Located behind the red brick dorms of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is Poly Mountain. This 15 to 25 minute hike will take you past famous landmarks and up golden-brown hills until you reach the top. At top you’ll find a flat, plateau like landscape, perfect for picnicking, kite flying, or taking in the best westward facing view in Slo. It is highly recommended by avid Slo hikers that you make your accent just before sunset.
What to bring:
- Good hiking shoes
- Lightweight long sleeve shirt
- Lightweight pants
It’s a mountain that is hard to miss from nearly any part of Cal Poly’s campus. Most recognize it by the large 50-by-30 foot cement P about halfway up the trail. The landmark has been with the University since the 1920s. As to who placed it there is up for debate, however it makes for a great marker and resting place for pictures or a snack.
Cal Poly Junior, Alex Erler, has been making the hike ever since he discovered the trailhead in his backyard his freshman year. He makes a point of going at least once a week.
“It’s short and sweet.. Literally, round trip is about 30 minutes.. Unless you stop at the top, which I would highly recommend. You aren’t gonna want to leave the top” said Alex.
The trail begins its traverse about 100 yards up the hill just above VGs, a freshman dining hall. You may need to park several miles from the trailhead because parking any closer will result in a ticket.
Most people looking to hike the P park along Slack St. and make their way to toward the back of the dorms where the trailhead lies. However, freshman have it easy enough to exit their dorms and immediately start the climb up.
Austin Ralph, a freshman at Cal Poly this year heard about the hike during WOW week, a freshman orientation program.
“I don’t know what I’ll do next year when I’m not living so close to the P, ” said Austin.
Austin goes up to the P nearly every single day for sunset. Sometimes he is accompanied by his girlfriend, sometimes by a pal, and at other times just himself. Austin finds the top of the P to be a place of rejuvenation, where he can connect his mind and body to mother nature.
“Going up to the top isn’t just any task of the day. It’s a time when I can bond with someone, or just simply think to myself and sort my life out,” said Austin.
Taking 30 to 60 minutes out of your day to get exercise and potentially have some “me” time, is well worth it both physically and mentally. Meditation has numerous benefits: keeps you stress-free, reduces aging, increases your attention span, and much more. And where better than to meditate at the top of the P during a jaw dropping sunset.
For those of you who aren’t the yogi/meditating type, there are other activities to partake in. If your close enough to the base you’ll notice brave souls running the trails that sprawl up and down the mountain.
Susan Brandli, a citizen of San Luis Obispo, and her friends run the P every once in a while. They run as far as they can up the trail, usually stopping a the foot of the cement P on the side of the mountain. From there the group walks up the switchback trails till they surface at the top.
”It’s an extremely tiring workout, but it is well worth it. You feel as though you deserve to be at the top, and my Lord, that view is breathtaking,” exclaimed Susan.
Once they reach the top, they bask in the sun while taking in the view. After passing a jug of water around Susan and her company begin the jog down. She recommends you use caution if you choose to jog your decent. Any wrong step and you could find yourself being stretchered down the rest of the trail by two paramedics.
Just about anyone and everyone who knows what the P is would recommend you pay it a visit. Practically anyone can make the short climb!