Overlooking Hwy 101 and San Luis Obispo Bay. Photo by author Dunelair © Sue Moran Thole

Pismo Preserve Offers Miles of Hiking with Fabulous Views

Tantalizingly Close but Unattainable for Me

Published in
3 min readFeb 14

A few years back, I was excited to learn that a local land conservancy had acquired nearly 400 acres that rose above the city of Pismo Beach from Hwy 101 to the hilltops. But we were not to have quick gratification; we had to wait to realize the dream of accessible open space.

The conservancy took years to create hiking trails in this former ranchland. Volunteers helped build trails, but my low fitness level prevented me from joining them.

And when the Preserve finally opened, I was undergoing PT for a problem leg and could not hike. But, in recent weeks, I have found that I need to walk more if I am ever to rebuild strength in my leg. So, I decided to hike there.

Last week, the weather cooperated, and I took my trekking poles and had my husband drop me off (because the small parking lot is usually packed). As I studied the orientation map, another hiker arrived, and he kindly pointed out the short trail to the Lone Oak.

View to SW near trail beginning. Photo by author Dunelair © Sue Moran Thole
View to the west. Photo by author Dunelair © Sue Moran Thole

I knew it would be slow going, but I was content to stop to photograph views. Dozens of hikers raced by me, and I was happy so many were enjoying the beautiful day.

The hills were green from our recent rains, and there were many birds. In addition, there were thousands of yellow mustard flowers and a sprinkling of wildflowers.

After a while, I wondered when I would get to the lone oak. Finally, it came into view after I rounded a bend in the trail.

My view of lone oak from the trail. Photo by author Dunelair © Sue Moran Thole

I was not overly surprised to see that I was not yet halfway there, but I knew not to press on and overwork my gimpy leg. So, I returned to the parking lot, and in a few minutes, my husband arrived early from his aqua aerobics class to pick me up. Perfect timing.

The Pismo Preserve is a glorious asset, and I am grateful for all the donors who made it possible.




: Friend, reader, and photographer with eclectic interests. Loves living on California's central coast. Born and raised in West Virginia.