Bishop Peak, San Luis Obispo CA


• 5-star hike
• 3.3 to 3.8 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 920 to 1,160 feet
• San Luis Obispo, CA | Central Coast Region
• Driving Directions: Highland Dr, Patricia Dr

The singular prominence of Bishop Peak protruding above residential buildings. Green meadows, rocky outcroppings and a bird of prey in the blue sky.
Bishop Peak, tallest of the Nine Sisters.

California Summits (Lassen Peak)
California Summits
Explore mountain-top hikes around California with Trailspotting.

Bishop Peak is the tallest of the Nine Sisters, a linear chain of volcanic mountains that form a striking geological feature from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo on the central Californian coast.

Hikes to Bishop Peak's summit begin at one of two trailheads on the eastern flank of the mountain, which converge and continue upward at a moderate and consistent grade. Views of the surrounding landscape quickly reveal themselves, then expand further as you trace a route clockwise around the mountain before tackling a series of switchbacks to the summit. From the top you can make out the chain of the Nine Sisters, with Cerro San Luis to the southeast as the most prominent.

red icon Highland Dr, purple icon Patricia Dr, Expand Map

red icon Highland Drive 5★
3.3 mi, Out-and-back, Medium, Gain 920 ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

purple icon Patricia Drive 5★
3.8 mi, Out-and-back, Medium, Gain 1,160 ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Both routes feature similar narrow dirt trails that meet up at Cattle Pond, where we appropriately found several cows grazing on lush meadowland. Just a little further up Bishop Peak Trail pass by a side trail for rock climbers and enter a woodland section that offers temporary shade from the sun. This is the only shaded part of the trail, so we recommend appropriate sun protection and plenty of water.

The switchbacks that lead to the summit might continue upwards at a similar gradient, but the increasingly rocky terrain transforms the route into something of a stairmaster challenge. The trail concludes at a bench that rests in a saddle between two distinct peaks. Comprised of remarkably large boulders, each of these peaks can be scaled with some effort and it is only from the very top that you're rewarded with the best panoramic views around San Luis Obispo and toward Morrow Bay's coastline to the West.

A man stands on the summit, dwarfed by the massive bare rocks of Bishop Peak Summit.
Taking in the views from the 1,550ft summit.

Pond in the foreground reflecting the blue sun. Bishop Peak's northern facing flanks stand proud.
Cattle Pond, with grazing cattle just out of frame.

Hiker walking up a dirt trail that's just wide enough for two.
On Felsman Loop Trail from Patricia Drive.

Single track trail through green, shady woodland.
Sole shady section, approaching the half-way point.

Rolling green peaks in the middle distance, with residential sprawl on the flattest land. Some green meadows, blue sky and a tall rocky outcropping on the left side of the frame.
Hillside views from the Bishop Peak Trail.

Massive dome of rock, reflecting off a watery beach after sunset.
Nearby Morro Rock is another of the Nine Sisters.

Tangents:
• Official Link: SLO County Parks
• Wikipedia: Bishop Peak, Nine Sisters
• Public Map at AllTrails: Highland Dr, Patricia Dr

More photos, leave a comment:
Facebook Icon Trailspotting Facebook Group
Reddit Icon Reddit at r/Trailspotting

California Waterfalls: McWay Falls
California Waterfalls
Trails to some of California's greatest waterfalls.

San Francisco Bay's Best Trails
For great hiking trails throughout the Bay Area check these out.

Los Angeles Best Hikes
LA's Best Trails
Explore the natural side of LA with Trailspotting's Best Trails feature.
Bluesky Icon   Facebook Icon    Flipboard Icon   Instagram Icon   Mastadon Icon   Reddit Icon   RSS Feed Icon   Threads Icon
Subscribe for new trail reviews weekly

Trailspotting is non-commercial, ad-free and for the public good. Share and enjoy!
Content provided without warranty of accuracy. Copyright © 2005-2024 Stuart Green all rights reserved. Reproduction requires explicit consent.
About Trailspotting.