El Chorro Regional Park has many wonderful areas to explore. This park offers a little something for everyone. Botanical gardens, areas to play sports (volleyball, golf, baseball), a garden area, and the thing that attracted me today...hiking. This space was once used by Camp San Luis, as a practice area. Prior to the military taking control, this was pasture/grazing land for cattle. In 1972, the government returned this portion of the land, back to San Luis Obispo County.
This park is a wonderful place for kids, with this hike only adding to the adventure. This trail increases in elevation fast enough to provide a spectacular view, but gradually enough that you'll be able to enjoy the summit without fighting to catch your breath. It's a bit over a mile to the top, so expect to set aside a little over an hour (depending on how long it takes you spend at the top) to make the entire loop.
Once you exit Highway 1, follow Dairy Creek Road about a half-mile. You will need to park in the designated parking area, and walk to the trail head about .2 miles north of the parking lot. You will see the pedestrian gate, along with some brochures to help you learn about the surrounding area. These are a wonderful addition for those looking to slow down and "smell the roses", and are meant to be returned once you have completed your trek to Eagle Rock. With this information you will learn about the different ecology, plants and wildlife, that make this area special.
Just over a half-mile up the trail, you will need to bear right to reach the Eagle Rock Viewpoint. The stunning view, which opens up before you, will reveal the nine morros. From Morro Bay in the north, to Islay Hill in the south, the vista is breathtaking. In my opinion, this is the perfect hike to show people what the "outdoor lifestyle" in San Luis Obispo County is all about. Whether you have friends who have an aversion to the word "hike", or know someone curious about what makes SLO the "happiest town", this is the perfect hike.
After soaking in the panoramas (and posting them to Instagram), head back down the path to the junction. Just as before, keep to the right. You will complete the loop by walking through the Elfin Woods. You're not going to spot Legolas, but you will have plenty of shade as you walk beside Dairy Creek (which until the drought, ran all year) to the sound of water (when nature blesses us with more rain).
Easy to hike so you're not wiped out by the end. Amazing views of the dormant volcanoes that define our landscape. Self-guided tours to educate you on the area. You really can't ask for much more out of a short hike. Head to El Chorro Regional Park the first chance you get, and I'm sure you'll agree.
San Luis Obispo Blog
We look to provide ideas to get folks away from the couch, and out exploring California. We aim to provide day-trips. We want to provide suggestions of things to do, in a single day. Whether you're from out-of-town, or looking to get to know the our magnificent section of California (and beyond) a little better....we want to inspire you to explore.