Outdoors

SLO County Hike of the Week: Sycamore Crest Trail in Avila Beach

Hiking Sycamore Crest Trail in Avila Beach

The Sycamore Crest Trail off Avila Beach Drive in Avila Beach is an out-and-back hike that winds up the northern slope of Ontario Hill. Most of the hike cuts through beautiful oak groves and lush vegetation.
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The Sycamore Crest Trail off Avila Beach Drive in Avila Beach is an out-and-back hike that winds up the northern slope of Ontario Hill. Most of the hike cuts through beautiful oak groves and lush vegetation.

The trail: Sycamore Crest Trail. From downtown San Luis Obispo, travel approximately 8 miles south on Highway 101. Take exit 195 for Avila Beach, turn right on Avila Beach Drive and travel less than a mile to the trailhead, which can be accessed from Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa.

Distance: Approximately 1 1/2 miles out and back.

Difficulty: Easy. Wide trail with mostly even terrain. The only challenge is the incline on the way up.

Tips: Some hikers use trekking poles to help with the hill as they make their way to the top of Ontario Hill. Hiking the trail in the evening would be perfect for taking in the sunset over Avila Beach. To get to the start of the trail, you need to walk past Gardens of Avila Restaurant and up an access road through the resort.

Dogs: Allowed.

Parking: Parking at the Bob Jones City to the Sea Bike Trail Park and Ride on Ontario Road. Do not park at the Sycamore Springs resort for hiking access.

Facilities: None associated with the trail itself.

Description: This short out-and-back hike winds up the northern slope of Ontario Hill. Most of the hike cuts through beautiful oak groves and lush vegetation. The switchback journey up the hill can be steep at times. When you reach the top, you’re awarded with sweeping views of Avila Beach and Port San Luis to the northwest and Pismo Beach and the Oceano Dunes to the southwest. This trail connects with the Ontario Ridge Trail at the top of the hill, so you can easily add miles and increase the difficulty. A great feature of this hike is the added perk of the access to Sycamore Springs resort for the end of your hike. Tack on the extra miles along Ontario Ridge, and you and your hiking partners will certainly enjoy a hot springs soak.

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