At 5106ft, Caliente Mountain Ridge is the tallest mountain in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County. While SLO is known for its tourism industry, wine tasting, beaches, etc, it has a huge amount outdoor recreation opportunities, and some areas in which you can get very remote. Caliente Mountain is definitely one of the more remote hikes in the county. In the spring it offers stunning views of wildflowers, and green grass, with year round scenery and expansive views. On clear days, you can see the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance to the east. The chances of seeing wildlife such as deer, elk, antelope, and even eagles are fairly high.
Getting there/trail details:
Area details and detailed directions can be found at: https://www.calwild.org/caliente-mountain-ridge-trail/
**DO NOT START AT THE TRAILHEAD**
The route does not start on the trail that leaves the trailhead parking lot. Instead, keep driving past the designated parking turn out, up the hill, and when you get to the T in the road, make a left. The route starts and ends at the closed and locked gate, start and stop your GPS accordingly.
The trail itself is a fairly basic out and back that follows the road at first, eventually crossing into the Caliente Mountain Wilderness (at about 3.3 miles in) and becoming single track trail. While simple, the trail follows a notable ridgeline that rolls through the landscape, eventually bringing you to the peak, where you see the ruins of an old fire lookout building, and have the opportunity to fill out a summit register. From there, reverse the route back to the car.