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Map of Cerro San Luis

What is Winter Evening Access?

During the months of November through March, while daylight savings is in effect, the hours of use at Cerro San Luis Natural Reserve are expanded until 8:30 PM. The program allows the City to issue up to 65 permits daily for access to approximately 4.9 miles of trails within City property within the Cerro San Luis Natural Reserve from one hour after sunset until 8:30 PM during daylight savings time. Visiting undeveloped open spaces after sunset offers the adventurer unique experiences and perspectives: colors diminish to shades of light and dark, distances become indefinite.

Why only 65 permits?

To reduce impact on nocturnal wildlife, as well as keep our users safe, we only issue 65 permits on any given day. According to the San Luis Obispo Open Space Survey in 2015, the Reserve’s average daily use between the hours of 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM was 65 individuals, despite the City’s existing Open Space Regulations provision that open space is closed one hour after sunset. Therefore, the program limits access to the existing average daily baseline of 65 individuals from one hour after sunset until 8:30 PM during daylight savings time.

Importance of Respecting Wildlife!

This is the time when the heat of the day cools. This is also the time when abundant wildlife, normally reclusive during the daylight hours, begin to appear. Rodents emerge to forage and owls stalk them as prey. Bats feed on flying insects, scorpions, and crickets. Raccoons wander looking for anything they can eat. As trail users, it is important for us to minimize our impacts on wildlife. Make sure you packout everything you pack in and leave no trace. If you see wildlife, observe from a distance and do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals; feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. As you travel the trails, keep your attention focused on the nocturnal; from the night sky to the glimpse of glowing eyes that may shine in your light, always remember that you are merely a visitor in this sometimes eerie dark world.

Night Hiking & Biking Tips

  • Carry flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Bring water with you on your hike or bike ride.
  • Be familiar with the trail and carry an open space map. If you don’t have a paper map, scan the QR code at one of the City’s Open Space boundaries to get a digital map. Remember, most daytime landmarks and reference points are no longer visible.
  • Make sure you pack out everything you pack in and leave no trace. Let’s keep our open space clean.
  • Keep your dogs on leash.
  • When biking, use lights and a bell. Bikers must yield to hikers. Except to see others on the trail, and slow down as you approach turns.
  • If you’re hiking or biking solo, alert a friend or family member of your evening plans.
  • Pay attention to intersection numbers as you pass blade signs. In case of an emergency, call 911 and tell dispatch your location number.

Rules & Regulations

SLMC 12.22.050(B): Presence in Open Space Lands Restricted to Certain Hours – NO OVERNIGHT USAGE.

Additional Standard Rules
Stay on established trail – 12.22.050(P) Dogs on leash – 12.22.050(F)
Bag your dog’s waste – 12.22.050(L) NO smoking – 8.16.040(A)
NO alcohol – 12.22.050(I) NO fires – 12.22.050(M)
NO camping – 12.22.050(B) NO littering – 12.22.050(L)
NO amplified sound – 12.22.050(H)  


When do I need a permit?


A permit is required beginning 1 hour after sunset until 8:30pm when daylight savings is not in effect (November – March).

Usage permits will be granted for hiking or biking.

NIGHT TIME RULES: Presence in Open Space Lands is restricted to certain hours – NO OVERNIGHT USAGE. Open space lands where public access is permitted shall be open to the public from dawn to dusk. It shall be unlawful to enter or remain within such lands between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise of the following day without approval from the director.

[Municipal Code 12.22, adopted by Ordinance 1332 § 1 (1998)]

SLMC 12.22.050(B): Presence in Open Space Lands Restricted to Certain Hours – NO OVERNIGHT USAGE.

Enter Your Name and Email
You will receive an email with a link to your permit for , .
Hello , you are now the hike leader!
Please add the names of all other hikers who will be joining you (maximum of 5 hikers per permit, including children)
Make sure to click the + symbol when done adding names..