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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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: 4.6 Miles (One Way)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who to Contact
Los Padres National Forest Monterey County
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
Machesna Wilderness hike
Photo by Gary Felsman