For an easily accessible, dog-friendly hike in San Luis Obispo, look no further than the Irish Hills Natural Reserve! Just 3 miles from downtown SLO, this 720-acre site contains over 8 miles of trails that welcome hikers, mountain bikers, and four-legged adventurers! Diverse landscapes and puptastic views make the Irish Hills a favorite spot among locals seeking a quick escape from the city.
Ranging from easy to moderate, the reserve's many trails are pawfect for exercising your energetic pup in the morning, or going for a leisurely stroll after work. Admire the natural beauty of SLO as you and your pooch weave your way through the park's oak, chaparral, grassland, and riparian habitats. The 0.3-mile Bog Thistle Trail, which begins at the parking lot on Prefumo Canyon Road, is the only hiking-only path on the site. It is also the shortest route, but connects to the 2.9-mile Mariposa Trail for a longer trek. Sections of pavement and loose babyhead rocks make up this path, which stretches from the north to the east entrances of the park and links to many other trails and spurs.
From the Mariposa Trail, you and Fido can access the 1-mile Morro View Trail, which leads to the apex of the reserve. Enjoy pawsome views of San Luis Obispo, Laguna Lake, the Los Osos Valley, and the Nine Sisters as you climb up to the summit. Another highly scenic route is the King Trail, which can be accessed from the Madonna Road parking lot. Designed by mountain bikers, this 1.1-mile trail will have you and your best bud traversing green hillsides and multiple creeks.
Whichever routes you take, always practice proper petiquette by keeping your pooch on a leash and cleaning up after them. Remember that you and Fido will be sharing the trails with not just fellow hikers, but also mountain bikers. Head for the Irish Hills for outdoor fun that's just minutes from the city!
Much of the trails are out in the open, so bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water!