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Black Hill Trail - Morro Bay State Park

Climb up to Black Hill with great views from the summit.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  Black Hill is the second to last of nine volcanic plugs that lie between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay (the last being Morro Rock... more »

Tips:  This short and scenic trek requires just the usual hiking gear: good shoes, layered clothing (these coastal areas are about 30 degrees... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead and Monterey Pine Trees

The hike starts just past the group camp restrooms. Look for a trail leading into the forest. The Monterey Pines along the trail were planted by John Fleming, a former park superintendent. He accidentally ordered too many trees for another project and used the left-over trees on Black Hill. Unfortunately, many are dying due to Pine Pitch... More

2. View of Black Hill and Cabrillo Peak

This is a lovely spot to enjoy the view of the two closest of the Nine Sisters, the nine volcanic plugs that lie in a line between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

Cerro Cabrillo (also known as Cabrillo Peak) is the third to last of the Nine Sisters. The area surrounding Cerro Cabrillo is popular with hikers, climbers and mountain bikers. It was ... More

When you come to the golf course, you will want turn right and walk along the edge of the course. After the course the trail heads back into the forest.

This golf course is one the loveliest golf courses on the central coast, and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Two of the strengths of the course are the beautiful views of the ocean and... More

4. Eucalyptus Trees and Monarch Butterflies

Take a deep breath and enjoy that eucalyptus fragrance! The eucalyptus tree is a member of the myrtle family, and of the 700 different species of eucalyptus, only 15 occur outside of Australia. These trees are a favorite roosting place of the migratory monarch butterflies which pass through each fall and winter.

Beginning in mid-October and... More

5. Steeper Section

At this point the trail becomes a tad bit steeper. Be prepared for switchbacks and perhaps some siding during the rainy (muddy) season. If you come to a junction, you should bear left to continue on the steeper grade.

6. Parking and Gate

This parking area is a good alternative for those not wanting to do the entire hike but who would like to enjoy the view from on top of Black Hill. Although the road to the parking area is supposed to be open during all daylight hours, some report this is not reliable.

After the parking lot, the trail passes through a gate and then continues... More

7. Summit

Black Hill summit stands at 640 feet, giving one a fine view of Morro Bay Estuary, Cabrillo Peak, and Montana De Oro State Park to the south. The peak was formed over fifteen million years ago by underwater volcanoes. After the sea subsided, erosion removed the softer rock, leaving Black Hill and eight other volcanic formations (including... More