Bishop Peak, at 1559 feet, is the highest of the Nine Sisters (or Morros) in San Luis Obispo County. The peak is the centerpiece of the Bishop Peak Nature Reserve, and can be accessed from trailheads on either Patricia Drive or Highland Drive. From the trailhead on Patricia Drive, the trail starts as a wide dirt path climbing west uphill to a fenced gate, where you enter the Ferrini Open Space. At a curve in the road, turn left onto a narrow trail just after a short stretch of pavement. Staying on the paved road will lead uphill to a water tank, and the Felsman Loop Trail, which later re-intersects our route.
Switchbacking through open oak woodland, the trail emerges into an open area near a seasonal cattle pond. Follow the main trail uphill to another cattle gate, where the signed Bishop Peak Trail branches left. The trail then goes through a shaded forest, passing a popular rock climbing area before emerging into open chaparral on the south side of Bishop Peak. A series of switchbacks lead up to the saddle between the west and east summits of the peak. At the saddle, a bench marks the end of the maintained trail. The east (and slightly lower) summit can be reached from here by a short scramble over sandstone boulders. On top, there are outstanding views of the entire San Luis Obispo area, including nearby Cerro San Luis Obispo to the east.
- The Bishop Peak Natural Reserve is open to hikers and climbers only - no bicycles.
- The sign for the Patricia Drive trailhead is not visible from the road. Park along the street, being careful not to block a private driveway.
- This trail is extremely popular with local hikers and is considered a rite of passage for Cal Poly students, so expect lots of company on the weekends and holidays.
- Exercise caution when scrambling on the boulders at the summit. There have been numerous fatal falls in this area over the years.