We all know that Paso Robles is known for its wine and wineries, but what if I told you that there’s so much more to Paso than that.
Paso Robles is a family destination as well as a wine lovers paradise. It has parks, museums, golfing, and lots of outdoor adventure opportunities, including some great hikes!
The Paso Robles region, as well as the areas surrounding it, have some absolutely breathtaking hiking trails that are great for the novice hiker as well as the seasoned pro. Whether you’re looking for a paved hiking trail through town or a beautiful walk through nature, the Central Coast of California has some of the best hiking in the state.
Our Favorite Hiking Trails Near Paso Robles
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, something more of a walk rather than a hike, the Salinas River Parkway Trail, located right in Paso Robles, is a 1.6 mile paved (with dirt sections) from the Riverbank neighborhood cul‐de‐sac to 13th Street Bridge, on the east side of the river. This includes a short section of a low‐grade dirt slope. This trail is perfect for a quick walk around the Paso Robles area and is easy enough for those with physical challenges that may prevent them from doing more advanced hikes.
Many access points exist to get down to the river bed, which can be very scenic when the river is flowing during the winter and spring. Walking and biking is encouraged and the section near Larry Moore Park (155 Riverbank Lane) is wheelchair accessible. The trail is accessible from downtown and an easy loop can be created by accessing the trail from the 13th Street bridge and returning on the Niblick Road bridge.
For those looking to create more out of the Paso Robles trail system, the Centennial Park Trail is a 0.92-mile paved trail that can be accessed at its westernmost point just up from the Salinas River Parkway Trail at Navajo Ave. and Mohawk Court. There is also public parking at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson Drive. Visit prcity.com and click on Recreation Services to find the Paso Robles trail map.
Shoreline Trail at Lake Nacimiento
Located west of Paso Robles, the Shoreline Trail at Lake Nacimiento is a 5.6-mile looped trail that gives you incredible views of the lake itself.
You’ll also enjoy the views of the Santa Lucia Mountains as you walk this trail with an elevation gain of about 1100-ft. You’ll also get to experience the local wildlife like deer, hawks, and a variety of native birds as you walk the dirt trail through the countryside.
Cerro Alto is located 20 minutes southwest of Paso Robles, between Atascadero and Morro Bay on Highway 41 West. This 2,624-foot summit takes you to one of the highest points in San Luis Obispo County and provides panoramic views as a reward for reaching the top. Of special note, you will be able to see the volcanic peaks related to Morro Rock looking north to south from Morro Bay to Edna Valley, called the Nine Sisters.
There are a couple of ways to hike to this incredible summit from the Cerro Alto Campground. The quickest route is a steep 1.95-mile ascent. Or take your time with a gradual trail to a junction halfway up the mountain which turns out to be a 2.75-mile route. It’s best to research the trails in advance as there are additional loops that can be combined to create a little over five-mile experience. Don’t forget the water! It can get quite warm on this hike.
Stadium Park is located adjacent to Atascadero’s downtown, which is about 15 minutes from Paso Robles. Take the Highway 41 exit and head east to Capistrano Avenue where you will turn left. Continue along to Hospital Drive to find parking at the trailhead under the bridge of Highway 41. This 26-acre park is a hidden gem and great for a quick hike if time is short. Blue oaks break way to chaparral on this loop hike that with one accent/decent providing a sharp switchback improved path to a more meandering accent/descent at the other end. The summit provides a 360-degree view of the southern edge of the Paso Robles AVA. The trail is popular for mountain biking as well.
Whale Rock Reservoir
Whale Rock Reservoir is about a 20-minute drive from Paso Robles, on Old Creek Road, which is a winding canyon throughway from 46 West to Cayucos. The hike is a 4.1 mile out and back trail with one main access point off Old Creek Road. It’s good for all skill levels and best during the dry months, April till November. The trail is great for hiking, walking, and trail running. Dogs are welcome, however, they need to be kept on leash. Rumor has it that a new mountain biking trail exists on the east side of the reservoir.
Valencia Peak Trail
About an hour outside of Paso Robles in Montana de Oro State Park, the Valencia Peak Trail is a 4.2-mile loop with incredible views of the ocean. You’ll experience about 1000 feet in elevation gain, so if you have a hard time with inclines this may not be the hike for you, but the views of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and the coastline are well worth the trek.
This is truly one of our favorite hikes in the San Luis Obispo area, but may not be suitable for those with physical limitations.
Bishop Peak Trail
Like the Valencia Peak Trail, you’re going to have to drive a little way outside of Paso Robles to access the Bishop Peak Trail, but it will be well worth the 30-mile drive.
This trail is 3.4 miles long and is one of the more popular trails in the area, so expect to run into other hikers. The mountain views that seem to stretch forever are the best part of this hiking trail. You’ll climb about 1100-ft as you traverse towards the summit of Bishop Peak. This trail, again, is for the more advanced hikers and not recommended for those without the physical ability to navigate rocky terrain.
San Luis Obispo is a great area for more advanced hiking and this trail is not one you want to miss.
Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo Hiking Trails
Wine Country doesn’t have to be completely about wine. Take half a day and go out exploring. Paso Robles offers a number of opportunities for hiking and walking as you enjoy the beautiful weather and gorgeous landscapes.
If you’re looking for a more aggressive hiking scene, San Luis Obispo is right down the street and offers up some of the best views of the coastline and mountain ranges that you’ve ever seen.
From young to old, experienced to novice, there’s a hiking trail in Paso Robles Wine Country with your name on it. So set down your glass of wine, just for a second, and take in the beauty that the Central Coast of California has to offer.