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Ontario Ridge to Shell Beach Bluff Trail Loop

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Pismo Beach, California

Ontario Ridge to Shell Beach Bluff Trail Loop is a 2.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pismo Beach, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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.

Length 2.8 mi Elevation gain 744 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Partially paved

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Waypoints (1)
  • 1

    Alternative Trailhead

    There is a dirt parking lot here where you can start the ascent first, knocking out the difficult part of the hike, and then you have good views and a pleasant hike the rest of the way.

    35.17625, -120.69874

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (154)
Photos (389)
Recordings (122)
Completed (670)
Juanita Patlan
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HikingGreat!

I LOVED this hike. I did it on a Tuesday morning with my dog. We did the big uphill first and I recommend this route. Not too many people. Only 2 other dogs so I had my dog off leash the whole time and we had no incidents(he’s super well trained). The views are incredible and worth the uphill climb. After the hike, we went down to Pirate’s Cove and checked out the cave and sat on the beach. It was awesome.

Matthew Vinson
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Hiking

Great morning hike. Highly trafficked in both directions. Recommend the same as others have said, start with the steep hill to the northern side of the loop first.

View Matthew's Recording
David Delgado
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Hiking

Great views once you get up there. Go up the big hill first! It’s a tough climb but coming down is even harder. You will slip and slide! Once up there you will have lovely views of the ocean and mountains. Some oak shade, nice ocean breeze for most of this hike.

Kellie Ouellette
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Hiking

A great hike! Definitely challenging with a five year old on the steep parts going down. We started at the alternate start point of Shell Beach Rd. Going up wasn’t too bad, but going down the hill by the other starting point was tough. My son mostly slid down on his bottom. But I can see where the downhill part would be challenging on both sides. We were disappointed that swing with the chains facing the ocean was down on one side, but fortunately we enjoyed the rope swing further back on the trail. Definitely beautiful views and a worthy hike!

View Kellie's Recording
R Moore
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Hiking

I did this trail a couple of years ago and it was so hard but it was beautiful. I love the swings at the top. I’m not a hiker so some parts were almost overwhelming. The downhill at the end was slippery and I slipped 3 times so I did the rest on my bottom lol.

Aaron Bert
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HikingRocky
View Aaron's Recording
David Paisley
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Hiking

Loved this trail. Quick 90 minute hike, great coastal views. It is a strange trail in that you start on one of the steepest trail ascents that I have ever experienced (not for everyone or all dogs). It only lasts 10 or 15 minutes, and then the rest of the trail is wonderful. The trail is a loop and I would definitely go clockwise (go up steep trail). I think coming down that hillside would be dangerous. You need to be in reasonable shape to get up that hillside. But do not let that dissuade you. This 90 minute hike was a highlight of my Pismo Beach vacation. If the hillside scares you do it counter clockwise as an out and back trail (might take your 2.5 hours).

Mikinzy L.
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This is another good hike in SLO town. Right along the ocean. The only thing I would say on this one is be careful on the way down. It's slippery, and you definitely have to have the right shoes.

Rocio Prendez
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HikingNo shade

Enjoyed the trail. Great timing in the morning when it was cloudy because there isn’t shade in most of trail. Beautiful view to the coast when starting from east to west of the trail. The back end trail is pretty steep to come down and would not recommend for children. Great little workout 2 hour trail

View Rocio's Recording
Jonathan Gutierrez
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Hiking

This is by far one of the best trails I've been on in California! Be sure to look at the weather report before you try this trail. If it's a clear morning, it's one of the most beautiful sunrises you will see in your life. If you want a great workout, park at the Pirate's Cove parking lot and take the steep uphill trail to the top of the mountain. Once you're on top the rest of the trail is pretty easy. I will definitely be back!

Jorge Moran
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Hiking

Great workout and challenging, I started from the alternative route up the mountain but found it too difficult to scale down to the entrance from the steep mountain I would recommend taking the flat trail to the beginning of the main entrance if taking the alternative route and want to see the entire trail

Stephanie Palomar
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Hiking

HARD!

Ally Grierson
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HikingScramble
View Ally's Recording
Paula Harper
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Wow!!! This may be one of my FAVORITE trails!!!! Short but a GREAT workout! Amazing views of the rolling hills, ocean and even a beautiful residential area. START THE LOOP FROM THE LEFT/CLOCKWISE!!!!! This way is MUCH better. The incline is steep, but there is beauty to be seen from every vantage point!!! BE SURE TO ENJOY THE SWINGS AT THE TOP!!! Great for date night, family time and even safe enough to do alone. Parking is close to trailhead and is free. May you enjoy this awesome hidden gem! Check out live footage of our time in Pismo. (Harper's Journey) https://youtu.be/Y5vLSm7ptsk

Jarrett Parra
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HikingRocky

Amazing views! Wonderful trail...! Rather than parking near pirates cove parking lot, I parked over by the 101 and started on the opposite end, much easier to find parking on the weekend. When you get to the top of the mountain, beautiful oak trees with hanging moss, wonderful views of Pismo Beach and Avila Beach. Very steep incline and declines, but that makes the adventure much more exciting.

Nicole Olson
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HikingWashed out

Steeeeeep but so rewarding.

Kylin Zhuo
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Hiking

Steep slope warning!!!

View Kylin's Recording
Sara Yeaw
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RockyScrambleWashed out

this hike seems to get a little more challenging everytime I do it. Does the hill get steeper? I always go up the big hill first so I can enjoy the rest of the hike and views. there are 2 swings once you get to the top. One facing the ocean, the other facing a vineyard. The trail does have some rather loose shale and rocks to manage now. The fire department was just up there clearing away brush with a bulldozer and making a path easier to follow. This is always a beautiful hike.

Crystal McKinney
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HikingOff trailRocky
View Crystal's Recording
Geoff Keating
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HikingMuddy
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Daniel Cowan
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Hiking

I’ve done this one left to right and right to left. Left to right is hard at first then too easy. Right to left is challenging most of the way through.

View Daniel's Recording
Dimitri Bushnell
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HikingNo shadeRocky

Amazing hike. Not bad at all, if you haven’t been and love to stop and take pictures then I would give yourself plenty of time to finish the hike. We loved it.

David G.
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Hiking

Pretty steep to start, but it was well worth the climb!

Jo John
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Hiking

We went clockwise which was nice since the hard part was over with - would not want to try and come down that side. Super, super steep, going to feel that tomorrow. Beautiful weather and views. Lots of other hikers, Saturday, December 28, 2019. Def. need good tread on your shoes. Great photo ops. The swings were mostly broken. Would love to fix up some new ones!

Tina Horner
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HikingRocky

Needs trail markers. Also, highly recommend poles and shoes with good tread. This has very steep and very slippery sections. Amazing views.

View Tina's Recording
Stacy CS
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HikingRocky
View Stacy's Recording
Showing results 1 - 26 of 154