61-Week Hiking Challenge (Week 12) – Lemon Grove Loop
Week 12 was a little disappointing. Arleena and I were super excited to climb yet another mountain, the Madonna Mountain in San Luis Obispo…You know, the one with the M on the side that you see while driving on the 101 freeway. We didn’t do the research to find out that the route that’s marked is the trail only to reach the “M” and couldn’t figure out how to reach the trail to head all the way up to the peak. After looking up the hike on HikesPeak, we realized that the trail we wanted is called Cerro San Luis. We will have to revisit this hike at a later date.
Ultimately we did enjoy this hike especially when we combined trekking up to the M with the Lemon Grove Loop, which extended our hike to 3.67 miles. The beginning made us breath pretty hard, but then it was relatively easy thereafter so once we hit the Lemon Grove Loop we began a trail run which really got our heart pumping. These flatter trails make for a nice run; however, I’m thinking about investing in some specialized trail running shoes, as I need some more stability for these runs.
The views of San Luis Obispo were pretty and I loved hiking through the patches of prickly pear cacti and Eucalyptus trees, but what confused me was that on this Lemon Grove Loop, we only saw 2 puny lemon trees. All this time I thought that the M was for the Madonna Inn and that this mountain was the Madonna Mountain. However, after researching this more I found out that the M represents Mission High School, which can be seen next to the historic mission in the city below. While up at the M, we saw two other mountains with letters on them – P and L. Now we have a new mission – to climb to the letters and find new ones. I know the P is for Cal Poly, but haven’t found out what the L is for. Inquiring minds want to know… Not only am I getting exercise, but I’m getting an education about the Central Coast as well. I’m learning something new every day and I’m loving it!
Difficulty: 3.3 (out of 10)
Beauty: 4 (out of 10)
Distance: 3.67 Miles
Elevation Gain: 604’
Worth It? Yes
Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5)
To get to the trailhead: From downtown San Luis Obispo, take Higuera Street southeast to Marsh Street and turn right. Pass beneath the 101 Freeway, and turn right on Fernandez Lane (the only road on the right before Marsh Street turns on to the 101 South). Turn right into the dirt parking area, and you have arrived.
Trailhead address: 1183 Fernandez Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405