Bishop Peak Trail from Highland Drive

MODERATE 442 reviews

Bishop Peak Trail from Highland Drive is a 3.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near San Luis Obispo, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,131 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

Bishop Peak, at 1559 feet, is the highest of the Nine Sisters (or Morros) in San Luis Obispo County. The peak is the centerpiece of the Bishop Peak Nature Reserve, and can be accessed from trailheads on either Patricia Drive or Highland Drive. From the trailhead on Patricia Drive, the trail starts as a wide dirt path climbing west uphill to a fenced gate, where you enter the Ferrini Open Space. At a curve in the road, turn left onto a narrow trail just after a short stretch of pavement. Staying on the paved road will lead uphill to a water tank, and the Felsman Loop Trail, which later re-intersects our route. Switchbacking through open oak woodland, the trail emerges into an open area near a seasonal cattle pond. Follow the main trail uphill to another cattle gate, where the signed Bishop Peak Trail branches left. The trail then goes through a shaded forest, passing a popular rock climbing area before emerging into open chaparral on the south side of Bishop Peak. A series of switchbacks lead up to the saddle between the west and east summits of the peak. At the saddle, a bench marks the end of the maintained trail. The east (and slightly lower) summit can be reached from here by a short scramble over sandstone boulders. On top, there are outstanding views of the entire San Luis Obispo area, including nearby Cerro San Luis Obispo to the east.

The views are beautiful. I love the smell of wild rosemary along the the entire trail.

hiking
25 days ago

I started at Patricia, did the Felsmon loop, than connected with the Bishop peak summit. By the time an old man bicycles across town and hikes this, it's a good workout, throw in a little bouldering. Humbling, I don't care for inflated egos. Too my credit I go very slow. Went throuh 2L of water, phone needed recharging. I like the Aveenza offline map app. Find topo map, "Share" it to Aveenza, there you go, up to 3 maps free, can use store if desire. Been up this peak several times I consider this training. Also have become interested in climbing again, see how this goes.. You people should consider leaving your pooches at home, it is exposed and hot. Also watch out for poison oak, it is all over, stay on path. $20 bucks, tie me in, belay an old dude.

hiking
1 month ago

Hike is fun, pretty. We went in the am and it was overcast making the trail not as bad...however many big rocks throughout the whole trail. Was not a fan of the rocks but the top view is very pretty. Poison oak is not too bad just keep an eye out for little bushes hanging out! Fun hike on a cooler morning

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of the definitive hikes for San Luis Obispo. The views from the top are gorgeous.

hiking
1 month ago

Highlight of my trip and especially great on a cloudy day when it's too cold to visit the beach. We made it up in under an hour and enjoyed climbing on the large boulders at the summit. However, be warned that there is poison oak everywhere (thanks for the tip random passerby), especially around the top. Wear long pants and enjoy the view.

hiking
1 month ago

Really special hike, with a big payoff in views and landscape for the short length. The first stretch across the pasture is mostly fire-road style and a bit of an uphill slog, but by the time you get to the forest and start switchbacking as you circle up to the summit the trail design is really nice. The rock outcrops and desert wildflowers towards the top remind me of Pinnacles NM minus the $25 entrance fee. The main drawback is that there is tons of poison oak along the path in the forested area; don't get led astray by the desire trails in this section if you don't have Tecnu with you––the right trail is the most obvious one. There's also some poison oak at the summit in around the boulders that people like to climb up for the views. I wouldn't recommend this trail for beginner hikers. I passed a few pretty grumpy folks who seemed like they thought this would be an easy break from tourist things in SLO and a nice view; the relatively quick elevation gain makes this a decent workout, and the exposed trail for most of the route means you shouldn't forget your sun protection and adequate water.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Fairly strenuous but great views. One negative point was we had some ticks on us at the end.

hiking
2 months ago

I’m completely unfit, and the switchbacks were a little tough but I still enjoyed the hike and loved the views untitled the clouds rolled in

2 months ago

Nice distance. Elevation. Was warm today. Recommend early morning if no cloud coverage. Well maintained trail. Wear good trail shoes to prevent slipping. Hydrate.
Gorgeous views.

2 months ago

Fun, not super strenuous hike! Absolutely great view.

hiking
3 months ago

Classic slo hike. Beautiful on a clear day! Also fun to do a sunrise or sunset version.

3 months ago

Awesome hike and has a lot of rocks to climb through and over at the top! A lot of fun:)

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! And beautiful scenery all along the way

3 months ago

it was a fun short hike. not difficult and there are shaded areas to get a break from the sun.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome views! Go early if it’s going to be a hot day, and wear good shoes.

3 months ago

I've been wanting to hike this trail for some time now and over this past weekend I finally did! It was a great hike. I couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather and scenery. My mother-in-law joined me and at her short stature she had some difficulty climbing some of the rocks on the trail, but it wasn't at all too difficult. The subtle incline (due to frequent switchbacks) made for almost a leisurely hike. It was a busy trail, but everyone was so pleasant. This trail will be added to my "Will Hike Often" list.

3 months ago

It was ok

hiking
4 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. Steep climb to the top but worth the views. Try and go in a weekday to avoid crowds. We hiked it on a Sunday and there were too many people. The trail doesn’t have a lot (if any shade) so be aware of that during warmer temps. Watch for poison ivy along the lower portion of the trail. The climb does have rocks to go up and down and around etc. so be sure to wear appropriate clothes and shoes.

4 months ago

I love this trial. it never disappoints,it has amazing views and is a great hike. You should take the time for this hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike! Probably the best hike in the area!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. My son enjoyed the climbing part. Good workout and a rewarding view.

4 months ago

Cool rock climbing if you would like. Good exercise
Beautiful scenery

trail running
4 months ago

Great trail running, very neat

4 months ago

Great trail, great views

4 months ago

Beautiful scenery, moderately challenging trail. Loved it!

5 months ago

Love this place!!

hiking
5 months ago

This is the first trail I hiked in SLO and I keep going back. I’m in love with the uphill push to the top. My first time to the top it took just over 45 minutes. Last week my time was 38 minuets. It is what you make it but I prefer the rush to the top and enjoy the way down.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice view of SLO!

5 months ago

My favorite hike when I go to SLO!!

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail, beautiful view of the city mountain range. Been here 5 times and will definitely come back.

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