The tallest of the nine sisters, Bishop peak (sometimes referred to as Bishop's peak) is a popular hiking, climbing, running, and bouldering destination. Bishop peak is located within Bishop peak natural reserve, one of the city's open spaces. A topo map of the trails in the open space can be found here. The trail to the top of the peak is a popular hike due to the great view of SLO from the top. A brochure with more information on the history, vegetation, geology, and wildlife of the open space can be found here.

Its name is a literal translation of the original Spanish name, Cerro Obispo. It is said to have gotten this name because of the similarity in appearance of rock formations at the top of the mountain to a bishop’s mitre (hat).1

It was quarried a great deal in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and its stone has gone into the breakwater at Port San Luis, to foundations, curbs, and walls in the city of San Luis Obispo, as well as to significant parts of buildings such as the First Presbyterian Church and the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum as well as the former San Luis Obispo High School building.2


Bishop peak trail:

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation: 1,546 feet

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Estimated Time: 2 hours


Bishop peak is well-known among climbers for its high-quality dacite rock and many established climbing areas including sport, trad, aid, and bouldering.

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  1. Mark P. Hall-Patton Memories of the land: placenames of San Luis Obispo County EZ Nature Books (1994) p. 24
  2. Sharon Lewis Dickerson Mountains of fire: San Luis Obispo County’s famous Nine Sisters—a chain of ancient volcanic peaks EZ Nature Books (1990) pp. 46–50