The city of San Luis Obispo prides itself on surrounding open space where dog-friendly hiking trails dot the hillsides. The most popular and certainly the most rigorous of these day hikes is local landmark Bishop’s Peak.
Tallest of the Nine Sisters, Bishop’s Peak is a 3.5-mile, out-and-back trek with an elevation change of more than 1,200. Named for the crown of volcanic rock that resembles a bishop’s miter, Bishop’s Peak was once used to quarry rock for the city of San Luis Obispo and for the First Presbyterian Church downtown. Today, Bishop’s Peak is the most popular summit in the city and is often voted "Best Hike" in a local poll. Normal hike times range from three to five hours, and temperatures along the trail will vary, becoming quite hot in summer. Be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and Tessa even when the weather is cool, as this is a strenuous outing.
There are a number of trailheads, but DogTrekker recommends starting at the Patricia access point. Please be careful not to block residential driveways when parking here. As the trail begins ample signage directs hikers down the fire road to fork in the pawthway. It is here at the trail junction that hikers wishing for a longer hike may detour to the right on the 2.7 mile Felsman Loop prior to ascending the hill or veer left to the clearly visible Bishop’s Peak.
The rocky trail up the to the top of the hill winds through a variety of habitats. Beginning through a shaded forest of native oaks and the old quarry, follow the pawpath up to the exposed switchbacks and ridge trail. The brushy route continues upward to the pinnacle where hikers are rewarded with a 360-degree view of San Luis Obispo. The volcanic line of the Nine Sisters is evident from this vantage point, and the views on a clear day are a spectacular panorama of natural and human-made beauty.
Ready to quench your thirst with a frosty beer after your long hike? Pappy McGregor's is a short drive away. The inviting patio at this locally owned pub is dog-friendly, warm and always fun, and the pub grub is delicious and reasonably priced. The beer and wine list is primarily local, although the traditional Irish beers are always on tap.
When it’s time to put your paws up for the night, make sure to stay at the pooch-perfect Petit Soleil Bed and Breakfast. Strategically located near downtown San Luis Obispo, this charming spot is perfect for further exploration of San Luis Obispo.