The 5 Best Hiking Trails in SLO

It is well into the school year and by now most of you have already gone to the beach to try and soak up the last bit of summer sun and hiked beautiful Bishops Peak, on the recommendation of everyone here. What else can you do to take advantage of the great outdoors in gorgeous San Luis Obispo? Here is a list of some of the best hikes in SLO. You can go in between classes or make it a day trip with some friends!

1. Bob Jones Trail

This trail is great for when you want to have a leisurely stroll but still want to enjoy the outdoors. Located in Avila, the trail ends right at the beach, which is a great endpoint for spending the day with friends! It runs alongside a creek where you can see all kinds of wildlife that live in it or on its shores. If you’re hungry, there’s a great deli along the way called Woodstone Marketplace that has great sandwiches. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, downtown Avila always has great restaurants!

2. Irish Hills Trail

Located around Madonna, the Irish Hills Trail is perfect for a more rigorous hike. There are beautiful views of SLO as you make your way up the hills and weave among trees.

3. Reservoir Canyon

Only five minutes away from Cal Poly, this trail is a fun one to go on with your friends! At the beginning, the trail greets a beautiful waterfall with a small little pond. When the creek has dried up, the waterfall disappears and leaves an awesome cave open for exploring. This is no shallow cave either; as it goes deep into the hillside it makes an eerie atmosphere among the damp cave walls. The trail itself is picturesque among the trees and is especially beautiful in the fall with the changing leaves.

4. Black Hill Trail

Perfect for anyone who has tried Bishops but would like to go on a bit of an easier hike, this trail winds up Black Hill in Morro Bay. Along the way, beautiful Monterey Cypress’ line the trail.

Once you get to the top there is a beautiful view of not only Morro Bay, but also the estuary and some of the peaks that make up the Nine Sisters.

5. Montaña de Oro


Last but not least is Montaña de Oro with its beautiful views of the oceans and eucalyptus groves. If you want to go on the more well­known trails, there is Bluff Trail which winds along the edge of the cliffs right to the ocean below. If you are in the mood for adventuring, pick one of the many trailheads on the side of the road found among the Eucalyptus trees. The smell is amazing, and once you break free from the forest, there are so many marvelous views of the ocean free from the tourists that flock to the national park. Along with beautiful hiking, there’s also a great beach perfect for picnicking and soaking up the sun. And always remember to bring your friends!

So next time you and your friends are deciding what to do on one of the many beautiful weekends here at Cal Poly, suggest one of these hikes and start your adventure in the great outdoors!