Bishops Peak Hike: Summit Views Over San Luis Obispo

Located right off Highway 1 in the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo is a nice steep hike that provides amazing vistas of the town and coast. It is 3.5 miles round trip, but does about 1000 feet of elevation gain during that short hike and is not a walk in the park. When you get to the summit though you will realize why you did it and be ready for a meal at Firestone or Splash Cafe. This peak is also the largest of the nine sisters which are the nine peaks that line the drive along Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

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  • 3.5 miles round trip
  • 900 feet of elevation gain
  • Not much shade so don’t attempt when it is hot

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I have been told there is a better trail head then the one I went to on Patricia Drive near Anacapa Circle, but I wasn’t aware of that till after I hiked this. These directions are from the trail head at the top of Highland Ave, but be warned there is not a lot of street parking up there and it can fill up fast.

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After parking proceed up to the trailhead which is easy to see as it has a plaque to mark the open space area you are entering.

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From here the trail hugs some wooden fencing before it heads into the forest. This is a beautiful area with lots of shade and is a great way to start the hike.

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After about .4 miles the trail leaves the forest and heads back out into the sun. This is also the split for another trail but you can see a sign that will tell you which one to take.

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The trail again enters the forest and actually heads downhill for a little while as it goes around the mountain to the South side.

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From here it is nothing but switchbacks to the top. It should be noted that the trail is never very flat either, it is mostly loose dirt and big rocks that you will be walking up and over. Again, I stress that even though the mileage seems like it is small the hike is not “easy.”

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As you climb up the switchbacks you will see lots of great views of the other mountains in the area and the city as well.

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Watch out for snakes as I saw one crossing the trail when I was there.

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After pushing through the uphill grind you will see the two benches that mark the top.

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If you are a true peak bagger though then you will want to scramble up the rocks to reach the peaks high point. There is not an easy trail through this section though so make sure not to push yourself if you don’t like to scramble on large rocks.

Bishops Peak San Luis Obispo 2

From the top though the view over the city of San Luis Obispo is amazing, I have climbed this peak multiple times and I still coming back to see it again.

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You can even see the dunes and the beach out near Pismo if you squint your eyes.

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If you are looking for a way to earn your calories you will intake at Splash Cafe then I highly recommend Bishops Peak as it is a popular trail with a great vista. The mileage is short but you will feel like you worked hard when you get back to your car. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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