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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
closed
muddy
over grown
rocky
12 days ago

Overall it's a really awesome hike. Lots of mud and rocks on the trial due to recent rain. The views from the top are simply stunning. my GPS clocked me at over 1500 hundred feet so its an ankle and lung buster. The beginning is steep, rocky and unforgiving but there is a waterfall right at the trailhead. Once you get to the summit and are done checking out the views you begin heading down. It's a long way down to the bottom and there's a sign that's easily missed to turn left. I walked right passed it and added another mile or so to the distance. The sign is a good 30 feet off the trail and out of the way. It really should be moved. The last leg of the trail was closed due to flooding but we made the loop back using the connector trail. Overall really awesome and challenging!

hiking
muddy
16 days ago

hiking
rocky
27 days ago

beautiful views, but lots of poison oak right off trail.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was wonderful. I saw trail runners and families. It was a bit rocky at times, but not too difficult. The views at the top are spectacular. If you have trecking poles, this is a good trail to use them. Had a wonderful experience.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

If you’re looking for a hike that is challenging but not difficult that will give you a beautiful view of all of SLO, then this is your trail. It begins with a waterfall and a pretty bridge that leads to a gradual incline of rock stairs. At the top you will see an impressive metal structure (that is climbable!) right before enjoying one of the best views that SLO county has to offer. On a clear day you will be able to see all of SLO and it’s many mountains as well as Pismo beach to the left and Morro bay to the right. The view offered by this hike is truly stunning considering the moderate difficulty level. Take a friend and enjoy the beauty of this trail and the outdoors.

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

enjoyed this hike very much. very rocky both up and down. the down side was pretty slick and muddy from a recent rain so be careful. beautiful views from the top of San Luis Obispo and into the 5 Cities. we too missed the trail marker that leads you back down. it's kind off the trail and you're distracted by the views lol. up side was we got another uphill climb out of the deal will be back after the rainy weather ends.

hiking
4 months 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
4 months ago

5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months ago

hot....

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
8 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
8 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Tons of poison oak, wear pants

10 months ago

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

hiking
10 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
10 months ago

hiking
11 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!

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