San Luis Obispo Hikes

I am not a hiker, so when I told my friends I was going to do these three hikes they laughed in my face, but it’s ok because I survived and so will you. I choose three hike that are popular with San Luis Obispo locals, but if you are into hiking don’t worry because there are much more than just these three in the SLO area.

1. Bishops Peak

Camille Khadr on top of Bishops Peak at sunrise.
Camille Khadr on top of Bishops Peak at sunrise.

Bishops Peak is one of the most popular hikes with students and SLO residents. The hike is about two miles and is moderately steep hill. It offers incredible views of Cal Poly and all of downtown San Luis Obispo which is why it is so popular. Cal Poly Student, Camille Khadr, hike the trail as often as she can, and often at sunrise.

“It is great because I can get a work out and watch the sunrise from a gorgeous location, and still make it to my 9 a.m. class,” she said.

Begin up the trail from the cul-de-sac at the top of Highland Drive. At the top of the 1,559-foot summit are big rocks and boulders that adventurous hikers like Khadr take on.

Boulders at the top of Bishops Peak.
Boulders at the top of Bishops Peak.

For more information about Bishops Peak click here.

2. Ontario Ridge Trail 


Better known as Avila Ridge to locals, this hike offers great views of the coast line. This hike is a compilation of a few different trails, which gives hikers more options depending on your skill level. I started from the Sycamore Crest Trail, which leads through trees, then hopped on the Ontario Ridge Trail. The Ontario trail leads you to the top of Avila Ridge.

This hike is definitely the most challenging of the three I did, but it is worth it. You get great views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the coastal towns. You can take a break at the top and swing on the swing while looking out at the Pacific Ocean.

Lexi Jenkins swinging on Avila Ridge.
Lexi Jenkins swinging on Avila Ridge.

The whole hike is about three miles.

Check out this article to get more information on how to get to Avila Ridge.

3. Bob Jones Trail


The Bob Jones Trail (also called the City-to-Sea Trail) is more of a walk than a hike, but it is beautiful none the less. I was the most excited for the this one because it is more my speed, slow and flat. The trail is also made for biking but if you left your wheels at home that is fine too. The trail leads through a forested area of the Avila Hills and ends at Avila Beach, which is perfect if you want to grab some food or just hang at the beach afterwards.

It is two and a half miles, which is perfect if you are out of shape like me. What I loved about this hike is that you feel like you are so far from the coast when in reality you end at a beach. This is because the trail follows a small creek that widens and lead into the pacific ocean.

Bob Jones, who the trail is named after, was a an “environmental pioneer” according to a sign at the start of the trail. He did many things for the environment but during his retirement in Avila he led the project to clean up the San Luis Obispo Creek until his death in 1994.

Check out my post on Montaña De Oro for information on another great San Luis Obispo hike.


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