61-Week Hiking Challenge (Week 11) – Bishop’s Peak

By Shannon Gurnee
In Beauty
February 10, 2014

Bishops Peak

Last week, Arleena and I climbed a mountain – literally – we climb a freaking mountain!!!  In all my years since I’ve lived here on the Central Coast, I’ve always looked at Bishop’s Peak saying, “one day, I’ll hike up that mountain.” And I cannot even tell you how accomplished I feel for completing that trek.  It is quite daunting to stand at the base and look up at these tiny little moving figures and realizing that those are people climbing up the trails.

Bishops Peak

Bishop’s Peak is the most sought after summit in San Luis Obispo. It is the tallest of the Nine Sisters, the picturesque volcanic The Morros stretching across San Luis Obispo. The rocky three-pointed summit, which the padres at the San Luis Obispo Mission imagined resembled a bishop’s miter, stands 1,559-feet tall.  Where we started, we were already at 316-feet.  That means we still had to climb an additional 1,243 feet!

Bishops PeakBishops Peak

Bishops Peak

Starting at the trailhead off of Foothill Blvd., we headed through a horse pasture up what seemed like nothing less then a 45-degree dirt hill.  After we stopped panting, the trail got a litter easier but trickier when we had to maneuver up boulders and somewhat hidden trails.  With a slight climb, we came to the rest of the trail, which consisted of several switchbacks.

Bishops Peak

Once we reached the peak, we saw two benches both dedicated to hikers who “chose to climb,” but lost their lives too early on the mountain.  This made us wonder – “who climbed this mountain with a freaking bench on their back”?!?  Now that’s dedication.

Bishops Peak

If you choose to get higher and climb the top boulders, the grand rock offers a sweeping vista overlooking Cal Poly, downtown San Luis Obispo, Cerro San Luis, Laguna Lake, the Santa Lucia Mountains, and everything in between.  However, exploring the west end of the peak is a bit trickier, but also quite fun. Massive boulders piled at the summit create windows and grottoes that are interesting to traverse. Getting to the top of these rocks requires technical climbing, but partial views are rewarded to bouldering hikers.

Bishops Peak

Bishops Peak

Bishops Peak

After exploring the boulders and taking in the picturesque views, it was time to head on down.  We chose to jog down.  You have to be careful with the uneven rocks and go slowly though the boulders halfway down.  We were laughing the entire way down trying not to slip and fall.

Bishops Peak

Bishops Peak

Bishops Peak

Bishops Peak

Now that we’ve explored one of the Nine Sisters, I want to climb them all!  I’m looking forward to sharing those hikes in the near future.

Bishops Peak

My thoughts:

Difficulty:  9 (out of 10)

Beauty:   10 (out of 10)

Distance:   5.48 Miles

Time:  1:26:12

Elevation Gain: 1,243 feet

Worth It?  Absolutely!  Especially on a clear day.

Rating:  5 Stars (out of 5)

To get to the trailhead: ** From the 101 Freeway in San Luis Obispo, take exit 203 B to Highway 1 North. Drive north for one mile toward Morro Bay and turn left onto Highland Drive. Continue another mile to the cul-de-sac at road’s end. Roadside parking is available. Alternatively, you can start from the lower trailhead on Patricia Drive, which is also used for Felsman Loop Trail.

****Note:  We did not start at this location.  Instead, we exited Los Osos Valley Rd. from the 101 FWY and headed West for about 3 miles to Foothill Blvd.  After about a mile there is a turn out on the left hand side where cars park.  You have to slip through the fence but there are distinct trails headed up through the horse pasture.



About Has 2213 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

16 Responses to “61-Week Hiking Challenge (Week 11) – Bishop’s Peak”

  1. Shannon Gosney says:

    LOL – Looks like you had a great time! 🙂

  2. Beautiful pictures and it looks like you girls had fun too!!

  3. This is awesome! There isn’t that much hiking near where I live, but we love to go on vacations where there is good hiking. #SITS

  4. Shana Norris says:

    I love the idea of this hiking challenge. I’d have to get pretty creative where I live here in the mostly flat, landlocked Midwest, in order to mix up trails, etc. Your trail was gorgeous!!


    • Caroline Hileman-Schaffer says:

      Thanks, Shana. We are pretty lucky to have nice trails out here, and I’m sure I’ll end up doing a few several more times before this challenge is over. The point is to get my butt out there and moving!

  5. Rosey says:

    That looks like it was fun! Good for the two of you. #GalsRock 🙂


  6. Looks beautiful! Congratulations on climbing your mountain!

  7. Savanna says:

    This looks like it was fun. Very pretty and scenic! You took some fun pictures!

  8. Sara says:

    Congrats on the hike!! It always feels great to accomplish a long set goal. Love the pictures too. Beautiful shots!!


    • Caroline Hileman-Schaffer says:

      Thank you, Sara! I really did feel great to finish it. And now every time I drive past it I can say I conquered that mountain 🙂

  9. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. Only once did I balk – at the highest point at Lassen Peak. Fortunately the trail was closed. Your hike looks beautiful can’t beat that for views.

    • Caroline Hileman-Schaffer says:

      Wow, Lassen Peak? Did you climb any of the mountain? I had to look it up & it looks hard, like HARD! Maybe I’ll add it to my bucket list 🙂

  10. Roaen says:

    Wow, go you! Looks like it was an awesome hike, and what an amazing view! I’m curious about your 61-week hiking challenge; is it one hike a week?

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