Road Trip Final Day: Ontario Ridge

This may be the best coastal hike we’ve done so far!

You can do this loop either clockwise or counterclockwise. We happened to do it counterclockwise and at the end we were glad we chose to do it this way. If you are like me and have acrophobia, I recommend doing it this way as well. There are multiple access to this trail. We started from Shell Beach.

Plug in the GPS coordinates (provided below) in to your GPS app and park on El Portal Dr near there. End of Bonita Street, you will see the trail access. Once you are on the trail, turn right. After 0.1 miles, turn left on the trail that’s going up north. This uphill soon meets up with Ontario Ridge Trail and when it does, turn right. At 0.25 miles, stay on your left. You will continue to gain elevation and have the view of San Luis Obispo on one side and the view of San Luis Obispo Bay on the other side.


We haven’t even start the real climb yet! It’s steep but very doable. A little bit of scrambling is required in this section.


We thought the top of that hill was the highest point of this hike but it wasn’t. 🙂 Meanwhile, we had a great view of San Luis Obispo Bay and the nearby beaches – Pismo Beach, Shell Beach & Avila Beach – along the way.


When we reached the top, we found a swing near the T-Mobile towers which is not visible when you are hiking up. What is it about a swing that makes you feel instantly like a kid again? Love it! There is another swing in a better location not too far away if you keep going. It’s kind of hidden away from the trail but you can see it on your left. I would’ve gone in and taken a picture for you but it was already occupied by a couple so I didn’t want to disrupt their private moment.


At 1.30 miles, you can either stay on Ontario Ridge Trail and make this hike shorter if you’d like or take Sycamore Trail on the right. Sycamore Trail soon became shady and cooler. And slowly but surely we started to go downhill. You know what that means. We’ll have to climb back up eventually.


After 0.28 miles of peaceful stroll, we met up with Ontario Ridge Trail and we were faced with 0.4 miles of steep uphill. This section kicked by butt! 😀 Look at Xena taking a breather and wondering how much more she has to go. Haha!


Ahh…at last we were presented with the view again. It’s all downhill from here. Just take in the view and enjoy the rest of the hike. When you come to a split at mile 2, turn right.


Best view of San Luis Obispo Bay!


As you know, Xena likes to roll on plants, grass, bushes, you name it… Well, she found this prickly plants to roll on. When she was finally satisfied, she walked out of the area looking like this. Her butt was in a worse condition. They were stuck between the layers of her fur. Ridiculous! First, I checked for ticks then had to remove those as much as I can.


Would you look at her vest! Guess who had to pull out those things one at a time next day before putting it in the washing machine.


Last hill before you reach Cave Landing Rd. This is the hill I’d rather go down then go up. I recommend shoes with good traction. Turn left on Cave Landing Rd and continue on to Shell Beach Bluff Trail which will take you through a neighborhood of impressive water-front properties. You will come out to Indio Dr. Turn left on El Portal Dr and you are done!


Perfect ending to our fun spring road trip! This should be on everyone’s must-dos when visiting San Luis Obispo area!

Good to Know:

  • Hike date:  4.16.16
  • Trailhead:  35.175980, -120.702903
  • Distance (RT):  3.5 miles
  • Elevation gain:  738 feet
  • Free street parking in the residential area
  • No restroom

Happy Hiking!

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Road Trip Day 2: Pet-friendly SLO

This is a sequel to my previous entry Road Trip – Spring Edition

Next Stop: Lunch at Santa Barbara

5 things you should know before going to a restaurant with your pup if you desire an enjoyable dining experience:

  1. Check on Yelp (or other website you rely on) ahead to make sure the restaurant outdoor patio is dog-friendly. When in doubt, call the restaurant and confirm.
  2. Pick a time when it’s not the busiest time. After rush lunch hours or before the dinner crowd fills the restaurant is the best. You will get a better service and your dog will be more relaxed since it’s not chaotic.
  3. If you can find a table away from the high traffic area, grab it. When your dog is relaxed, you can also relax and enjoy your meal.
  4. Be courteous to other diners in the restaurant. Keep your dog near you and have him under your control at all times.
  5. If your dog does not have a good table manner at home, you might want to re-consider…at least for now until he is trained. There will be more people to beg and more food to steal. 🙂

We arrived at State & Fig around 1:30 PM. The cozy outdoor patio was inviting. We got a table in the back as I hoped. I asked for a water bowl for Xena. She drank some water, sniffed around then settled under the table. After the awesome hike, we were hungry. We relaxed and enjoyed our meal. I recommend their burger with fig jam! 😋 Don’t worry, I gave Xena after-hike treats so her belly was happy too.


I love driving through scenic Los Padres National Forest on route 154. Xena feels little uneasy when the altitude changes and the pressure in her ears bothers her. I wonder if her ears pop like ours. How else would they release the pressure? Me talking to her nonsense during that time seems to help her.

Next Stop: Pismo Beach

We arrived at Pismo Beach around 4 PM. We would be staying here for next 2 nights. Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge received 5 bones on and it did not disappoint us. We got a dog-friendly room with an ocean view. There was a plenty of parking spaces close to the building entrance and conveniently, there was a Pet Relief Area (a small grass area) near the entrance. So far, so good. Then, we entered our room and found this welcome package for Xena. Pawsome!🐾  Now, I was impressed.


and Xena was impressed with the view from the patio and the pet play area below. The pet play area rocks! It is clean and very spacious. We played fetch there before dinner both evening. A poop bag dispenser is available as well.



Next day, after the free continental breakfast at the hotel (they have non-dairy options. Just ask!), we got on the road.

Destination: Justin Winery in Paso Robles

Justin Vineyard

Justin Winery is about 50 miles north from Pismo Beach. Another pretty drive. Outdoor shady patio and dining area are dog-friendly. Our wine steward brought out a water bowl and a treat for Xena.



Never been to a wine tasting room and would like to try? Here are some tips for wine tasting room etiquette if interested. Most wineries have dog-friendly patios. Some of them even allow dogs in their tasting rooms which is awesome! Just make sure to confirm by checking their website or calling them before you go. Here is a list of dog-friendly wineries in the Pismo Beach area if you’d rather stay near by the beach.

By the time we got back to the room, we all needed a nap. 🙂 That was pretty much the 2nd day of our trip and it was a nice day. I will continue with the last day of our trip in the next post. I can’t wait to tell you about the trail we explore! Best coastal hike with incredible views!


Bishop Peak

This is a sequel to my previous post SLO, Perfect Getaway.

On the last day of our trip, we had free breakfast at the hotel then headed out in our hiking gears. This time, three of us. This is a popular hike with the locals so go early if you plan to do this on a weekend. There are some shaded areas in the first 0.75 miles or so but the rest of the way to the peak is uncovered.

Bishop Peak

Bishop Peak

I love finding heart shaped rocks. A love message from the mother nature. 🙂

The trail ends at a bench that has a sign says END OF TRAIL. Some continued on and climbed the rocks to reach higher points. To be honest, it makes me feel uncomfortable when people hike off the trail. …especially when there is a sign like this at the end of the trail.

View from the top - Hazel enjoying the view from the End of Trail bench.

Hazel enjoying the view from the top

Good to Know:

  • Rated moderate / Out and back
  • Total Distance:  3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  942 feet
  • Dogs on leash
  • Free street parking available at the trailhead

Happy Hiking!

SLO, Perfect Getaway

A trip including hiking and wine tasting is a perfect getaway in my book any time. Recently, I traveled to San Luis Obispo (a.k.a. SLO) with my sister for a few days to do just that. Xena was a trooper and tolerated the 3.5 hour long car ride. We arrived at a dog friendly Best Western which is located a mile outside of downtown SLO. The hotel was conveniently located for everything we were there for. Best of all, it was walking distance from the scenic Laguna Lake Park. The park has a off-leash (no fence) dog park. Wish I had known that before the trip. I would have brought ChuckIt with us. We still enjoyed exploring the park during our morning and evening walks. After checking in to the hotel, we went to Big Sky Cafe in downtown for a late lunch. Food was great and service was even better! Their outdoor patio was Xena friendly. Hazel and I enjoyed our delicious lunch with a glass of wine and Xena enjoyed watching humans and dogs go by and occasional food findings under the table. It’s like a treasure hunt for her. Next, we drove to dog friendly Kelsey See Canyon Vinyard for wine tasting. Hazel enjoyed their wine so much, she even signed up for a membership. image Have you heard peacocks communicate to each other? I’ve been around peacocks before but this was new to me. One lets out a high pitch squeezing sound – I don’t know how else to describe it – then the rest follows. It’s alarming when they all participate. Needless to say, my ever cautious I jump at my own shadow Xena was on an alert mode the entire time. Maybe a sip of wine is what she needed in hindsight. 😜 When the peacocks showed off their intricate feathers, she quietly watched them. They sure are beautiful creatures. We planned on hiking next two mornings. One trail was Xena friendly and the other one was not. We chose to hike the the latter next morning. The road trip, lunch outing, wine tasting and peacocks, enough excitement for one day for Xena. I knew she would be happy to stay back and chill on my bed. Next morning, while Xena was taking a nap in our hotel room, we went to Montana de Oro State Park and hiked up to Valencia Peak. Since the trail isn’t dog friendly, I don’t plan to have a separate blog post for it. But it was such a memorable hike I want to share some photos with you. Enjoy! These photos are also available on Instagram.

View of Spooner’s Cove from the peak

View of Morro Bay from the peak