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Explore Exciting Hiking Trails in San Luis Obispo County

Two middle aged hikers looking at a waterfalls

San Luis Obispo County is a hiker's paradise! With its diverse terrain and stunning natural beauty, it offers a wide variety of hiking trails for both novice and experienced hikers. Here are seven amazing hikes around San Luis Obispo County that you may have never hiked before:

1. Reservoir Canyon

Reservoir Canyon offers a challenging 5.6-mile hike with stunning views from start to finish. Take your pick from the loop or the trail and discover unique topography and foliage along the way. Don't miss the peaceful waterfall at the base of the hike or the panoramic views from the top. Get ready to breathe in the fresh air and immerse yourself in nature.

2. Harmony Headlands

Discover the hidden gem of Harmony! Only 20 minutes north of downtown San Luis Obispo, this charming town of just 18 people is nestled among the rolling hills and offers a picturesque escape from city life. Take a stroll through the nearby state park, where a 4.5-mile loop trail takes you through quaint marshes and peaceful chaparral grasses, leading to a breathtaking coastal scene. Whether you're an experienced hiker or just starting out, this trail offers something for everyone. Come explore Harmony and all it has to offer!

3. Irish Hills Natural Preserve

The 4.1-mile hike offers stunning views of the Seven Sisters, surrounded by oak trees, open meadows, abandoned mines, and babbling streams. With a 700-foot elevation gain, hikers can enjoy expansive views of the Seven Sisters from the top. Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis may be the most common choices, but Irish Hills Natural Preserve offers hikers the ultimate trail experience.

4. Islay Hill

Looking for a leisurely hike with breathtaking views? Look no further than Islay Hill, one of the underappreciated peaks of the Seven Sisters volcanic mountain chain. At about 2 miles round trip, Islay Hill is the easiest of the Seven Sisters to climb. Once at the summit, hikers are met with the perfect photo opportunity: a ten-foot-tall wooden pole with iron climbing pegs that offers 360-degree views of San Luis Obispo. Don't miss out on the stunning views of Edna Valley and all its vineyards, as well as the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.

5. Pismo Preserve

Looking to explore a wild and untouched section of the California Coast? Look no further than Pismo Preserve! This newer trail offers 10 miles of panoramic views and unlimited opportunities to explore. What was once a 900-acre private ranch is now an open space for the public to enjoy. Come discover the natural beauty of Pismo Preserve.

6. Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area

Discover a hidden gem just minutes away from Highway 101! The Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area hike offers breathtaking views of the ocean and Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Don't let the 1,000 feet of elevation gain deter you from experiencing the unique foliage, topography, and wildlife along this challenging six-mile hike. Start your adventure today!

7. Salmon Creek

Salmon Creek is a beautiful destination that provides a glimpse of the stunning scenery that awaits you on the Big Sur Coast. Located an hour up Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County, this hidden gem boasts 6.5 miles of hiking trails that are lined with lush plant life and rushing creeks. However, the highlight of Salmon Creek is undoubtedly the breathtaking 120-foot waterfall, which is just a short walk from the highway.

San Luis Obispo County is a hiker's paradise with a plethora of trails and natural beauty to explore. From rugged mountains to scenic ocean vistas, there is something for everyone. So, if you're looking for a new hiking adventure, don't just settle for the popular Bishop Peak trail. Instead, try exploring some of the lesser-known hiking trails in the county.

No matter which trails you choose, be sure to bring plenty of water, wear proper hiking attire, and follow "Leave No Trace" principles. So, grab your hiking boots and discover the beauty that San Luis Obispo County has to offer!


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