61-Week Hiking Challenge (Week 12) – Lemon Grove Loop

By Shannon Gurnee
In California
February 20, 2014
Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

That’s where we thought we were hiking to…

Week 12 was a little disappointing.  Arleena and I were super excited to climb yet another mountain, the Madonna Mountain in San Luis Obispo…You know, the one with the M on the side that you see while driving on the 101 freeway.   We didn’t do the research to find out that the route that’s marked is the trail only to reach the “M” and couldn’t figure out how to reach the trail to head all the way up to the peak.  After looking up the hike on HikesPeak, we realized that the trail we wanted is called Cerro San Luis.  We will have to revisit this hike at a later date.

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Ultimately we did enjoy this hike especially when we combined trekking up to the M with the Lemon Grove Loop, which extended our hike to 3.67 miles. The beginning made us breath pretty hard, but then it was relatively easy thereafter so once we hit the Lemon Grove Loop we began a trail run which really got our heart pumping.  These flatter trails make for a nice run; however, I’m thinking about investing in some specialized trail running shoes, as I need some more stability for these runs.

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Panoramic View at the M

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

The views of San Luis Obispo were pretty and I loved hiking through the patches of prickly pear cacti and Eucalyptus trees, but what confused me was that on this Lemon Grove Loop, we only saw 2 puny lemon trees.  All this time I thought that the M was for the Madonna Inn and that this mountain was the Madonna Mountain.  However, after researching this more I found out that the M represents Mission High School, which can be seen next to the historic mission in the city below.  While up at the M, we saw two other mountains with letters on them – P and L.  Now we have a new mission – to climb to the letters and find new ones.  I know the P is for Cal Poly, but haven’t found out what the L is for.  Inquiring minds want to know…  Not only am I getting exercise, but I’m getting an education about the Central Coast as well.  I’m learning something new every day and I’m loving it!

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

Week 12 - Lemon Grove Loop

These were the only lemon trees we saw…

The P is for Cal Poly

The P is for Cal Poly

What is this L for?

What is this L for?

View of Bishop's Peak that we climbed the other week.

View of Bishop’s Peak that we climbed the other week.

My thoughts:

Difficulty: 3.3  (out of 10)

Beauty:   4 (out of 10)

Distance:  3.67 Miles

Time:  55:07

Elevation Gain:   604’

Worth It? Yes

Rating:  3 Stars (out of 5)  

To get to the trailhead: From downtown San Luis Obispo, take Higuera Street southeast to Marsh Street and turn right. Pass beneath the 101 Freeway, and turn right on Fernandez Lane (the only road on the right before Marsh Street turns on to the 101 South). Turn right into the dirt parking area, and you have arrived.

Trailhead address: 1183 Fernandez Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

About Has 1339 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom 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.

2 Responses to “61-Week Hiking Challenge (Week 12) – Lemon Grove Loop”

  1. Oh, WOW! I wish we had any sort of mountains here in and/or around the Illinois area. All we have are cornfields that I know of which makes for some pretty dull hiking…Those pictures are gorgeous! One day when I visit California I’ll have to look up these trails and possibly give them a try 🙂

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