Black Hill is one of the 9 morros, or volcanic plugs, known as the Nine Sisters that range east to west from Morro Bay to the Edna Valley. It is the westernmost of the 5 hikeable morros, with furtastic views of the huge, iconic Morro Rock which rises from the ocean floor at the entrance to the Morro Bay estuary and beaches. Views of the Rock, the Bay and the city of Morro Bay are spectacular from the top, and the climb, although steep in places, is relatively short and do-able for all hikers, including kiddos and doggos!
The trail begins at the Morro Bay Campground near the golf course, where it is sandy and relatively flat, but it soon begins to climb, at first gradually but becoming steeper as it nears the top. To shorten the hike considerably, you can drive to a small parking lot about 200 feet below the summit and hike from there, as well. The dirt trail is surrounded by wildflowers in the spring, and passes through groves of Monterey Pines along a series of switchbacks, as well as copses of oaks. Rocks protrude here and there on the trail, and large climbable boulders are scattered along it. You may begin your hike in foggy conditions, then rise above the mist.
Many species of wildlife make their homes here, including lizards, snakes, mountain lions and birds such as quail and hawks. Butterflies flit from blossom to blossom among the monkeyflower bushes along the trail and fragrant sage is everywhere, as the salty air of the Pacific fills your nostrils. Boulders cover the summit and provide great places to sit and enjoy the view and a snack or picnic. To the south are the bay, its tidal estuarine canals and the Irish Hills. To the east and north, you'll see the Santa Lucia Mountains, and to the west, the vista is dominated by Morro Rock.
Open year-round, this is a furbulous hike for you and your fur-pup, full of sensory adventures all around. You'll want to hike this trail more than once!
Watch out for poison oak along this trail. Mountain lions and snakes make the area around the trail their home. Give them a wide berth if you see them, and don't poke around under bushes or rocks where they may be hiding. Bring mosquito repellant - the biters can swarm at the upper levels of the hike.