Posted by: cvancil | July 24, 2009

Cal Poly Canyon Hike

Straight from San Luis Obispo Lodge’s newsletter!  This fantastic hike – brought to their attention (and mine) by the SLO chapter of the Sierra Club –  looks pleasant and fun for experienced hikers and those of us who start wheezing when trekking up a small hill.


As you probably know, Cal Poly University is only about a half mile from the Lodge. The campus is the gateway to one of the nicer walks in SLO, up Cal Poly Canyon.

The Canyon features a creek that has water most of the year (and torrents in winter), and the path (really an old ranch road) begins alongside the creek heading north and east. It is a mostly gentle walk, especially at the beginning, but it does climb 700 vertical feet over about 5 miles. It winds through open space and rock outcroppings up to the railroad tracks below Cuesta Grade. The return loop follows the north side of the Canyon through some beautiful old twisted oaks, sycamore, and laurel trees.

The path passes the Cal Poly Design Village, a nine-acre outdoor site for experimental architectural works by Cal Poly architectural and engineering students. Some of these are “interesting” (as in, not maintained) and others are “funky” (as in, not maintained but cool). The walk is a little uphill, but it is fun to see this collection of very different ideas about building.

This walk requires a little climbing (it’s no Bishops Peak), but it is rewarding for those who want to see how close to nature we are in SLO. Be sure to check in with Cal Poly parking to get a permit ($5 per day) and find out where some authorized spaces are.


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