The top eight hikes in SLO County
San Luis Obispo county is a wonderful place to visit and live, with lots adventures to discover and beautiful sights to see. If you plan on uncorking some delicious local wines with Uncorked Wine Tours, also think about getting in a hike! Planning a trip to the area with the wine tours in Paso Robles might inspire the urge to visit more of the hills, trails and countryside. To get an idea of some favorite hiking trails the county has to offer, check out our list of the top 8 hiking spots in SLO County.
Three Bridges Oak Preserve—Atascadero
With an elevation of 900 feet, and distance of 3-5 miles, this beautiful hike into nature is sure to be scenic. The incredible blue oak grove, wildflowers, rock formations, streams and panoramic views are perfect for any hiker, and the trail is dog friendly too! To find the trail, heading out of Atascadero towards Morro Bay, there are a series of three bridges. The trail is located just after the second bridge. There is a large blue sign that reads “Three Bridges Oak Preserve”.
Salinas River Walk—Paso Robles
With a top elevation of only 40 feet, and distance of 2 miles, this route takes you along a historic trail. Numerous storyboards and paved portions make the trail easily wheelchair accessible, and dog friendly. The educational aspect of the hike adds an extra bonus for any visitor or local who wish to learn more. With several entrances to the trail, the walk can be entered at Larry Moore Park, behind the Woodland shopping center, and along Navajo avenue at the end of the cul-de-sac.
The Cal Poly Architecture Graveyard
This unique park has 100 feet of elevation and distance of 2.75 miles. This hike up grassy hills and trails to see architecture made by decades of students at the college is an unforgettable and interesting hike. The unique and otherworldly structures have many influences ranging from Dr. Seuss, to a geodesic dome, and environmentally friendly designs. This hike is dog friendly and for a hike without paying parking permits, it is best to visit on the weekends. A stone arch welcomes hikers to the beginning at the trail, located near Brizziolari creek on Poly Canyon Road.
Bishop’s Peak—San Luis Obispo
Get to the location from Foothill Road or the top of Highland Drive. With a summit of 1,559 feet and distance of 3.5 miles round trip, this hike is the tallest of the Nine Sisters volcanic peaks. This hike is the most popular in the area, providing a great workout, with rocky areas, forested areas, and a crown of boulders to climb up to the very top of the mountain. The hike is moderately strenuous, but very rewarding when you see the view of San Luis Obispo from any point on the mountain. To reach the very top of the mountain you must have skill in technical climbing, so be aware.
Madonna Mountain (Cerro San Luis)—San Luis Obispo
Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, this is a wonderful hike with many entrances and trails to discover. The elevation is up to 1100 feet, and the trail is around four miles long, depending on which trail you take. Hikers, dogs and mountain bikes are regularly passed on the trails, and the closeness to downtown makes it a popular spot to hike. The views of San Luis Obispo cannot be beat! A white platform is used for religious services during different times of the year is at the top of the peak. Moderately strenuous, remember your snacks and water.
Cerro Alto—Morro Bay
Located off of route 41, the two trails to the summit start in a parking area of the Cerro Alto campground. The elevation is 1,600 ft of change, and distance of 5.3 miles makes this hike one of the tallest peaks in the area. Views of the Los Padres National Forest, ferns, and oak trees along the bottom of the trail make this hike a worthy investment of energy. Mountains, and coastline are all visible from the top. A fee of $10 to park at the trailhead is required.
Sycamore Crest—Avila Beach
This is a large wide dirt trail located on the north slope of Ontario Hill. With an elevation of 575 feet, and distance of 1.75 miles, this trail begins at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Valley, climbing through lush oak forest to beautiful ocean views. The scenery is full of green undergrowth and ferns, mossy trees and generous shade from the canopy. Excellent views of Avila Beach from the top and turquoise blue water make this hike highly rewarding. Dogs are welcome on this trail and no fees make it even better!
Black Hill—Morro Bay
This trail has an elevation change of 119 feet and distance of under one mile makes this one of the easiest hikes around. Hikers, dogs and bikes are welcome on this dirt path, up the sage covered slopes and Monterey pine shaded trail. The boulder-covered summit of Black Hill is the perfect place to check out the coastline, and Morro Bay. Overlooking the estuary and Los Osos, be sure to bring your binoculars and spot a few of our local bird friends!
For more information on the other wonderful places to hike in our county, please visit www.hikespeak.com.