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Trails & Open Space | Ranger Services works to provide both educational and recreational opportunities to the community of San Luis Obispo. The City's 7,000 acres of designated open space promise to have something for everyone including rugged hiking trails, challenging mountain biking and leisurely scenic pathways just minutes from downtown.


View Open Space and Trail Maps here.

Bishop Peak
Cerro San Luis
Irish Hills
Islay Hill
Johnson Ranch
Laguna Lake
Reservoir Canyon
South Hills
Stenner Springs
Terrace Hill 
All Open Space

Trail Updates
Please note that updates occurring over the weekend may not appear until Monday morning.

Open Space Status as of: 1.21.20



Bishop Peak


Cerro San Luis


Irish Hills Areas (3): 


  • Madonna trail head
  • Prefumo trail head
  • Sterling trail head

Islay Hill



Johnson Ranch


Laguna Lake


Reservoir Canyon


Use Creek Bypass trail

Bowden Ranch



South Hills



Stenner Springs



Terrace Hill




Ranger-led hikes

Ranger led hikes are a great way to learn more about the open spaces you enjoy. Rangers cover topics from flora and fauna to local history of open spaces. These hikes are also a great way to get to know your local rangers and ask questions about the Ranger Service and responsible use of open space. - Rain cancels - 

JAN 12 @ 10:00 am - Irish Hills
Route: Sterling to Canyon View to Froom Loop
Difficulty: Difficult (2-3 hours)
Rangers will have a plant scavenger hunt for you to check off
flora you see as you hike. Please meet at Sterling Lane trailhead.

FEB 9 @ 1:00 pm - Reservoir Canyon
Route: Hike to Boardwalk
Difficulty: Moderate (1-2 hours)
Join us in Reservoir Canyon to hike past serpentine outcrops and learn about flora aside the trail. We will be focusing on wildflowers in bloom. Please meet at the Reservoir Canyon trailhead.

Ranger Climbing Chat - NEW! 
March 1 @ 1:00 pm - Bishop Peak 
Place: Cracked Wall & P Wall
Duration: 2 hours 
Join us at the cracked wall and p wall to climb and hangout with the Rangers. Please note we are not teaching climbing but providing an opportunity for our climbing users and rangers to interact. 

March 10 @ 5:00 pm - Cerro San Luis
Route: Lemon Grove Trail
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult (1-3 hours)
Meet Professor Jen Yost Ph.D as she teaches us about
wildflowers throughout a hike on Cerro San Luis after work.
Jen plans on continuing outside City Open Space for an optional more strenuous hike (2 hours additional). Please meet at the Cerro San Luis Natural Reserve trailhead.

March 15 @ 1:00 pm - Irish Hills
Route: Froom Creek Connector to Phyllis Lookout
Difficulty: Medium (2-3 hours)
Learn about wildflowers while you hike with botanists Nishi Rajakaruna & Kristen. We will embark from the trailhead at 1pm. Please meet at the Madonna trailhead. To reach the trailhead from Highway 101, take Los Osos Valley Road north towards Los Osos.

April 5 @ 9:00 am- Bowden Ranch
Route: Bowden Ranch Trail
Difficulty: Advanced (1.5 hours)
We will be hiking up Firefighter Trail in search of late wildflower blooms on the serpentine outcrops and grasslands of Bowden Ranch. This trail is under a mile long but steep with a 1,140ft climb in elevation so please plan accordingly. Please meet at the Bowden Ranch trailhead. To reach the trailhead take Johnson Ave south and turn left onto Lizzie Street.  Proceed straight, following the road as it curves to the right passing the San Luis Coastal Adult School on your left.  Bear left when the road comes to a fork.  Trailhead is up on the right. 

Ranger Led Bike Ride - NEW! 
April 16 @ 10:00 am - Johnson Ranch
Join the Ranger Service for a mountain bike ride through the hills of open space. Please bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and don’t forget your helmet! This event is bring your own bike so please plan accordingly!
Difficulty: Intermediate (2 hours) 
We will be biking the entire Johnson Ranch Loop. 

April 26 @ 11:00 am- Reservoir Canyon
Route: Reservoir Canyon Creek Bypass Loop
Difficulty: Intermediate (1.5-2 hours)
We will have a scavenger hunt of common flora and fauna you can check off along the way! We will be hiking part of the Reservoir Canyon Loop to the Creek Bypass trail up to the boardwalk and back to the waterfall. Meet at Reservoir Canyon Trailhead.

Volunteer with the Rangers

Wednesday Workdays

Meeting every Wednesday at 8:45 AM. An opportunity for volunteers to gather and work on trail maintenance in City-owned open space. Currently working on Morning Glory and various projects.  Email Ranger Niels Grether at to check location and for more information.- Rain cancels -  

Saturday Workdays

Volunteers assist City Rangers twice per month on specific sections of the open space in need of maintenance. All workdays run from 9am to 12pm - Rain cancels -         

January 11 – Reservoir canyon – pulling invasive weeds.  Meet at the end of Reservoir Canyon Rd., coming from SLO, take 101 North about 1 mile past Monterey St. exit. Turn right onto Reservoir Canyon Rd.

February 22 – Cerro San Luis – pulling invasive weeds. Meet at the cul de sac at the south end of Hill Street.

March 21 – Irish Hills – post rain repairs as needed.  Meet at Madonna Rd. Trailhead (Roundabout at Madonna Rd. and Eto Cir.)

April 18 – Bishop Peak – post rain repairs as needed. Meet at Patricia Dr. Trailhead (near Patricia Dr and Anicapa Cir)

Thank you, devoted volunteers!

The Parks and Recreation Department appreciates the many community members who consistently strive to maintain and protect the thousands of acres of City open space and trails.

Open Space Guidelines

(805) 781-7302
Email Us

For the safety of all users
, including hikers, cyclists, trail runners and others, please comply with the following:

  • Access Permitted from Dawn to Dusk ONLY
  • Camping Prohibited
  • Stay on Designated Trails
  • Wear Proper Hiking Shoes
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks
  • Dogs Must be on a Leash
  • Pick up after your Dog
  • Pack it In, Pack it Out
  • ID card, first aid kit and cell phone
  • More Information 


 Open *expect closures this weekend
*Expect closures this weekend