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Hikes in San Luis Obispo


Emily Fagenstrom and Tula Urban
Staff Writers

Getting the opportunity to live in a place as beautiful as San Luis Obispo is a privilege you should take advantage of. Known for some of its more popular hikes, you’ve probably already trekked up to Bishops and watched the sunrise, or visited the “M” on Madonna. Here are a few hikes that you may not have heard about yet, each with something different to offer and some epic views.

First up on our list is Serenity Swing, which draws its namesake from a swing on top of a hill overlooking the rolling hills behind Cal Poly’s campus. Completely surrounded by the green hills of Poly Canyon, you’re bound to get lost in the beauty.

Just past the Architectural Graveyard, Serenity Swing’s 3.4 mile route begins with a smooth start and ends with a steep climb. Towards the end of the hike is when the real struggle starts, where you’re forced to make your last push up an almost vertical hill.

Once you finish your climb, you’re rewarded by lush green hills (best after a recent rain), a nice cooling breeze, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with conquering any peak. Not to mention, you get to release your inner child and go for a swing.

As Hannah Montana once said, “Life’s a climb, but the view is great.” This is the perfect place to catch a good workout while enjoying the beautiful views San Luis Obispo has to offer.

Avila Ridge: green hills covered in flowers soothe the eyes while the fresh scent of the ocean fills the nostrils. This scenic hike has a few starting points, either on Shell Beach Road or at Pirate’s Cove, but most often people start at the latter and loop back around.

Good hiking shoes are a must for this hike as it is a bit rocky and steep. That being said, don’t be intimidated. It is a more than manageable hike with a killer view as payoff. Once you reach the top there is a swing (sensing a theme here?) where you can soak in the view and take a breather.

“I love hiking Avila Ridge right before sunset because once you finally reach the top it’s so refreshing to swing on the swing and watch the sun go down,” said Nestor Ramirez, a third year Cuesta student.

Overall, this hike might kick your butt a little. Go on a day when you are feeling fresh and have lots of energy.

Montana de Oro is a treasured state park right in San Luis Obispo’s backyard. Located a short 20 minutes outside of San Luis Obispo, the park is known for its mesmerizing views and uncrowded beaches. The park is name translates to “Mountain of Gold”, in part because of  all of the golden wildflowers that decorate the hills in spring and summer. The park features remote beaches, cascading hills, rugged cliffs, and coastal plains. Not only can you hike or visit one of the many beaches but the park also includes mountain biking and equestrian trails. If you’re looking for a place to spend the weekend evenings, come and stay at the campsite located across from Spooner’s Cove. Montana de Oro has a little of everything making it the perfect day trip for a hike, a mountain bike ride, a little beach action or a weekend camping trip!

“You are able to lose yourself here and wander along the beaches, tide pools, and get lost in the fields of wildflowers,” Sydney Taylor, a second year Cal Poly student.