Explore the most popular birding trails near San Luis Obispo with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

This moderately trafficked loop trail is well marked and beautiful. Along the trail we saw numerous native birds and wild flowers. Most areas are fully sun exposed, but there are a few shaded areas in the wooded segment of the trail. Although we hiked the looped trail, I do recommend the trail for runners, also. There is a connector option on the trail that cuts through the loop to make it a shorter hike if so desired. I recommend this easy to moderate trail and make sure to bring some water.

Ok- gotta say....people weren’t kidding. Views are awesome, but humans and dog both COVERED in ticks.

trail running
3 days ago

Every morning this trail kicks my butt. I not only go for the view but also for a challenge. 

Very enjoyable . Great views . Peaceful

Good hike with lots of sun & several shady pockets. Terrain has thin layer of loose dirt & not too rocky, so it won't be too tough on dog paws. Saw several families with young kids too.

I give it 5 stars to the loop; however, my wife and I took it a but further towards Irish hills and that area was way too dry for our taste... So we'll give it 4.5; nonetheless, it was an very nice hike. We definitely recommend it..

Wonderful and peaceful hike.

Has a moderate uphill grade, but definitely the best local hike!

This is a great, easy trail. Watch for poison oak when you get to shady areas. If you go in the spring the mustard plants and other wild flowers are amazing. I went during a holiday weekend and it wasn’t crowded. Nicely kept trail. Please clean up after your dogs and don’t leave the dog poop bags on the trail.

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.

This is my go to hike in SLO. I love it. Beautiful view from the top and good workout.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Some wildflowers, rolling hills, a creek, trees, and a little cave in one area. Signs made it easy to stay on the Johnson Ranch loop. My watch said it was 3.3 miles, but I looped back around a bit to make it 4. It was easy to hike quickly and run parts to get a good workout. Online it said it’s a 1hr 45 min hike, but it took me 51 minutes with a bit of jogging mixed in. I didn’t see anyone until I was over half through the hike, but it was a weekday morning.

Very easy and beautiful nature walk.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike! Probably best hike in the area with nothing but pleasant hikers to share the trail!

Lots of interesting bends and crossings. Beautiful scenery and a few shaded areas to break at. A nice creek area about midway. The trail is narrow in areas and frequently trafficked by people and dogs. They hills were rolling along so it didn’t seem like a big climb in any place. Well managed and allowable for bikes. There are bells and leashes available at the entrance. Great hike today!

Great hike! Beautiful!!

Went this weekend, all 3 dogs were covered in Ticks when we left. Sign warned of Ticks, but didn’t think I would encounter this many!! Be prepared if you take your dogs.

This trail has amazing views of the “9 sisters” or volcanic plugs of San Luis Obispo County and other coastal areas. On a clear day you can see the Five Cities area down south. The parking lot is at the top of the Cuesta Grade and can be easy to miss. When coming from Atascadero, it is on the right just after you reach the top of “the grade” (turn into the brake check area). We always park at the bottom and hike from there, but many people drive further up the road, which results in some light traffic. There is a system of other trails connected to the main trail/road that I have not tried yet, but that look intriguing.

trail running
2 months ago

This trail is entertaining and a good challenge. There is an occasional cow that wanders onto the trail. It is very well used, but also well-maintained. In order to keep it well-maintained, it is occasionally closed for a few days after rain. Keep that in mind before you come and check it’s status online. Bells provided for mountain bikers at the entrance. It has several loops to either shorten or lengthen your trip.

Scenic raised boardwalk trail with a nice view of the grasslands/estuary. There are several entrances embedded in a neighborhood in Los Osos.

hiking
2 months ago

Good hike, especially if you add in Felsman Loop, about 6.2 miles total. Saw quite a few people wearing running shoes, not recommended, to rocky the last 3/4 of a mile!

One of our family’s favorite hikes! Our seven year old makes it to the top by herself almost every time but our five year old needs assistance. The trail is wide enough for a BOB stroller (speaking from experience). Also a great trail to take your dog just don’t forget their leash. The views are amazing and worth the work. There is a stage at the top which a wonderful place to have a picnic before you head back down.

Beautiful hike, especially after the recent rains.

Trails are a bit of a challenge because of recent rains and the creek being a bit higher and covering some trails. There is extensive poison oak. Long pants are highly recommended.

Went back a week later with the grandkids to show them the cool fall and cave at the base of the trail. They had lots of fun and didn’t have to go on a trail to get there. This was a plus because there is a ton of poison oak.

trail running
2 months ago

Great morning run for some climbs. I recommend running counterclockwise so you can climb the technicals and descend a wider path. Also against the flow of mountain bikers so you can see or hear them coming on their sweet downhill run.

The view from the top was breathtaking and right off the start the waterfall is at the bottom. Directions were confusing. Lots of poison oak all around you and on the trees. Right above the waterfall there is a bridge it leads you up to two separate paths if you take the right it takes you to where the bench is and to the left overpassing the creek it takes you to the swing!
Easy to moderate but long loop we never completed

A bit hard to find trail head....after a few jaunts passing back and forth along 101, figured it out. Previous reviews mentioning the gate were helpful, to ensure we were on right trail. Initially, I was skeptical, as freeway was right below and a car was driving in the "trail"(were we on a "road"?)....after the first mile, we enjoyed the trail much more--beautiful views indeed! Wildflowers will be great and in full bloom, I imagine , within a couple of weeks. I'd like to go back and do further mileage from trails branching out from mt Lowe.

hiking
2 months ago

Seemed real easy in the beginning, but boy was I wrong. The views are def worth it once you make it to the top.

closed 2018 03 25

Love this place!

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