California MPA’s list).
Point Buchon Trail History
Once known as Rancho San Miguelito and Rancho Cañada de Los Osos y Pecho y Islay, this pristine area is situated just south of Coon Creek (Montana de Oro State Park) and west of the Irish Hills on California's Central Coast. This scenic coastal trail has been open to the public since 2007.
The Point Buchon trail has over 9,000 years of Native American history. The magnificent headland known as Point Buchon (which means “goiter” in Spanish) was named by the Spaniards after a well-respected Chumash Chief who had a an immense goiter. This prominent headland and thus the trail were named in his honor.
This land has been put to agricultural uses from the beginning of human occupation; crops were primarily grown on the coastal terrace, while livestock grazed in the hills further inland. During the 1920s and 1930s, much of the coastal terrace was leased to Japanese farmers. The Japanese continued to farm the land until 1942, when they were involuntarily relocated to internment camps established during World War II.
In 1942 Oliver C. Field acquired the Spooner Ranch, which included the lands from California’s Montana de Oro State Park, south to the present-day boundaries of Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Also in the 1940s, he constructed a small dam and pump house along Coon Creek, from which irrigation water was piped to agricultural fields downstream. These structures and many other sites of historic interest are visible today from the Point Buchon Trail. Eventually, Field gave up farming because of difficulties in tapping enough water to irrigate his crops. While this coastal terrace is no longer farmed, rotational grazing is currently being practiced with the use of cows, sheep and goats.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company purchased the property in 1986 and opened the Point Buchon trail for everyone to enjoy. In order to preserve and maintain the diversity of the land’s unique resources for generations to come, access to the trail is limited. Hikers can observe animals such as bobcats, coyotes and badgers as a result of PG&E’s predator friendly ranch practices at the site. Wildflowers flourish in the springtime, a benefit of PG&E's rotational grazing practices.