Hiking in San Luis Obispo County is a way of life. There are hundreds of trails to satisfy any number of desires when it comes to getting outside, whether it’s conquering a 1,000-plus-foot mountain or meandering along a shoreline path.
But when it comes to getting the whole family out, you’ll want to steer clear of the hikes that are more rock climbing than a casual stroll. Here are five hikes that are perfect for the kids and grandma and grandpa that still allow you to breathe in that fresh Central Coast air and soak in the area’s beautiful landscapes.
Getting there: Take Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo into the Cal Poly campus. Turn right on South Perimeter Road and again on Village Drive. Find parking and begin walking on Poly Canyon Road.
Distance: About 3 miles round trip; about a two- to three-hour hike total.
Difficulty: Easy. The walk out is flat and covers about 300 feet of elevation gain — mostly at the end. The walk back is slightly uphill.
Tips: Bring a camera to snap some pictures of the 15 design projects of former architecture and engineering students. Water is recommended; much of the hike out is exposed and the water available in the Design Village is nonpotable.
Parking: If there’s parking near the entrance to Poly Canyon, it’s a short walk to the start of the trail. Otherwise it might be a bit farther to the entrance. Temporary parking passes run $3 for two hours, $4 for three hours and $5 for the day.
Facilities: No bathrooms or drinking fountains. The bathrooms were boarded up as of printing date. No garbage cans.
Description: Stay on Poly Canyon Road until you reach a stone arch. A map of the “Architectural Graveyard” will be to the left. Pass through the stone walls and across the bridge to the Graveyard. If you’re feeling adventurous, cross Brizzioli Creek — which runs parallel to the road — and walk along the running water to the entrance. Just past the Poly Canyon Village there should be a well-worn path leading across the creek. The other side isn’t as flat, so be warned. This is a family-friendly hike that is great for all ages.