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Sierra Club San Luis Obispo

One Earth, One Chance
Morro Rock, Home of the Peregrine Falcon

Trails of 
San Luis Obispo 

Bishop Peak Work Party
Felsman Loop
Bishop Peak
Black Hill
Cerro Alto
Coon Creek
East Cuesta Ridge
Jim Green
Poly "P"
Valencia Peak
Who to Contact
    Adobe (Santa Maria)
    Distance: 6 Miles (One Way)

    Located just east of Santa Maria on Highway 166, this trail explores the beautiful grass covered and oak ridden hill north of the Sierra Madre Range. You can hike a short two miles for some good views and lunch, or continue to the hill top for more views of Mount Abel and Mount Pinos. If you wish to explore Logan Ridge a shuttle trip can be made from Highway 166 to a corral hidden behind Rock Front Ranch.

    Directions to Trailhead - Take Highway 101 to Highway 166 just north of Santa Maria. Take this exit and turn East towards Bakersfield. Drive 22 miles to the trailhead on the left side of the road. Pass through the unlocked gate and park your car. The trail is directly behind the green gate. If you reach Rock Front Ranch, you have gone too far.

    Vitual Tour of the Adobe Trail

    Bishop Peak Trail System (San Luis Obispo)

    Constructed by the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, this is a wonderful neighborhood access trail which leads from Patricia Drive to the cattle pond above Highland Drive. It offers great views of Bishop Peak and there are rocks nearby for bouldering. A newly acquired 110 acres enlarges the Bishop Peak Reserve to more than 350 acres. The Sierra Club is currently working to expand the trail system to create a loop trail which explores the lower section of the reserve.

    Felsman Loop
    Distance: 2.7 Miles (Round Trip)

    The Felsman Loop Trail is accessed by starting at the Patricia Drive trailhead. Walk up the road to the first Bishop Peak trail sign. Stay right and walk up the road around an behind the white water tank. Here a new trail has been constructed which leads to the newly acquired Bunnell Ranch. Go through the pedestrian gate. Turn right and walk down the farm road to the trail on the left. Follow this trail up the hill and cross two farm roads. The trail now extends directly across the second road and heads deep into a wonderful chaparral canyon to a third farm road. Turn left onto the farm road.  Take this road back to the base of Bishop Peak, passing the Garden rock along the way. Go through the pedestrian gate. Descend the trail to the cattle pond. Finally, take the Patricia Drive. Trail back to the trailhead on Patricia Drive. There will be two shorter loops available one by using the Falcon Ridge, the second a trail Shady Grove.

    Bishop Peak
    Distance: 2.2 Miles to Summit (One Way)

    View from Bishop Peak Trail

    The Bishop Peak Trail, 2.2 miles to the summit (one way) from the Patricia Drive trailhead, is now complete to the top. In a joint effort by government agencies and volunteers, this trail was constructed by the Sierra Club, California Conservation Corps (CCC), and California Department of Forestry (CDF).

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo head west toward Los Osos on Foothill Blvd. Turn Right on Patricia Drive. Head straight until you reach the stop sign at Highland Drive. Continue straight for 1/4 mile. On the left you will see three black post blocking an open driveway, and a sign "TRAIL" marking the entrance. As a courtesy to neighbors, please park on the Bishop Peak side (west) of Patricia Drive away from homes.

    Black Hill
    Distance: .5 Miles (Round Trip)

    Black Hill is probably the shortest trail around. This 1/4 mile long trail offers spectacular views of Morro Bay, the Chorro Valley and the Estuary. A longer trail (1.5 miles) starts at the Morro Bay State Park entrance. In spring the hiker is treated to a great variety of wildflowers.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo Drive north on Highway 1 to the South Bay Blvd. Exit. Get off here and turn left at the Stop. Drive 1/2 mile to twin bridges then turn right onto State Park Road. At the Y veer right and start the climb up Black Hill. The next part is tricky. Watch for an exit to the right which leads to the Black Hill parking lot. If you reach the club house turn around then follow the signs to Black Hill.

    Cerro Alto
    Distance: 2.5 Miles (One Way)

    Cerro Alto, 2.600', is one of the highest mountains in our local area located on West Cuesta Ridge. The area offers a wide variety of hiking, from a four-mile, 1,600 elevation gain, round trip hike ot the top of Cerro Alto, the two-mile Margie Cooper Loop, as well as a seven-mile hike to the top of Cerro Alto that returns via the front of the campground. The vegetation varies from lush vegetation to dry chaparral, with a year round stream. The diversity of the area makes it a great study area as well.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo Drive North on Highway 1 to Morro Bay. Exit on Highway 41 east to Atascadero. Drive 8 miles to the Cerro Alto Campground. Turn right and drive to the Day Use Area at the end of the road. Be sure to park in the dirt parking lot. A $5.00 Adventure Pass is required to park at this trailhead. For more information about the fee call the U.S. Forest Service at 925-9538.

    Coon Creek
    Distance: 5 Miles (Round Trip)

    Located in the heart of Montana De Oro State Park, This trails is great trail for beginners. With only about 300 foot of elevation, this 5 mile trail offers lush vegetation, a year round stream, a beautiful stop for lunch under a large grove of Cypress Trees. In the spring, there are many flowers to enjoy including the giant Trillium, False Solomon Seal, Nightshades, and much more.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo take Los Osos Valley Road to to Los Osos. continue past Monarch Elementary School, then drive another 6 miles to the end of Pecho Road. Park in the Parking lot at the roads end.

    Eagle Rock (El  Chorro Regional Park)
    Distance: 2.2 Miles (Round Trip)

    Eagle Rock Trail is a gem for San Luis Obispo County. This 2.2 mile trail is not used by a lot of people but gives the feeling of being alone in the wilderness. The Sierra Club has created a Nature Trail Brochure which describes flora, fauna, history and geology of the local area. There are great views of the Morros, Indian Mortar Holes, Pack Rat Nests, and beautiful oak woodlands along the trail. This is a easy hike with a well maintained trail for your enjoyment.
    Directions to Trailhead:  From San Luis Obispo Drive 6 miles north on Highway 1 to El Chorro Regional Park. Turn right and drive past the baseball fields to the end of the Day Use Area. Park your car and go through the pedestrian gate. Walk about 100 yards to the start of the Trail. If you would like a brochure they are located at the information display next to the pedestrian gate.
    East Cuesta Ridge
    Distance: 4.6 Miles (One Way)
    East Cuesta ridge is a very scenic hike which offers great views of San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Mussel Rock an the surrounding area. The trail is a dirt road behind a locked gate. Starting at the top of Cuesta Grade you can walk 4.6 miles along the road to the radio towers high on the hill tops. This is a great training hike and for those who hate poison oak you'll have no problems. It is open for hikers and mountain cyclists.
    Directions to Trailhead: Drive north on Highway 101 from San Luis Obispo to the top of Cuesta Grade. Just as you reach the top slow down and watch for a pull out on the right-hand side of the road. Pull over and continue up the narrow paved drive and park in the dirt parking area. DO NOT BLOCK THE GATE.
    Fernandez (Pozo Area)
    Distance: 6 Miles (One Way)

    The Fernandez  Trail is located below Black Mountain in the La Panza Range of the Los Padres National Forest. This area was burned in the Highway 58 fire, but is recovering nicely. The trail was formally adopted by the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCMB) in 1997. At the dedication 110 trail volunteers rebuilt  the entire 6 mile trail.

    This trail descends gently from Black Mountain Road, and offers a wide variety of vegetation from Gray Pines, manzanita, scrub oaks and a running spring for most of the year. Wildflowers are abundant here starting in late January with fields of Shooting Stars, Peonies and much more.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo drive north on Highway 101 Santa Margarita. Drive 1.7 miles east on Highway 58 exit. Bear right onto Pozo Road. Go 15 miles to Pozo. One mile past Pozo, Pozo Road turns right. Do not turn here, but continue straight for 3 miles. Turn right at the sign indicating Turkey Flats. Continue driving on this single lane winding road until you reach a junction near the summit. Follow the left-most paved road another 2.3 miles to the trailhead. There is parking for about 6 cars. The sign for the trail is hard to see, so keep your eyes posted. A $5.00 Adventure Pass is required to park at this trailhead.

    Jim Green (Atascadero)
    Distance: 2 Miles

    The Jim Green trail is a wonderful trail located just north of Heilmann Regional Park. This two mile loop trail is great for a family hike or evening stroll. The trail winds through beautiful oaks, with a good display of wildflowers in spring. At the halfway point a park bench is situated above the golf course. Here you will see the dear wandering the course in early evening.

    Directions to Trailhead: To get there exit from Highway 101 at the Curbarill exit, then turn east towards the railroad tracks. Cross El Camino Real and drive 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile to Cortez Ave. Turn right, drive to the end of Cortez Ave. and park in the dirt parking lot. The trail starts on the south side of the parking lot next to the railroad tracks.

    Poly Canyon Loop via Poly "P"
    Distance: 2 - 3 Miles

    At the top of the parking lot walk up the newly constructed Upper Reservoir Road to the buried reservoir, service area. Directly behind the reservoir is the trail which leads to the base of the "P". Once on top of the ridge, go north towards poly canyon about 1/4 mile, this is usually the second right-hand fork. Take the right fork and start your decent into Poly Canyon. After of 1 mile of hiking downhill, you will reach the wooden bridge crossing the creek. Turn left and follow the road back to the entrance of Poly Canyon.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo take Grand Ave. onto campus to the entrance of Poly Canyon. Park here, then walk up the road that travels behind the dorms to the highest point on the parking lot. The "P" will be straight above you.

    Valencia Peak
    Distance: 2 miles (One Way)

    Located across from Spooner's Cove in Montana de Oro State Park, this trail offers spectacular views of the Central Coast. On a clear day you can see north to Rocky Butte, Hollister Peak, Morro Rock and the Estuary. It is a great trail to learn about geology of the local area as well. This 4 mile round trip hike can be rugged at times, but is well worth the effort.

    Directions to Trailhead: From San Luis Obispo take Los Osos Valley Road to to Los Osos. Continue past Monarch Elementary School, then drive another 5 miles to Park Headquarters( The Old Ranch House). The trailed is about 100 yards south of the Visitor Center.

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Who to Contact
Los Padres National Forest Monterey County
    U.S. Forest Service
    Monterey Ranger District
    406 S. Mildred Avenue
    King City, CA 93930

    Los Padres National Forest San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties

    U.S. Forest Service
    Santa Lucia Ranger District
    1515 Carlotti Drive
    Santa Maria, CA 93454

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[Sierra Club]
Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 15755
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.
Telephone 1-805-543-8717.
Sierra Club National Office
85 Second St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441, USA.
Telephone 1-415-977-5500 (voice), 1-415-977-5799 (FAX).
Last updated 1 July 2001.
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Explore, Enjoy and Protect - Santa Lucia Chapter hike in Machesna Wilderness
Machesna Wilderness hike
April 2002
Photo by Gary Felsman