Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

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

Wonderful and peaceful hike.

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

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

This route up to the summit of Cerro San Luis Obispo is one of the most popular hikes in the San Luis Obispo area. Despite being within walking distance of downtown, it has a remote, semi-wild feel. The trail starts at the Lemon Grove Loop Trail just off Highway 101 and Marsh Street. While there is plenty of parking available, it can still fill up fast, especially on weekends.

The trail starts as the Lemon Grove Loop Trail and climbs up through the Cerro San Luis Obispo Natural Reserve (also called the Charles A and Mary R Maino Open Space).Staying to the left on the wide path at several junctions, you will eventually come to a vehicle barrier that marks the spot where you leave the Reserve and enter private property owned by the Madonna family. This area is open to the public, but stay on the trail. You shortly pass through a second gate and then gradually curve up the mountain. A series of switchbacks keep the grade from getting too steep, but the road is very rocky and rutted. You'll eventually come to a flat clearing just below the summit with a large wooden platform. Several paths wind up through the rocks to the summit, where you'll enjoy remarkable views of all of San Luis Obispo. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Morro Bay.

Make a note of each intersection on the way up, as there are no trail signs once you leave the Reserve and there are numerous unofficial paths near the summit. It's also possible to continue east from the summit and make your way down to the Lemon Grove Loop for a loop trip.

This trail is popular with mountain bikers and bike bells are provided near the trailhead for their use. Most of the trail is a wide dirt road, so you shouldn't have any problems. While the views are best on a clear day, there's very little shade anywhere along the route and hiking on a foggy day will be more pleasant, at least during the warmer months of the year.

NOTE: Several days after our hike, the San Luis Obispo Parks & Recreation Department closed the Lemon Grove Loop Trail indefinitely due to numerous mountain lion sightings in the area. While this closure only affects the Lemon Grove Loop portion of the route, it effective blocks you from accessing the summit via this route until the trail is re-opened. It's still possible to reach the summit from the longer route that starts at Laguna Lake.

Very easy and beautiful nature walk.

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.

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

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.

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

beautiful boardwalk in a very unique ecological environment. many different bird sightings

Great hike for beginners like my family. 3.5 year old son enjoyed it though I wouldn’t let him scavenge and fill the bucket he brought due to so much poison oak right up close to the trail. Nice stream and picnic table at the trailhead by the dog park. Dog friendly, not heavily trafficked. Cool and windy with shade available most of it (March). Little hills with lots of switchbacks. Great for starters and close to town (SLO).

Very nice trail! Good workout uphill!!!

Excellent views. Great workout. Trail is a mix of rocky and dirt. A few steep rocky sections. Definitely a must do. The length of the loop and elevation seem to be a little off. A little higher and longer than stated. Bring lots of water.

Great hike for all levels. Loved the swing. Imagine it would be hot in the summer.

I go here at least once a week, if you use the fire trail it’s about two miles to the top from the parking near the highway entrance .

Would not call this a 'hike'. A short walk to the top of the hill, but once you get there, a direct, open view of Cerro San Luis Obispo and Bishop Peak. Good place to bring your lunch and get out of the office.

This is a excellent choice when you want a hike that offers great views not just at the top, but all along the trail. And yes! there is LOTS of poson oak at the start, so be smart and wear long pants!

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail.
Nice breeze kept me cool.
Challenging but not impossible.
Nice view

5 months ago

It's an easy hike but when the grass is tall in the springtime be careful of snakes and ticks on the trail. The trail routes into other trails that are visible that you can either hike Madonna mountain or head into the opposite Madonna ranch or etc area's.

Great view of back bay!!

Great hike for all levels. Well maintained trails, first through forest, then brush with nice views to and from the top. Not too steep or strenuous going up and easy coming down. Took two small dogs up with us who shared that there was great sniffing of wildlife up there!

Good hike with nice views and challenging at times.

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