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Spanning the green-tinted coastal plains between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo is a chain of 20,000,000-year-old volcanic peaks known as the Nine Sisters. Summit the highest of these dormant volcanoes on this 3.5-miler to Bishop Peak. There are three trailheads leading to Bishop: this route begins at the middle trailhead off Highland Drive. Start by heading north through a thick grove of trees featuring gigantic oak trees branching over the trail. At mile 0.2, you’ll hit a Y-junction and connect with the Bishop Peak Trail, which curves around to the west before ducking back into the woods.
Emerge from the forest for a second and final time before circling through Bishop’s open upper reaches. After negotiating a series of quick switchbacks near the summit, turn around for a southern view of Cerro San Luis Obispo flanked by Laguna Lake and the western outskirts of town. Continuing on, climb a short stretch of stairs before reaching Bishop’s boulder-crowned peak. From the 1,560-foot summit, notch aerial views of Morro Bay and Morro Rock to the west, San Luis Obispo and Cuesta Grade to the east, and Laguna Lake to the south. Retrace the route you hiked in on to return to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Travis Lesicka
- Distance: 5.6
Location: 35.301156, -120.68917
Parking is available next to the trailhead off Highland Drive.
Location: 35.301502, -120.690029
Head west into the trees for one of the hike’s several shady stretches.
Location: 35.303344, -120.691096
Bear left at Y-junction to connect to the Bishop Peak Trail. Right fork leads to lower trailhead at Patricia Drive.
Location: 35.302286, -120.694052
Pass cliffs popular among top-ropers near mile 0.5.
Location: 35.301173, -120.693379
Poison Oak lines the trail: proceed with caution.
Location: 35.299162, -120.694429
Bear right to stay on the main trail. The left fork leads to an alternate trailhead at Foothill Boulevard.
Location: 35.303249, -120.691842
Bishop Peak, seen from mile 0.3 of the trail.
Location: 35.302656, -120.69078
Duck under the sprawling branches of a massive tree to break out of a brief stretch of forest.
Hallway Of Green
Location: 35.300859, -120.692829
Duck through a final stretch of woods before reaching the summit.
Cerro San Luis Obispo
Location: 35.300986, -120.697346
As you near the top of Bishop, look south for a view of Cerro San Luis Obispo. Laguna Lake and southwest San Luis Obispo are visible in the background.
Location: 35.301638, -120.698011
Climb a quick series of stairs before reaching the peak.
Location: 35.301967, -120.696917
Bishop Peak is adorned with a crown of scattered boulders.
Location: 35.302036, -120.69648
Reach the top of Bishop Peak. At 1,560 feet, it’s the tallest of the Nine Sisters, a chain of volcanic peaks around the area.