Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Climbing Cerro San Luis

Granted, it doesn't look like much of a climb, but looks can be deceiving.  The 1300 ft. Cerro San Luis (also known as San Luis Mountain) is located just west of downtown San Luis Obispo in central California.  It is one of nine ancient volcanic peaks known as The Nine Sisters, which stretch from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.  The most famous sister is Morro Rock, which I wrote about two years ago.  In that post, I vowed to explore the other peaks and finally got around to it, beginning with this one.  Only five of them, however, are open to the public.
We parked below the south trailhead at Fernandez Lane and started our climb:  Up and up and up.  It didn't take long before we were above the soaring vultures.  We could see the other sisters in the distance, as well as the city of San Luis Obispo.  The south side of the mountain is dry and hot with cactus, sage and Indian Paintbrush lining the trail.  The views are breathtaking.
Getting to the top is a bit of a scramble over some boulders, but we felt we were on top of the world once we got there.  We stayed on top for about a half hour before going back down via the north side and looping around on the Lemon Grove Trail.  Going up one trail and down the other, adds about two miles to the hike.  The north side, however, is a pretty trail.  You walk under a canopy of oaks and through an old lemon grove and fields of mustard.  The trail is steep and rocky so wear good hiking boots!  We were surprised at how tired we were the next day.  Looks are definitely deceiving!

Two down.  Seven to go!

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