Cerro Cabrillo Hike in Morro Bay

My parents just visited me in San Luis Obispo! Naturally I wanted to show them an exciting new hike, and my favorite hikes are ones with ocean views. In the past, we have gone to Avila Ridge or Montana de Oro to hike but this time we went and climbed Cerro Cabrillo in Morro Bay.

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Cerro Cabrillo means “Cabrillo Hill” in Spanish. It is an out and back trail and despite and only being the 6th tallest of the nine sisters at 900 feet, it’s a moderately strenuous hike. The last 500 feet are an extremely  steep ascent involving rock scrambling.

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The turn into the parking lot is off of South Bay Boulevard and when you’re driving, it comes up fast. It can be a hard turn to see from the road, once you are in the parking lot there is lots of room to park your car.

Begin your hike on the Quarry Trail which starts right at the parking lot. This trail will lead you most of the way toward the top, and is straight and flat for the most part at the beginning.

Travel along the Quarry Trail for a while, and when you reach the Live Oak trail junction, still keep on going straight.

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Continue going straight until you see the trail start to curve left and up the hill toward the tiki head. If you hit the Park Ridge Trail junction you’ve gone too far.

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Twinsies

The trail starts to get steeper here, but keep going because the view from the top is worth it.

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Hi, Tiki head!

The naturally formed tiki head can be seen in the face of the rocks on the side of the hill. You’ll be hiking up past him. This starts to be the part of the path which is not maintained by the park, and you’ll have to do some scrambling in order to reach the peak.

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Right before turning left to make the final ascent

The final ascent is a steep 500 feet toward the top in 4 tenths of a mile on a path which is less well-traveled. Be sure to look out for poison oak as you climb in between the rocks.

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Hi mom! Featuring Hollister Peak in the background

As you ascend, you can see Hollister Peak, one of the other nine sisters off in the distance. Hiking shoes or sneakers with a good grip is helpful on this section of the hike. The sharp slope tested the traction of my dad’s shoes at times… most of the time the hill was the winner and my dad/his shoes lost.

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When you complete the boulder scrambling and shoe traction testing ascent, get ready to feast your eyes on 360 degree views of the central coast including Morro Bay and Morro Rock to the North West, Montana de Oro to the South West, and the Santa Lucia Mountains to the East. YAS.

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Mom, dad, and me with Morro Rock in the background

Below is a link to the parking lot at the trailhead.

The address for the trailhead is South Bay Boulevard, Morro Bay, CA 93442.

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