If you are adventurous enough to join us for a zipline tour here on the rugged Santa Margarita Ranch, then chances are you love the great outdoors.
On that note, we thought that you might be interested in the following ideas for five amazing hikes in our neighborhood, all of which allow you to experience the stunning coastal beauty of San Luis Obispo County.
East Cuesta Ridge Trail
This trail begins on the east side of Highway 101 toward the top of the Cuesta Grade, just a few miles from our office. It follows the coastal Santa Lucia Mountains that border Santa Margarita Ranch, and from the ridge you can see all the way to the ocean. A full round trip to the radio towers on Mount Lowe covers seven miles, but you can make it a shorter hike and still enjoy amazing sights. This hike is largely moderate with some strenuous parts.
West Cuesta Ridge Road to Botanical Area
This trail begins on other side of the highway across from the East Cuesta Ridge Trail. A broad fire-road path leads you into the coastal chaparral, eventually revealing breathtaking views of Morro Bay and Morro Rock, as well as Bishop’s Peak and Cerro San Luis. At about three miles in, you reach the Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area, featuring digger pines and rare Sargent Cypress trees. There, you can turn around to make it a moderate six-mile hike.
Santa Margarita Lake Trails
Just 10 miles from our office, you will find Santa Margarita Lake (which is finally full again after our big rains this year!), where there are numerous trails to explore, including the Rocky Trail to the Salinas Dam overlook; the Grey Pine Trail; and Blinn Ranch Trail. Most of the hikes at Santa Margarita Lake are easy to moderate.
This four-mile hike begins off Pozo Road near Santa Margarita Lake. It zigzags through grassy slopes with wide-open views of the Santa Lucia Mountains as well as Pozo Valley. This hike ranges from easy to moderate, and instead of turning around at the two-mile point at Little Falls, you can extend your adventure down the Little Falls Trail if you are feeling spunky.
Cerro San Luis
This is one of our region’s most iconic hikes, with a trailhead beginning near the Madonna Inn west of downtown San Luis Obispo. This is a moderate uphill 1.5-mile hike to the top of the mountain, where you are rewarded with stunning panoramic views (pictured above) of our region, from the city to the sea.
HikeSlo.com is a great resource for these and other local hikes, as is the book Day Hikes Around San Luis Obispo. Simply put, among the best things to do in San Luis Obispo, hiking is right up there with ziplining.
Always remember: Safety first. So bring plenty of water, nutrition and sunscreen, and let a friend or loved one know where you are going and when you expect to be back.