The trail: Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area
Distance: Approximately 6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: East to start; difficult for the final mile to the top (loose rocks, rough terrain, steep inclines).
Tips: Definitely bring water and a snack. I ran it and definitely could have used a drink at the top. Sunblock, or a good hat, is also a necessity as there’s not much shade. A hiking pole could also be helpful on some of the more uneven terrain, especially as you reach the summit.
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Dogs: Yes (but make sure they’re ready for a climb).
Parking: Plenty of space at the West Cuesta Ridge Trailhead.
Facilities: No bathrooms, garbage
Description: From the trailhead on the west side of Highway 101 at the Cuesta Pass, head up Forest Route 29S11, known as TV Tower Road. Follow the road, which starts off paved for the first few switchbacks but quickly deteriorates to mostly gravel. The oak and eucalyptus forest shrouding the path quickly gives way to scrub brush, and that’s when the sweeping views dominate the scenery. Not long into the hike, you can easily see all the way to Pismo Beach and the Nine Sisters to Morro Bay. A mile in, stay right at the fork for an intense two-mile incline up to the TV towers for amazing panoramic views.
Dan Itel, email@example.com
Hiking is a huge part of life here in San Luis Obispo County. As part of Tuesday’s weekly Outdoors section, The Tribune staff will profile an area hike in a feature we’re calling SLO County Hike of the Week.