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 impressive views of the town and coast. It is 3.5 miles round trip, but has about 1,000 feet of elevation gain during the short hike. When you get to the summit, 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. Here is all the information.

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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
  • Information from 2016

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I have been told there is a better trailhead 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 trailhead 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 a wooded area 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 peak’s 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.

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From the top, the views over the city of San Luis Obispo are 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 look hard.

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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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