Five Favorite Hikes Around Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach is starting to cool down and Summer weather has made way to Fall. There is no better time than now to start hiking. Not only is it a great way to get out and enjoy the wonderful place we live, it’s also a good way to start a routine before the “eating holidays” begin! So, here is a list of five of my favorite hikes in and around Pismo Beach.

Hike # 1 – Pismo Beach Preserve

The Pismo Preserves offers a range of hikes for all levels of fitness and experience. All trails are one-way, single path and are used both by bikers and hikers. The hikes through the Preserves offer breathtaking coastal views from Pismo Beach to Avila. The trails are dog friendly, but they must be kept on leash. There’s a parking lot where the trails begin can fill up quickly at crowded times so the sooner you leave in the morning the better. Alternatively, there is extra parking off Highway 1 if you don’t mind adding a little extra time and steps to your hike.

Trails include:

  • Vamanos Canyon to High Road is a 1.3 mile loop with an elevation gain of 209ft and is good for all skill levels, so feel free to bring the kiddos along. This trail is great for all youth from infants riding in a pack to the active toddler looking to get their wiggles out.
  • Spring to Spring Trail is a 3.8 mile loop with an elevation gain of 488ft and is good for all skill levels. Although it is not too difficult of a hike it should be noted that the trail does not offer much shade so be sure to bring extra water and hats to keep cool from the heat and sun.
  • Discovery Trail is a 5.4 mile loop with an elevation gain of 669ft and is rated as moderate.
  • Discovery and Panhandle Trail is a 7.7 mile loop with an elevation gain of 1,128ft and is also rated as moderate.

These are not all the trails available on the Preserves but, as a family hiking with a small child, these are our favorites.

Hike # 2 – Shell Beach Pirate’s Cove

Cave Landing and Pirate’s Cove from Shell Beach Bluff Trail is a 2 mile hike with an elevation gain of 252ft that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. The trail is partially paved and great for kids. This trail is dog friendly, but they must be kept on leash. The parking lot for this trail is at the end of Cave Landing Road off Avila Beach Drive.

Hike # 3 – Grover Beach to Pismo – Monarch Butterfly Grove

Monarch Butterfly Grove and Meadow Creek Trail is a 1.5 mile out and back trail that features beautiful wild flowers, scenic views over Grover Beach, and is good for all skill levels. Half of this trail is along the boardwalk that turns to a sandy dirt path. Prefect for the kiddos to get out, run around, and see some of the Monarch Butterflies. As an added bonus, the trail is also stroller friendly. Primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching, the trail is accessible year-round and is dog friendly as long as they are kept on leash.

Hike # 4 – Sycamore Springs/Avila Beach – Sycamore Crest

Sycamore Crest Trail is 1.5 miles with an elevation gain of 498ft. This out and back trail, located near Avila Beach offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The best place to park is at the Bob Jones trail head and walk .5 miles to the Sycamore Hotel opening just past the “Secret Garden.” Follow the trail to cross over the green pedestrian bridge until you get to Sycamore Springs Resort, keep going up the hill to the right of the resort until you reach the trail head. This trail is shaded by trees most of the way until you reach the top. Once at the top, the views are spectacular. The top of the trail T’s to a left and right, both of which lead you to a swing at each end. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Our list could not be complete without Hike #5 – The Bob Jones Trail!

Bob Jones City to the Sea Bike Trail is a 5.1 mile out and back trail. This trail is paved with asphalt, smooth and mostly shady for walking, running, or cycling. It’s great for all ages and runs along San Luis Obispo Creek to Avila Beach. It is typically at least 8 feet wide with a painted dividing line along most of the trail. There are many stops to rest along the way so grab a bench by the water for a quick treat or visit the Woodstone Marketplace for a coffee or some lunch. This trail will likely be navigable for most wheelchairs/mobility equipment and stroller users and is dog friendly if they are kept on leash. The Bob Jones Trail is defiantly one of the most popular trails for families with littles.

I hope we’ll be seeing you on the trails soon!



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