Reservoir Canyon Loop Trail

MODERATE 247 reviews

Reservoir Canyon Loop Trail is a 5.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near San Luis Obispo, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, 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: 5.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,397 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

running

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

After heavy rains parts of this area may be closed. Please check with the Reservoir Canyon Natural Reserve for more information.

hiking
25 days ago

Great trail. Lots of loose rocks that slowed us down. Generally well-marked, except for one trail marker was off the trail and we actually missed it and had to return back to find the missed marking. We hiked 6 miles and great work out. We will return!!

hiking
rocky
25 days ago

1 month ago

My husband and I tried this trail and we loved it, yes it can be a little challenging but not super hard. do bring some water with you.

hiking
1 month ago

Pulled up to a car with a smashed window. Parking lot is at the end of the road, and too isolated. Easy pickin’s for low life’s that break into cars. Immediately left and went to Montana de Oro.

hiking
2 months ago

hot....

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Returned to SLO after 4.5 years away and this was my first task when I woke up in the morning. Just as beautiful as I remember, and a great way to stretch the legs after a long day of travel. It’s rating of moderate is accurate, and due to little shade at the high elevations, it makes for a great morning hike in the cooler air. For those who want an easier hike, start by going on the Creek Bypass, then turn around and go back down once you get to the amazing view at the top! Otherwise, the full loop is gorgeous.

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

I started this hike at 10am. Big mistake!!! It was super hot as there’s minimal shade. I hiked up the 2.25 miles, made it up to the tower, then headed straight back down. I didn’t complete the loop. I had read reviews and decided against the additional 3 miles. I had also ran into a couple who were hiking down as I was hiking up. I took their opinion to heart. They mentioned the trail was still closed off, due to some hard rain earlier in the year. They added that the terrain on the other half was rough and rocky-their elderly canine was no longer able to do that hike down anymore. I took 2L of water and drunk it all! Yes, the 2 mile hike up is very steep, but that wasn’t the problem for me, it was the heat that kicked my azz. I left with a headache that stayed with me all day. My reward after the hike was a nice dip at the bottom of the waterfall ❤️❤️❤️.

hiking
5 months ago

A tough climb a lot of climbing up and over tocks ,need good sturdy hiking shoes, lots of zig zags mostly uphill climb. Views are really pretty on a clear day .Do not forget to check out the waterfall in the parking lot area and go in the cave behind the waterfall. pretty cool. i went with a friend we ended up going all the way to the top just to find out the other half of the loop was closed do to washed out and not maintained so we had to climb back down we came up. bring plenty of water, parking is plentiful .

hiking
5 months ago

I loved this hike. It had everything a hike needs. It was challenging, but not strenuous. It had gorgeous views throughout the entire hike! It had a really fun swing! It was well marked and easy to follow and it had a cute little creek leading to a really pretty waterfall. The only negative was how much poison oak there was, but I now have a favorite San Luis hike.

hiking
5 months ago

Grueling but totally worth it. The terrain totally threw me off, though. It went from shaded forest with no incline to insanely rocky uphill climbing to gravel path to jungle-like close shrubs and trees... Just weird. Never knew what to expect. The creek also overflowed into the trail so the end bit was a little sketchy, and without any warning on the other side of the loop that the back half of the trail would be closed, I was surprised by the trail suddenly turning into a weird narrow dirt path etched into the side of a hill. Overall a great day, just a weird experience.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Tons of poison oak, wear pants

6 months ago

one of my favourite trails in the county. the waterfall is amazing. watch for snakes!

hiking
6 months ago

Lots of poison oak. Need pants or at least tall socks. On one hike up, you have to cross the creek twice. Shade and exposure. Trekking poles help with rocky descend.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

The main Trail is flooded at the moment so you’ll have to take the Second way up off the bridge.. incline starts, but couple flat spot, Great way to the top!

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful with a water fall right at the trailhead. However the climb is significant so I would rate more difficult than moderate.

hiking
8 months ago

Good day, wildflowers, green hills. Lots of water in the stream so the old lower part of the trail was closed, had to use the new part of the loop.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

So beautiful! Many wildflowers currently. Trail not to crowded weekday, incredible vistas. LOTS of poison oak, and easy to roll ankle if in just tennis shoes. Wear sunscreen, trail is only shaded for the first stretch. Also our cars were broken into when we got back to them... mega bummer.

hiking
washed out
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

A perfect place to relax the noise of the water in the excellent brook

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
8 months ago

Nice trail, loops back to the parking lot and easy to follow. If you go counter clockwise at the beginning the creek runs across the trail so be prepared to wade through water and get your shoes wet. Good workout, consistent climb and rocky. There is a tree swing along the trail in a meadow area and it has a spectacular view, very peaceful and serene. 360 views from the top.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked the uphill portion of this one today starting at the trailhead off of Reservoir Canyon Road. It had rained pretty heavily a few days earlier and the flat portion of the trail parallel to the creek was closed due to flooding, but the uphill was open. Very cool hike -- the trail steadily climbs while twisting back and forth through the chaparral, with some steep portions, offering progressively better views of the green valley below and Lopez Mountain in the distance. There were a lot of wildflowers coming up all over the place. There was also a fair amount of poison oak on both sides of the trail at the lower section -- after about 10 or 15 minutes however it was pretty sparse and not growing out into the travel way. Definitely want to come back and do the loop when conditions are better!

trails are a little narrow, and some people dont keep their dogs on leashes but overall a really nice trail

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Took my dog hiking and caching. We took the counterclockwise route which ended with us having to wade across the creek several times, trying to figure out where the trail was, as the sun was setting, in the starting rain... it was a fun adventure! Quite a few muddy and puddley areas from all the recent rain, of course, so wear some good hiking boots. Narrow trail as well with overhanging poison oak (so just wear pants, duh), and I found a couple crawly ticks on my dog and I (yuck).

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