Scaling Bishop Peak

Achievement: #39. Hike a Volcanic Plug

Back to trying to fill in the gaps of earlier Achievements we have accomplished, we’ll take you back tonight to one of our West Coast Achievements from our trip to California in April.

If you’ll recall from our post about Morro Rock, we LOVE volcanic plugs. (Well, *I* love volcanic plugs. Michael tolerates them pretty well.) While Morro Rock is not hikeable, some of the other volcanic plugs in the Nine Sisters chain are.

So of course we were like, ‘LET’S GO FOR BROKE AND HIKE THE TALLEST ONE!’

Bishop Peak Hike
Behold, the totally lovely Bishop Peak.

(Also behold how far from the start of the rock you are at the trailhead. That becomes important later.)

Bishop Peak Hike
Bishop Peak is a natural preserve, and there are several hiking trails along it. There’s also an opportunity for some rappelling later on, if that’s your scene.

Bishop Peak
You can access the trailheads at two points: one route is much steeper but shorter, and the other is longer but less steep (we thought ‘oh, the less-steep longer one will be best!, but it took FOREVER). We used some maps we found online through EveryTrail, but even with the maps, it was a little tricky at times.

Bishop Peak Hike
We set out quite early, which was a good idea: it can get HOT up there the later you wait.

Bishop Peak
In the morning, there’s a big of a fog hanging around, but it cleared before we were even to the bottom of the actual peak.

Bishop Peak Hike
The trail signs were a bit confusing through parts: there was no clear marking of which was the fastest, or best way to get up the hill. We did a LOT of wandering, but the sights were pretty great and the weather was just perfect, so we didn’t mind much.

Bishop Peak Hike
You do go in and out of wooded areas on the trail, which provides some nice shade at times.

Bishop Peak Hike
But always ahead of you is this. And it never, EVER seems to get closer. Ever.

Finally, there came a point where we got *totally* lost. We made a wrong turn, trying to follow the tiny trail that winds through the grass, and we wound up on the complete opposite side of the hill from where the hiking switchbacks are. This added maybe a mile and a half to our journey, but it made us ANGRY!

Bishop Peak Hike
At last, we started to wander into a little stretch of woods that didn’t seem like the right place… but when we saw this sign, we knew we were on the right track at least!

(Pro-tip: there will likely be hikers around when you go for your trip, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you get where you’re going. You’ll need all the energy you can get, and wrong turns take a lot out of your tank!)

Bishop Peak Hike
As you round the corner to the series of neverending switchbacks, you encounter a TON of rocks. Cool-looking rocks, but be cautious climbing up and around them. (The dogs who hike Bishop Peak love those rocks and will make you feel like an old lady after watching them move with such agility!)

I did not even take a picture of the neverending switchbacks because I was SO MAD at them by the time we even found them.

But really, they’re a lifesaver, if you aren’t a rockclimber.

This is when the view starts to get pretty awesome, though.

Bishop Peak Hike
Here’s Cerro San Luis, which is one of the easiest of the Nine Sisters to point out from Bishop Peak.

Bishop Peak Hike
And finally, at last, after days and days and days, you reach the end of the switchbacks!!! WOOHOO!

Bishop Peak
There was a nice fellow-hiker reaching the top about the same time as us (there are benches to sit at the top), and she took a picture of us in triumph!

Bishop Peak Hike
If you’re interested in doing a bit of rockclimbing, you can get even HIGHER up. I went about halfway up the rocks before the whole ‘vertigo and anxiety’ double-feature started to hit me. But it sure was fun! (They recommend that you *don’t* partake in this last stretch of the hike, but many people around us were doing it.)

Bishop Peak Hike
However, the best part of the hike is sitting at the top and just taking in the breathtaking view. Bishop Peak goes a full 1500+ feet into the sky from start to finish, and the payoff is totally worth it.

(And don’t worry, the hike back down is much, MUCH faster!)

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Filed under #39, #39-13, bishop peak, california, central coast, exercise, hiking, morro rock, nature, outside, volcanic plug, west coast

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