Hike of the Week: Serenity Swing in Poly Canyon

A view of the Serenity Swing hike in Poly Canyon.
A view of the Serenity Swing hike in Poly Canyon. smiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The trail: Serenity Swing. Take Grand Avenue into Cal Poly. Turn right on South Perimeter Road and again on Village Drive. Find parking and begin walking on Poly Canyon Road.

Distance: About 4 miles round-trip, depending on parking; about 2 hours total.

Difficulty: The first half is easy and mostly flat, while the latter half is moderate to strenuous.

Tips: Bring hiking shoes or tennis shoes and plenty of water. There isn’t a lot of shade, so sunscreen is advised. A snack might be nice at the top.

Dogs: Allowed.

Parking: If there’s parking near the entrance of Poly Canyon Road at Cal Poly, it’s a short walk to the start of the trail. (Temporary passes run $3 for 2 hours, $4 for 3 hours and $5 for the day.) Otherwise, it might be a bit further to the entrance.

Facilities: There are bathrooms in the Architecture Graveyard (which is worth exploring another time) but aren’t always functioning. No garbage cans.

Description: Once you reach the Architecture Graveyard, keep right on the road, which veers toward a few houses. Stay on the road and pass through two gates. Eventually you will reach a water trough after going up a hill; turn right on the road until you reach another gate. Go through the gate and follow the fence line to the left. There should be an established trail. Continue up the steep hill to the swing. Be careful coming down — the hill is dry and crumbly in late summer/early fall. The hike is gorgeous in spring when the hills are green and offers views of the Cuesta Grade and Cerro Romauldo to the north.