Wonderful and peaceful hike.

This is my go to hike in SLO. I love it. Beautiful view from the top and good workout.

This route up to the summit of Cerro San Luis Obispo is one of the most popular hikes in the San Luis Obispo area. Despite being within walking distance of downtown, it has a remote, semi-wild feel. The trail starts at the Lemon Grove Loop Trail just off Highway 101 and Marsh Street. While there is plenty of parking available, it can still fill up fast, especially on weekends.

The trail starts as the Lemon Grove Loop Trail and climbs up through the Cerro San Luis Obispo Natural Reserve (also called the Charles A and Mary R Maino Open Space).Staying to the left on the wide path at several junctions, you will eventually come to a vehicle barrier that marks the spot where you leave the Reserve and enter private property owned by the Madonna family. This area is open to the public, but stay on the trail. You shortly pass through a second gate and then gradually curve up the mountain. A series of switchbacks keep the grade from getting too steep, but the road is very rocky and rutted. You'll eventually come to a flat clearing just below the summit with a large wooden platform. Several paths wind up through the rocks to the summit, where you'll enjoy remarkable views of all of San Luis Obispo. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Morro Bay.

Make a note of each intersection on the way up, as there are no trail signs once you leave the Reserve and there are numerous unofficial paths near the summit. It's also possible to continue east from the summit and make your way down to the Lemon Grove Loop for a loop trip.

This trail is popular with mountain bikers and bike bells are provided near the trailhead for their use. Most of the trail is a wide dirt road, so you shouldn't have any problems. While the views are best on a clear day, there's very little shade anywhere along the route and hiking on a foggy day will be more pleasant, at least during the warmer months of the year.

NOTE: Several days after our hike, the San Luis Obispo Parks & Recreation Department closed the Lemon Grove Loop Trail indefinitely due to numerous mountain lion sightings in the area. While this closure only affects the Lemon Grove Loop portion of the route, it effective blocks you from accessing the summit via this route until the trail is re-opened. It's still possible to reach the summit from the longer route that starts at Laguna Lake.

One of our family’s favorite hikes! Our seven year old makes it to the top by herself almost every time but our five year old needs assistance. The trail is wide enough for a BOB stroller (speaking from experience). Also a great trail to take your dog just don’t forget their leash. The views are amazing and worth the work. There is a stage at the top which a wonderful place to have a picnic before you head back down.

trail running
2 months ago

Great morning run for some climbs. I recommend running counterclockwise so you can climb the technicals and descend a wider path. Also against the flow of mountain bikers so you can see or hear them coming on their sweet downhill run.

Great hike

I go here at least once a week, if you use the fire trail it’s about two miles to the top from the parking near the highway entrance .

Good hike with nice views and challenging at times.

Always a favorite

Love this trail great views.

This particular route is the most commonly hiked trail at this trailhead (the others are the Lemon Grove Loop and the off shoot trail up to the "M"). Steep and rocky in some sections, particularly at the end of rainy season as the fire road portions of the trail sustain erosion and seems to be irregularly graded. Fantastic views of the valley and on a clear day, you can see to Morro Bay. Not a lot of shade, so best times to hike are before 10 am and after 4:00 PM (summer). The park closes at dusk, so in the fall and winter, set out by 3:30 PM at the latest as there is a pretty steep climb/descent at the bottom third of the trail that is tricky to negotiate as the sun is setting.

Decent hike!

Really nice views. rocky in places. Split in trails not always well marked.

Good sister hike to Bishops Peak, a bit less difficult to manage.

Friday, April 07, 2017

This trail gives you a wonderful workout. Really working your legs as the trail is uphill and rocky.

The views even halfway up the trail are beautiful.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

very nice.. a little hard but not horrible.... recc teens and adults only though

Great hike , awesome views

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Awesome hike.beautiful. Some what difficult. Great place to take picnic on the summit.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

There are a couple different options on this particular trail. We missed taking the main trail all the way to the top. But will definitely come back to do that part! We did end up taking the trail to the "M", which wasn't too far in, nor too steep in my opinion. Because it's been raining the trail was a little muddy in some areas. However, because of the rain, the views overlooking the mountains and city of San Luis Obispo where amazingly lush! We also had the joy of coming across two small waterfalls, one on the way to the "M" and another on the way to the Lemon Grove trail. There is also a side trail towards the bottom, that goes a little off the main trail, where we came across a little cactus ravine with a small stream running through it. So many things to see and take in. It was a nice adventure.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Good hike to stretch your legs out, especially since getting there from 101 and hopping back on can be done in a quick second. Beautiful views of Morro Bay and Pismo as you get to the top! First half gets the heart pumping, but it's nothing strenuous. Lots of small rocks on the path and prickly pear off the path on the way up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

amazing view..fun easy hike

Like hiking this trail often great views at the top

Long and rocky in places but good view

Looked like a pretty hike but it's not actually dog friendly so we went to Cerro Alto instead.

We took the whole family, this is a great hike for all!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Good trail. Took the loop thru old lemon trees. Trail is narrow with grooves from bikes.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Not too hard of a hike, pretty mellow over all! Beautiful creek, shady trails, and a beautiful view at the top!!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

A good workout

Good exercise and I like that's it's short and the trail head is right off the freeway, so it's great if you only have a few hours not the whole day. The 360 degree views from the top were great, and it's fun to see a birds eye view of SLO and how it's laid out. But the trail itself seemed a little boring to me, just dry shrub and up, up, up at a fairly consistent incline; I prefer a little more up and down, and more trees just for some variety.

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