San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

San Luis Obispo has some great hiking trails with panaramic views of the city and views from some trails all the way to the ocean.

El Chorro Park Trail

Distance-3 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-horses-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo take Highway 1 west towards Morro Bay and turn right at Dairy Creek Rd. into El Chorro Regional Park (across from Cuesta College) and go to the Dairy Creek parking lot with the trailhead by the locked gate.

El chorro Regional park is on more than 700 acres by the Santa Lucia Range. The trail follows Dairy Creek up a valley and through rolling hills to an overlook.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Felsman Loop Trail

Distance-3.2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

Trailhead Location-Turn onto Patricia Dr. off of Foothill Blvd. and go 0.7 miles (almost to the end ) to the trail on the left.

Part of the 352 acre Bishop Peak Natural Reserve this trail has scenic views of the city, Cuesta Ridge, Santa Lucia mountains and more.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Bishop Peak Trail

Distance-4.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-Turn onto Patricia Dr. off of Foothill Blvd. and go 0.3 miles-turn left onto Highland Dr  for 0.6 miles-continue onto Brittany Circle and go to the end of the road to the trailhead.

Bishop Peak is the 7th of 9 extinct volcanos (called morros) that go from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo, panoramic views from the top of the trail.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Eagle Rock Nature Trail

Distance-2.5 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-horses-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Foothill Blvd.in San Luis Obispo take Highway 1 north towards Morro Bay for 4.9 miles- turn right onto Dairy Creek Rd.into El Chorro Regional Park (across from Cuesta College) for 0.9 miles and go to the Dairy Creek parking lot with the trailhead by the locked gate.

Start on the Eagle Rock Nature Trail and return on the Oaks Woodlands Trail for a loop back to Dairy Creek Rd. El Chorro Regional Park has several scenic hiking trails. This trail has panaramic views of Chorro valley and the surrounding area.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Stenner Creek Canyon Trail

Distance-4 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-  From From Foothill Blvd. in San Luis Obispo head north on Highway 1 (towards Morro Bay)-turn right onto Stenner Creek Road for 2.3 miles to the gate at the end of the road - trailhead parking which will be on the left, just in front of the gate

To start the hike go through the gate and follow the road for 1/4 of a mile to the end of the road, go right over a bridge to another gate, go through the gate and follow the old ranch road left up through the eucalyptus trees. When you reach the Poly Canyon trail turn turn back for a 4 mile round trip hike or continue on the Poly Canyon trail to Cal Poly Campus for another 3 miles.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Poly Canyon Trail

Distance-5.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-Weekdays take the Grand Ave Cal Poly exit from Highway 101 turn left and drive to the Cal Poly entrance station and buy a parking pass, (on weekends continue ahead, no parking pass needed) . To get to the trail walk up Village Rd. to Poly Canyon Rd. and begin the hike where the gate is at the bottom of a dirt road. 

Walk a short distance to Village Drive to Poly Canyon Road on the left and follow the unpaved road to start your hike.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Yucca Ridge Trail

Distance-3 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-Weekdays take the Grand Ave Cal Poly exit from Highway 101 turn left and drive to the Cal Poly entrance station and buy a parking pass, (on weekends continue ahead, no parking pass needed) and drive 0.4 miles to Perimeter Road- turn right and drive 0.2 miles to Village Rd. and turn left into the H-4 parking lot on the right and park.

To get to the trail walk up Village Rd. to Poly Canyon Rd. and begin the hike where the gate is at the bottom of a dirt road. Walk up Village Rd. to Poly Canyon Rd. and begin the hike where the gate is at the bottom of the dirt road and hike to a wooden bridge (Baltimore Bridge) that is just before the stone arch going to Poly Design Village and cross the bridge, taking the East Canyon Trail to the Yucca Ridge Trail. The trail goes up to a ridge called Yucca Viewpoint just above the Cal Poly "P" and has spanning views of San Luis Obispo and Morro Rock. Return back on the same trail.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Lemon Grove Loop

Distance-2.2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-11183 Fernandez Lane-from South St. in San Luis Obispo head north on Higuera Street for 0.4 miles-turn left onto Marsh Street and keep left to stay on Marsh St. following signs for Highway 101 for 0.2 miles passing beneath the 101 Freeway- turn right on Fernandez Lane (the only road on the right before Marsh Street turns onto Highway 101 South). Turn right into the dirt parking area, and park.

Part of the Cerro San Luis Obispo Natural Reserve that is 118 acres, the trail was named after a 100 year old abandoned lemon grove.

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Poly Canyon Design Village Trail

Distance-3 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

 Trailhead Location-Weekdays take the Grand Ave Cal Poly exit from Highway 101 turn left and drive to the Cal Poly entrance station and buy a parking pass, (on weekends continue ahead, no parking pass needed) and drive 0.4 miles to Perimeter Road- turn right and drive 0.2 miles to Village Rd. and turn left into the H-4 parking lot on the right and park. To get to the trail walk up Village Rd. to Poly Canyon Rd. and begin the hike where the gate is at the bottom of a dirt road and go through the stone arch after 1 mile.

Walk up Village Rd. to Poly Canyon Rd. and begin the hike where the gate is at the bottom of the dirt road and hike to a wooden bridge (Baltimore Bridge) that is just before the stone arch going to Poly Design Village and cross the bridge, taking the East Canyon Trail to the Yucca Ridge Trail. The trail goes up to a ridge called Yucca Viewpoint just above the Cal Poly "P" and has spanning views of San Luis Obispo and Morro Rock. Return back on the same trail.

 

 

 

Cerro San Luis Obispo Natural Reserve Trail

Distance-3 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-11183 Fernandez Lane-from South St. in San Luis Obispo head north on Higuera Street for 0.4 miles-turn left onto Marsh Street and keep left to stay on Marsh St. following signs for Highway 101 for 0.2 miles passing beneath the 101 Freeway- turn right on Fernandez Lane (the only road on the right before Marsh Street turns onto Highway 101 South). Turn right into the dirt parking area, and park. Start out on Lemon Grove Trail and take the Cerro Trail to the left at the junction

Cerro San Luis Obispo is the 8th volcanic peak of 9 in the area. It has the large letter "M" on it (for Mission School) and has panoramic views.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Laguna Lake Trail

Distance-1.5 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location- from Los Osos Valley Rd. in San Luis Obispo head north on Madonna Rd. for 0.7 miles-turn left onto Dalidio Dr. for 0.3 miles going into Laguna Lake Park and continue to the parking area by the trailhead.

Laguna Lake Park has a 25 acre lake and is part of a 450 acre nature reserve. This easy trail has scenic views of the hills, lake and some of the morros.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Irish Hills Trail

Distance-4 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-from Madonna Dr. in San Luis Obispo head north on Los Osos Valley Road for 0.6 miles-turn right onto Prefumo Road for 0.3 miles- turn left onto Isabella Rd. for 0.4 miles to the end of the road and the trailhead.

Take the Mariposa Trail up into the Irish hills. The Irish Hills Natural reserve has over 1,000 acres with several trails winding through it from San Luis Obispo to the coast in Montana De Oro Park. There are several trailheads into the Irish Hills. Return back on the same trail.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Froom Canyon Loop

Distance-4 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Los Osos Valley Rd. in San Luis Obispo head west on Madonna Rd for 0.3 miles to where it dead ends into DeVaul Ranch Drive at a roundabout, the trail is just left of the intersection with a metal gate across it.

Take Mariposa Trail to Poppy Trail to Froom Creek Trail that loops back to Mariposa Trail for a loop back to the trailhead. Froom Canyon  Loop Trail is part of the 1,000 acre Irish Hills natural Reserve with picturesque views of hills and mountains.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Johnson Ranch Trail

Distance-3.5 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location- Going South on Highway 101 from San Luis Obispo exit at Higuera and immediately turn right on Ontario Rd. parking on the right.

Johnson Ranch was a dairy and cattle ranch but the city bought the land in 2001 and in 2009 opened a network of trails on 242 acres of rolling hills, creeks and forests.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

South Hills Trail

Distance-1. mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Higuera and South St. go east on South St. for 0.3 miles to Exposition Dr. and turn right and go 0.2 miles to just past Corrida Dr. to the trailhead on the right where Exposition Dr. changes to Woodbridge St. and park on the street.

The trail is on a 131 acre open space that is a treasure. Views of the city, Santa Lucia Mountains and two volcanic peaks.

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Stoneridge Trail

Distance-2.2 loop

Hiking difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From South St. turn right onto Broad St. and drive 0.5 miles-turn right onto Stoneridge Dr. for 0.1 miles- turn left onto Rockview Pl.- turn right on Bluerock Dr. to the trailhead at Stoneridge Trail.

Take the Stoneridge Trail out and Ridge Rd. back for a loop. The trail is part of the 131 acre South Hills Open space with beautiful views.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Bishop Foothill Trail

Distance-3.5 miles

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Los Osos Valley Road turn ont West Foothill Blvd and go 1.7 miles to the trailhead on the left.

Bishop Peak is the tallest of the Nine Sisters, scenic volcanic morros in San Luis Obispo with 360 degree views from the summit of the city and surrounding peaks. Bishop peak is named this because it resembles a bishop's hat.

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Railroad Recreation Trail

Distance-2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-2 miles

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Marsh St. drive southeast on Santa Rosa St. for 0.5 miles, Santa Rosa curves slightly right and becomes Railroad Ave. and drive to the end of the street by the railroad station and the Osos-Jennifer Bridge Park and park in the lot.

Start the hike by climbing the stairs at the Osos-Jennifer bridge going over the railroad tracks.The trail is a paved path that follows the Union Pacific Railroad tracks from Osos St. to Orcutt Rd going by Sinsheimer Park, a park with rolling hills, streams and footbridges.

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Terrace Hill Trail

Distance-.8 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Johnson Ave. go southeast on Bishop St. 0.2 miles to Augusta Court and park. (no parking is allowed on Bishop St. west of Augusta Court).The trail is just past Augusta Court on Bishop St.on the right.

The trail is part of the Terrace Hill Open Space,  small open space preserved by the city with views from the top of the morro that was bulldozed in the 1920's creating a flat grassy area at the top, perfect for 360 degree views.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Islay Hill Trail

Distance-2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Broad St. and Tank Farm Rd. go 0.8 miles east on Tank Farm Rd.-turn right onto Wavertree St. for 0.4 miles- turn left onto Spanish Oaks Dr.- turn left onto Sweetbay Lane and drive to the end of the street and to the trailhead.

Islay Hill is the 9th volcanic peak and is preserved as open space. Scenic views from the summit top.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

High School Hill Trail

Distance-5 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-Turn off of Johnson St. on to Lizzie St. and go for 1/4 of a mile to the trailhead.

A 360 degree view from the top of this trail that is a preserved open space with views all the to the ocean.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Reservoir Canyon Trail

Distance-2.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-Drive north on Highway 101 go 1.1 miles from Monterey St.-turn right off of Highway 101 onto Reservoir Rd. for 0.4 miles to the parking area near the end of the road. When you are leaving (if you are going back to San Luis Obispo) turn right on Highway 101 because it is too dangerous to try to turn left and go to Stage Coach Rd. at the top of Cuesta grade to turn around.

The trail is part of a 487 acre natural reserve. Close to town but it feels like you are in the country this hike starts at the 50 foot Reservoir Creek falls and follows the creek through wooded forest areas with small waterfalls and pools along the way.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Reservoir Canyon Trail to the Summit

Distance-5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-Drive north on Highway 101 going 1.1 miles from Monterey St.-turn right off of Highway 101 onto Reservoir Rd. for 0.4 miles to the parking area near the end of the road.

When leaving turn right on Highway 101 (too dangerous to go left) and go to the turn for Stagecoach Rd. to turn around if you are going back to San Luis Obispo.

The trail is part of the Reservoir Canyon Natural Reserve and at the summit it has picturesque 360 views of the surrounding area.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Old Stage Coach Road Trail to Cuesta Pass

Distance-5.6 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location -  From San Luis Obispo drive north on Highway 101 for 2.7 miles from Monterey Rd.-turn left onto Old Stagecoach Road and go 0.2 miles to the cement slab on the right.

Hike north on the unpaved road. This historic road had been called the Old Padre Trail in the 1700's and was the main route from San luis Obispo to the north. Stagecoach Rd. goes through a lush canyon along the San Luis Osbispo Creek to the Cuesta Grade summit. The road ends at West Cuesta Ridge road-return back along the same route.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Roller Coasters Trail

Distance-5.4 miles round trip

Hiking difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo drive north about 5 miles from Monterey St. on Highway 101 and turn left on Stagecoach Road pullout. (just before reaching the top of the Cuesta Grade, there is no sign) Start the hike on the Cuesta Ridge Road to Shooters Road - coming to a 3 way road split, take the middle road to Roller Coasters Trail.

Roller Coasters Trail lives up to its name with lots of ups and downs. The trail is rarely steep but is a good workout. 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

West Cuesta Ridge Road Trail

Distance-7 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo go north on Highway 101 4.9 miles from  Monterey St.,  the last exit in San Luis Obispo to Stage Coach Rd. and turn left  (just before reaching the top of the Cuesta Grade, there is no sign) and park in the wide pullout at the top of Stagecoach Rd.

To the left is Old Stagecoach Rd. and to the right is the paved road that is the Cuesta Ridge Rd. The West Coast Ridge Rd. trail also called TV Tower Road is open to vehicles too but is mainly a hiking trail going to the 1334 acre Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area in the Los Padres National forest. It is the only place in the world Sargent Cypress grow. Incredible views of surrounding areas. When you reach the Cuesta ridge Botanical Area return back on the same route.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Morning Glory Trail

Distance-7.7 miles round trip

Hiking difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location- From San Luis Obispo go north on Highway 101 4.9 miles from Monterey St., the last exit in San Luis Obispo to Stage Coach Rd.and turn left (just before reaching the top of the Cuesta Grade, there is no sign) and park in the wide pullout at the top of Stagecoach Rd.

Start the hike on the Cuesta Ridge Road (the paved road to the right) going to Morning Glory Trail at the ridge, an old jeep trail to where it connects to Shooters Road, take Shooters Road winding back to West Cuesta Ridge Road completing a loop.The trail is an old overgrown jeep trail that is now just a hiking trail. Morning Glory Trail connects West Cuesta Ridge trail with Shooters Road the old jeep road.

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San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

 

Mount Lowe Trail

Distance-14 miles round trip

Hiking difficulty-moderate to strenuous

dogs-bikes-allowed

Trailhead Location-From San Luis Obispo go north on Highway 101 for 5.1 miles from Monterey St., the last exit in San Luis Obispo and turn right (just before reaching the top of the Cuesta Grade and just past the sign that says Cuesta Grade 1522 feet) and park in the wide pullout.

Mount Lowe Trail, also called East Cuesta Ridge trail starts at the top of the Cuesta grade where the vehicle gate is. Fantastic views all the way to the ocean. At 7 miles the road ends at private property, return back along the same route.

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Sterling Trail

Distance-2.4 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Los Osos Valley Rd. head west on Royal Way for 0.6 miles-turn left onto Sterling Lane to the trailhead

Start the hike on Sterling Trail to Mariposa Trail connecting to King Trail that connects back to Mariposa Trail which then connects back to Sterling Trail going back to the trailhead to complete the loop. Sterling Trail is part of the 1,000 acre Irish Hills Natural Reserve. 

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails

Blog Thistle Trail

Distance-2. mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-From Los Osos Valley Rd. head west onto Prefumo Canyon Rd. for 0.9 miles to parking and the trailhead.

Start the hike on Bog Thistle Trail to Mariposa Trail then take Mine Trail that connects back to Mariposa Trail taking you back the trailhead. Bog Thistle Trail is part of the 1,000 acre Irish Hills Nature Reserve with scenic views of the hills and mountains.

 

San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails