Bowden Ranch Trail (High School Hill)

HARD 40 reviews

Bowden Ranch Trail (High School Hill) is a 4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near San Luis Obispo, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.0 miles
1,456 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips

trail running

bird watching


wild flowers



no shade

The trail head is located at the top of Lizzy St. This is the segment that runs from the TH to the red tower located above SLO High school. Although this trail is relatively short, its rather steep and constant gradient make it somewhat taxing in the climb, and hard on the knees during descent.

Muddy this evening.

made loop from trailhead by 101

28 days ago

came up by the freeway has rope to climb first part awesome views

1 month ago

Great hike!! It’s steep, rocky and mostly in the sun, but a great workout!! The Google map linked from this site didn’t take me to the right spot for the trailhead, rather, the middle of an intersection. Go to Lizzy Street and follow it uphill where it dead ends with a private cul-de-sac. No parking here but plenty of free street parking on the way. Trail head is on the right, kinda hidden, next to a big utility pipe painted red. Enjoy this one for a good butt kicking workout!!

no shade
1 month ago

This is a great trail for a workout. Where Reservoir Canyon Trail on the opposite side of the hill is full of leisurely switchbacks and a pretty trail, not at all on this side. Of course, you can get to the tower—and therefore a panorama of a lifetime—in a fraction of the time with ever-expanding views every step of the way. To be clear, you ascend 1100’ in 1mi. A bit brutal if taken quickly, but oh, the views!

2 months ago

Amazing views this time of year. Windy at the top today.

5 months ago

This is my all time favorite SLO hike! A bit muddy today from the rain but beautiful!!

8 months ago

Did this trail today and it’s only 2 miles up and back to the top where the bell is. Elevation Gail is 1,152. It’s a mile of UP! Coming down is no joke be careful or you will end up on your a$$. But incredible views at the top.

9 months ago

BEST local hike for a quick, butt-kicking workout!

Friday, May 18, 2018

My least favorite hike. It’s straight up so if the sun is shining on you then you never get any relief. The view is behind you the whole time. It was worth doing once, but that was enough for me.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Great trail

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I know of two ways to get to the top from west side , which I consider the metal tower with a bell. One is very direct, you park up the street from San Luis Adult School. This hike is about one mile and fairly steep. Takes me old guy around 40 minutes. I see some younger people run up. Quite a good workout. When you get to the top, you can go left to the the metal tower or right, going right about half a mile there is another way down, which is a fire trail, it’s not as steep. You can take that back and cross over back to your starting point, or go back they way you came. You can also go up that fire trail, but there is a part where there are signs which say no trespassing but the locals seem to ignore it. This is less traveled than Bishops or Cerro.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Steep and somewhat rocky trail up. Tough on knees on the way back. Trekking poles will really help.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Hard hike but worth the effort once you get to he top.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trail Closed :( Heads up if you're trying to go in Jan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I went on a day after there was a huge rain storm, but nonetheless, despite the mud and muck the view from the top was gorgeous. There is almost a complete 360 view from the end point of this hike and it was completely worth the extra 5lbs of mud stuck to my shoe!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Great workout! It is really steep which makes the views SO rewarding!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This trail makes for a great workout with a thousand feet of elevation gain in the first mile, or so. Once on the ridge, the walk to the north summit (beacon tower) and/or south summit (stone seating ring) is a piece of cake. From the summit(s), you have great views of the entire area... On a clear day (and most are) you can see Edna Valley, Oceano Dunes, Avila Beach, Morro Bay, much of San Luis Obispo, most of the morros, and part of Cuesta Grade (and the hills on either side). Sunsets can be spectacular up here, but make sure you give yourself time to descend the hill; the trail officially closes at dusk.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Steep and difficult trail that gives a great view of San Luis Obispo and the surrounding area. The trail is fairly narrow and gets a lot of traffic in the evening.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

it's really steep and hard but you feel AMAZING after!

Monday, May 05, 2014


Friday, March 28, 2014

This hike features beautiful open space behind SLO High and great nature and city views. It is grueling and very steep and rocky, not easy. Dogs allowed on leash.

1 month ago

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