The Best Hikes in San Luis Obispo: From Bob Jones Trail to Bishop Peak!

October 5, 2022


Hiking in SLO is exciting, fun, and challenging! From the Bob Jones Trail to Bishop Peak, San Luis Obispo is a gorgeous haven of scenic trails. Take a break from the county’s pristine beaches and enjoy SLO’s landscapes too. Breathe in the cool breeze of the forests and the sweet smell of the earth. Delight your eyes with stunning vistas and take the time to reconnect with nature. 


The challenge levels of the hiking trails in San Luis Obispo can vary from easy to hard. New to hiking? Go easy and breezy at Montana de Oro Bluff Trail, the Rinconada Trailhead, and the Johnson Ranch Loop Trail. Want a bit of a challenge but still be comfortable and have fun? Check out the Cerro San Luis Obispo Trail. And if you want a real challenge, there are plenty of harder hiking trails to go to as well. 


Here are some of the best San Luis Obispo hikes:


Bob Jones Trail 


The Bob Jones Trail is a great hiking, skating, and jogging route for all levels. Often known as the “City to the Sea”, the paved trail takes a little over 1.5 hours to complete and runs along the Pacific Coast Railroad, through forests and creeks to Avila Beach. 

You can see bridges, a golf course, the beautiful town of Avila, and the ocean while traversing this popular trail. There is also a restaurant along the trail where you can rest as well as eat and drink wine. But we suggest finding a nice spot along the trail and going on a picnic with your family and pets while taking in the amazing scenic views!


Bishop Peak Trail from Patricia Drive


Enjoy hiking through SLO on the Bishop Peak Trail. At a height of 1559 feet, Bishop Peak Trail is a moderate-level 5.5-kilometer trail. The trail is the highest of the Nine Sisters in San Luis Obispo County. It takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes to get from one point to another. 

You can hike, run, and bird-watch. However, bicycles are not allowed. It is a very popular trail, so you might see and meet other people as you go along the trail. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail, so you might even meet some new furry friends too!


Reservoir Canyon Loop Trail


Caves, rivers, forests, waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and vegetation await you at the Reservoir Canyon Trail. An 8.7-kilometer loop at 426 meters, it is a moderately challenging route, taking about 3 hours to complete. 

The complex and lush ecosystem and 360-panoramic views at its peak will leave you amazed. You are welcome to go on the trail anytime you please, as it is open year-round. Make sure to wear the appropriate clothing and gears, and bring water. It can get very hot, and the muddy footpaths can be slippery!


Cerro San Luis Obispo Trail


This trail is 6.3 kilometers and is an out-and-back route. Its highest elevation is 284 meters. It is moderately challenging and takes an average of 2 hours to finish. You can bring your dog, but it has to be on a leash. The shade is spread out, so wear proper clothing and sunscreen for the sun.

This is a very popular place for hiking, running, and walking, so expect some traffic. The view on top, however, is nothing short of magnificent, so it’s well worth it. Look forward to sweeping views of the city, the Pacific Ocean on the distant horizon, cool breeze, and amazing sunsets (if you’re lucky). Take a small picnic with you and enjoy it at the top while taking in the breathtaking views. 


Johnson Ranch Loop Trail: Short Loop


The short loop of the Johnson Ranch Loop Trail is a 3.5-kilometer route. It’s an easy route, taking about an hour to complete. Widely known as an area for hiking, running, and walking, it’s a popular trail where dogs are allowed and can even be let off-leash in some places!

The loop is child friendly, with amazing views of wildlife and foliage. Bring your family along to take in the breathtaking vistas, grasslands, woodlands, and rock outcrops. Make sure to wear the appropriate clothing for the weather and bring hydration.



With all these beautiful hiking trails, you’ll need to rest in between each adventure. At Sands Inn & Suites, you can do just that. Within walking distance of downtown San Luis Obispo, you can enjoy and recharge at our outdoor pool and spa area. Stay with us and explore the happiness and beauty that is San Luis Obispo.

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