The Islay Hill Open Space Trail is a short uphill trek in the San Luis Obispo, California neighborhood. It's hard to believe that you can find such a gorgeous nature hike right in the middle of a neighborhood, but this two-mile path is right there where you least expect it. Islay Hill is actually a morrow, which is an old volcanic peak. At the end of Sweet Bay Lane, you will have to go around a gate to get to the entrance. The first thing you see at the trailhead is that some pawesome dog lovers have hung several leashes on the sign, so you can borrow one if you forgot to bring your own. Yes, Fido has to be on a leash for this trail.
This is an all-natural gravely path, so if you or your pooch do not like gravel, you may want to reconsider. However, those who visit the trail say this is perfect for this kind of uphill hike, so do not let it put you off. Gravel is better than mud, after all. A few minutes into the hike, there is a short footbridge and then some switchbacks taking you up the hill. About halfway up there is a giant oak tree with a rope swing that you may want to try out. At certain times of the year, it is more like a large bush as the limbs reach all the way to the ground. There are some nice natural places to sit here on logs and boulders.
Continuing to the top of the hill, keep to the right, and it gets steep and curves up the mountain with some switchbacks and meadows with poppies and other wildflowers to add some color to the sage brush. At the top, there's a large statue of a cow with some binoculars looking out over the hill. There is also a 10-foot climbing pole with grips where you can climb up and get a better view of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, Edna Valley Vineyards, and Bishop’s Peak. Some hikers say there is also a small notebook there for you to sign your name and date in. And, don’t forget to write in Fido’s name as well. Overall, this trail is a very good workout for those who only have an hour or two, and it is worth it when you get to the top.