Sister Act

Hike Reservoir Canyon to View of 9 Sisters

Nine sisters makes a big family, and it’s even better when they’re all good looking! San Luis Obispo is surrounded by nine ancient volcanoes known as morros, and affectionately called the Nine Sisters. For one of the best views of this family portrait, go on a challenging 5-mile (round-trip) hike in Reservoir Canyon, with an added benefit of a tree swing break. The trailhead is marked by a fire road gate. Hike next to a creek for about a mile before reaching the tree swing, hanging from a large eucalyptus tree nestled between the green hills. After passing several mysterious abandoned metal teepee and fort structures, the final section to the summit is tough, but the reward is worth it. Views span from Islay Hill, the southernmost of the Nine Sisters, to Cerro San Luis and Bishop Peak, the tallest of the morros. Cuesta Ridge, separating San Luis Obispo from the east, stretches in the distance. Keep left and continue up the trail for less than a quarter of a mile; you’ll come to a circular stone bench built into the ground, offering shelter from wind, and more great views.

BONUS: Post-hike, refuel in downtown SLO at the popular Firestone Grill. Their outdoor patio is lively and their tri-tip is world-famous (on the Central Coast!).

From 101 N take the second exit past Monterey St. (last exit in San Luis Obispo) at Reservoir Canyon Road. Drive under half of a mile to the end of the road (cars will be parallel parked on this road on a weekend). The trail is marked by a gated fire road. The Reservoir Canyon hill goes by several names, including Murray Hill, High School Hill, and Lookout Hill. Dog-friendly!

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