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General Hike Overview

San Luis Obispo or the city that is commonly referred to as “SLO” is known for its active and outdoor community. From bike trails that extend throughout the city to encouraging locals to walk instead of drive around town, SLO is solidifying its reputation for being a premier active community.

There are several hiking trails that run throughout SLO and the neighboring towns, but a standout is the Bishop Peak Trail. A locals favorite, Bishop Peak Trail is approximately a 3.7 mile round trip hike that provides scenic panoramic views of the city. The first section of the hike is a strenuous uphill trail that winds up to the top of Bishop Peak. With approximately 800 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile, it’s a good workout for any hiker.

The peak features panoramic views of the town, including the local college, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Make sure to use caution when climbing up the rocks at the peak as there is no formal ladder or staircase.

Aurthur and researcher Dan Buettner nicked name San Luis Obispo the “happiest city in America.” After enjoying the picturesque views from the of the mountain, we truly understood why this city earned such an endearing reputation (although happiness is where this is a hiking trail, right?).

If you are looking for a weekend getaway, SLO offers several amenities to make your weekend splendid, including tours of neighboring Hearst Castle, wineries, or enjoying the local biking trails. Bishop Peak just happens to be the icing on top of a weekend with outdoor treats!

Trail Map:

View Bishop Peak Hiking Trail in a larger map

Directions to Bishop Peak Trailhead:

  • From San Francisco/San Simeon: 
    • CA-1 S/Cabrillo Hwy South
    • Turn right on Highland Dr. 
    • Make a Right on Oakridge Dr. 
    • Park anywhere in the residential neighborhood
  • From Los Angeles/Santa Barbara:
    • Hwy 101 N/US – 101 N
    • Exit onto CA-1 N/Toro St toward Morro Bay/Hearst Castle
    • Turn right on Walnut St. 
    • Take the 1st right onto CA-1 N/Santa Rost St
    • Turn left on Highland Dr.
    • Make a Right on Oakridge Dr. 
    • Park anywhere in the residential neighborhood
 What to Bring

When to Go: 

  • Morning/Afternoon: It’s best to enjoy the Bishop Peak trail in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and warmer weather in the afternoon. If you are visiting SLO for the weekend, enjoying this hike in the morning or afternoon also provides plenty of time to enjoy the city.
  • Spring/Fall: Although Bishop Peak can enjoyed year-round, but it’s recommend to enjoy this hike in the Spring or Fall, because the summer months can be too hot and it may not be possible to reach the summit after a rainfall in winter.


How the Trail Looks:  
Boulders near the trail’s summit
Hikers enjoying the scenery
View from 1/2 way point on the trail



  • No, only service dogs allowed.
    Intensity Levels
    • Barry-the-Bear: “Wow! The uphill section of this hike was challenging! I’m glad I brought plenty of water, because we started this hike in the early afternoon and it was already hot! I’m also happy I packed my camera, as there were plenty of cool picture opportunities that I enjoyed sharing with my friends on Instagram!”
    • Larry-the-Lion: “Very good! It wasn’t too tough, but I definitely had to stop at the top for a few moments. The summit is a fun place to relax and take in the scenery.
    • Chris-the-Cheetah: “This was a short “hike” as it was only 1.5 miles up to the top. However, the uphill section was a good workout and I enjoyed bouldering on the rocks at top. I recommend this hike.”  

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