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Some of San Luis Obispo county's most spectacular places can only be reached on foot, and locals regard hiking as the best way to see the county's secret treasures. There are hikes inside the city of San Luis Obispo that grant you stunning views over the city, while other hikes explore the wilderness of inland canyons, ridges and mountains as well as the coastline. Below is a list of some local favorites.
Bishop Peak 2 miles. Moderately steep hill. Incredible views of Cal Poly and all of downtown San Luis Obispo. Switchbacks. Dog-friendly with leash. No mountain bikes allowed. Rock climbing accessible from the Highland trailhead.
Directions: Just before leaving San Luis Obispo, take a left on Highland Drive. Follow Highland to Patricia Drive. Turn right on Patricia and continue 4/10 of a mile to the trailhead.
Laguna Lake Park 1-3 miles. Easy walks around a large park with open space. Surrounds a lake with nice views of Cerro San Luis. Dog-friendly with leash.
Directions: From the 101, take Madonna Road towards Los Osos Valley Road. Turn right on Dalidio, across from the Madonna Plaza Shopping Center. Park in designated areas and you’ll see the trails.
Montano De Oro State Park Trails for all kinds of enthusiasts, including hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders. Easy to moderate trails. Sand dunes. Eucalyptus groves. Secluded stretches of beach. Tall coastal peaks. Bluffs overlooking the beach and wildflowers in Spring.
Directions: From San Luis Obispo, take Los Osos Valley Road towards Los Osos. The road goes through Los Osos and directly into Montano De Oro. Inside the park, explore trails on your own or drive until you get to the Ranger station for help picking a trail.
Irish Hills Several miles of trails overlooking Los Osos Valley, Cerro San Luis and Bishop Peak. Moderately difficult. Mountain bikers allowed. Dog-friendly with leash.
Directions: From Madonna Road, go left on Los Osos Valley Road and right on De Vaul Ranch road. Alternatively, from Madonna, go right on Los Osos Valley Road and left on Perfumo Canyon. Trailhead is on the left.
Cerro San Luis Moderately strenuous trail for hikers and mountain bikers. Views of downtown San Luis Obispo, Irish Hills, Edna Valley and more. Dog-friendly with leash.
Directions: Take Higuera Street towards Marsh Street. Turn right towards the 101S onramp. Before the onramp, turn right on Fernandez Road and park in the dirt pullout.
Lopez Lake A variety of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. Trails range from easy strolls to strenuous climbs. Oak trees. Fishing and camping. Dog-friendly with leash.
Directions: Take Orcutt Road through Edna Valley for about 10 miles, passing several vineyards. Orcutt dead-ends at Lopez Drive. Turn left on Lopez Drive and follow the road to the lake entrance. Ask the Ranger for a trail map.
For a comprehensive list of hikes in San Luis Obispo county please visit www.visitslo.com