The Islay Hill Open Space Trail is a short uphill trek in the San Luis Obispo, California neighborhood, and right on Islay Hill, a morrow left over from an old volcanic peak. It's hard to believe that you can find such a gorgeous nature hike right in the middle of a neighborhood, but this 1.8 mile round trip path is right where you least expect it.
At the end of Sweet Bay Lane, you can park and walk around a locked gate to get to the start of the trail. The first thing you can often 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. 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 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, where you can get a pawsome 360 degree view of the surrounding area. 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. Be sure to bring water to share with your adventure pup, and some clean-up bags.
The Islay Hill Open Space 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! Enjoy with your pup today!