Cerro Alto Trail Loop

HARD 178 reviews
#2 of 165 trails in

Cerro Alto Trail Loop is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Morro Bay, California that features a river 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.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,607 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Water and restrooms on site. Max 2 vehicles per campsite.

hiking
9 days ago

The trail is clean and well maintained. The view was worth the work. Trekking poles are strongly recommended for slick downhill portions.

hiking
1 month ago

Just hiked this trail. Great trail.. The last 1.7 miles is pretty steep climb. Go slow if out shape and you’ll make it to the top of the summit. Slow will take about 2 hours if you do long trail. Coming down very slippery. Bring poles if inexperienced hiker.

hiking
2 months ago

Best trail in SLO county. Or at least it’s MY favorite hike. Bottom half has lots of shade. Top half is quite a bit more exposed. The views throughout the hike are marvelous and they get better the higher you go.

2 months ago

I love this trail. Not too crowded ever, cool breeze most of the time- incredible views, good, moderately challenging (for someone out of shape) trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Great view from the top if there is no marine layer! Moderate seems about right. I’m pretty out of shape and it was hard, but my nephew flew up it pretty easy. Can get cold and windy at the top, so might want to have a sweatshirt handy.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked this trail yesterday and the wild flowers were in full bloom! It was gorgeous! The view from on top of the peak was definitely worth the climb. This trail would be pretty hot during the summer months, there is a lot of the trail that is in full sun exposure. The trail it’s self was very well maintained. There are bathrooms (non-flushing) at the parking lot at the trail head. I recommend starting the hike on the left trail head not the one to the right with the bridge. It’s longer but a less steep climb to the top. Lots of poison oak in this area so make sure your are comfortable recognizing it! Day use was $10, and the overnight fee was $25.

hiking
3 months ago

Such a rewarding hike! Amazing view!

3 months ago

We did The Cerro Alto loop yesterday taking the long way up and the short path down. It is a great hike. This trek is not very technical and the trail is really good. I would rate this and Easy/Moderate. It is easy in that, there is nothing difficult to climb through. It’s moderate simply due to the amount of climb. So, go do it. If you are struggling on the climb, take your time. That’s all. You will really love it. The trip down is slippery though. With so much activity the path is broken down a bit to smaller sized pebbles etc. So if you can use some poles, that would help. Bring a lunch and enjoy the top. Really fun hike.

3 months ago

Great hike for one day... moderately steep uphill, with plenty vista points to view Morro Bay from the top

3 months ago

Great wildflowers. Steep at times. Better than sneakers is preferable. Poles would be good idea unless you are very fit or light on your feet. Outstanding views from top but very nice views throughout the hike.

(Now I have to hike down...)

4 months ago

This trail offers a spectacular view once you reach the summit. It also is a fantastic workout and an amazing alternative to stair steppers and elliptical machines!

hiking
4 months ago

I love this trail!

I took the longer trail to the summit and the shorter one back to the campground. Both are worth seeing, but I preferred the longer route. Both trails are found inside the campground. The longer is further in than the short trail. There is a $10.00 fee that you can pay before the campground right as you turn off of hwy 41 or in the dirt lot at the back of the campground next to the trailhead.

It is a fairly steep trail, especially the last 1.2 miles to the top. Be sure to have shoes with decent tread on the way down. The loose gravel and incline combine to make it a bit slippery. This last leg is also very sunny. Bring sunscreen or a hat.

hiking
4 months ago

trail running
5 months ago

We parked at the 41 entrance and ran up the boyscout trail which is quite steep. Went through the tower road where it connected to the out and back of the Cerro Alto Loop. Amazing views of Los Osos, Morro Bay and all the peaks. Diablo, Black Hills, etc....Highly recommended!

7 months ago

Great trail. Bathrooms at the trail head were discussing. Come prepared.

8 months ago

Great cardio workout without the need to run. Terrific views. Good option for preparing or conditioning for a backpacking trip.
Only negative is that the trailhead is in a day use fee area so it will cost $10 to hike the 4 mile loop

hiking
8 months ago

Tough climb but worth the view.

8 months ago

beautiful! wonderful hike!

9 months ago

Love this trail for its amazing views and rigorous climb.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! Strava said 5.5 miles for the way we went but overall views are awesome and hike is do able! Some pretty steep parts but overall fun!

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail along beautifully vegetated hillsides, with a world-class 360-degree view at the top. This well-maintained trail is rated "hard", but I think it's actually moderately difficult. I highly recommend this very satisfying hike.

10 months ago

This is the perfect day hike. Easy to get to the trailhead from anywhere in San Luis Obispo county, great area to park, well maintained trails, not too crowded, great vegetation and trees. The way up is a good work out but is doable for someone that is in average shape... and the views are incredible.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike, Was a great challenge to get to the summit peak but the view is breathtaking and amazing recommend to any one looking for a good challenge

hiking
10 months ago

I'd definitely recommend this hike to anyone looking for something a little harder and more out there then something like bishops peak. Took me about an hour and a half to get to the top and an amazing 360 degree view on a clear day from Morro rock to Atascadero area. Trail is marked out well minus a few spots but using common sense you can figure out where you need to go. Make sure you bring 10$ to pay the day fee or 25$ for camping. Ticks, rattlesnakes and mountain lion warnings posted but that's normal for hiking in my opinion.

mountain biking
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Probably my favorite trail I've had the chance to trek in SLO County. The most challenging physically and only recommended for higher fitness levels, especially if you're planning on hiking up to the peak. I took my bike up to the top and it was pretty savage, but the views are utterly amazing. I could see from Guadalupe all the way to Ragged Point. Easily the greatest ocean view I've ever seen. The ride down was an adrenaline rush to say the least but oh so worth the push up the peak. Lots of cool nature views, creeks, etc. I even saw a horny toed lizard when I was up at the peak, which I did not expect or even knew existed out there. Just an amazing place to hike. Be sure to bring at least $10 with you for parking as the county charges to park

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dont let sammi review scare u off seems like he or she is inexperienced and out of shape... i have climbed this with a 2 year old on my back.. it is challenging but doable, check weather, better to go on cool day as there is little shade.. take plenty of water.. maybe some trail mix but no need to pack full meal if ur relatively in shape.

trail running
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Went despite the previous reviews- they must not have been very good at hiking. Great well maintained trail and one of the harder ones in the area, and do make it to the top: the views are amazing and worth it if weather is good. For an easier version or for mt biking, make it to the first tier up the mountain - great views, easy, and hard packed.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Love this hike!! Definitely recommend it

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

I forgot to add something....we get to the lot and these people camping tell us to not go up one of the ways because people keep saying they see a mountain lion up there. I did NOT sign up for fucking MOUNTAIN LIONS. In hindsight, we should've just gone up that way anyways because by the time we were coming back down from the top of this motherfucker I was wishing that a mountain lion would just kill me and put me out of my misery. Watch out for ticks and rattlesnakes too :):):)

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

What the fuck....this trail is hard and there's no warning that it is a) long and very steep b) slippery as fuck on the way down and c) not marked well. If you aren't an experienced hiker or in decent shape then I wouldn't go on this trail. Make sure to bring a lot of water, Yosemite level water, because it's sunny as fuck and you're going to sweat a lot. Bring food too if you don't want to pass out. Good luck not slipping and falling on all the fucking pebbles on the way down. Bring poles because that helps with that, but you still have to be super careful. We didn't think we were going to make it to the top but then we did and the view wasn't even worth it because it was foggy and the rest of the surroundings looked like we were in goddamn Africa. The view at .25 miles in is literally the same as the top except you don't get to see the foggy ocean. If you want to see the ocean go fucking drive to the beach, not this. Go to Yosemite if you want to hike because it's worth it 1 million times more than this shit.

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