Pismo Beach Preserve - The Rad New Backyard for the Central Coast.

Pismo Beach Preserve - 11 Miles of Trails


STATUS December 2016: The Land Conservancy of SLO released a statement, "The Land Conservancy originally planned for a fall 2016 opening, but during the design and environmental clearance process unanticipated requirements were revealed, thus raising the cost of the project and increasing the time required to complete it. In addition, offers for in-kind services to help with the construction have not yet come to fruition."

The statement describes that "The Land Conservancy now estimates a late 2018 completion date for full build out of park amenities including parking, restrooms, and an ADA-accessible trail. The project is expected to cost an estimated $4.8 million to complete; significantly more than was expected at the start of the design process. This is in addition to the $12 million already raised for completing the purchase of the property in 2014."  

Click the following slideshow for various views of the Pismo Preserve trail system. Thanks to the Land Conservancy of SLO and the Pismo Preserve Trail Project team for the images.  


The 900 acres include dramatic gnarled oak woodlands along the northern faces and canyons, sweeping grasslands and coastal chapparal throughout. The property also features a dramatic 1,000' elevation increase with massive panoramic views from Port San Luis Obispo to Point Sal. 

The property remains under the non-profit private Land Conservancy control and will be open to the public from dawn-til-dusk with free admission. Low impact, passive recreational use on the property will be permissible for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. No camping is currently planned for the project. Expect it to be similar to the Johnson Ranch Loop. Thanks to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo, Pismo Preserve Trail Project and Giberson Photography for the following images. 

Currently, the Pismo Preserve is not open to the public as trail-building continues. If you wish to volunteer your time with the trail building and gain early access to the site, you can connect with the Pismo Beach preserve trail project website.  Volunteer slots have been filled for the month of February, but the Land Conservancy is seeking volunteers for March, 2016.  

SLO being the community it is, means volunteering may be competitive. Reached for comment, representative Frank Zika states "We have two shifts of 10+ volunteers going out 5 days a week and no real advertising requesting volunteers. SLO is a different world. Equestrians, mountain bikers, trail runners and the Sierra Club all working together. The trails are like butter, very gentle, very sustainable, world class views and you just want to run when you're on them." 

Preserving the Pismo Beach Preserve has been a collaborative effort from the beginning between numerous public, private and nonprofit agencies and will provide massive recreational draw for the central coast. The Land Conservancy anticipates 3,000 visitors a month visiting the trails. 

Field Crew Leader, Scott Couture, described trail building progress, "We have completed about 6 miles of trail in the first 7 weeks of the project, about 3/4 of a mile a week.  Which, thanks to the 15 to 20 volunteers a day for five days a week, is an amazing pace." Couture adding, "The effort out here in conjunction with the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB) has been nothing short of incredible. At this pace, our trails should be completed by late spring, and should have time to season before our slated opening in the fall."  We are excited with the meteoric rate at which the trail builders are working. Hopefully, this suggests the possibility of an early opening. Hats off to the project team. 


The Pismo Beach Preserve was originally owned by the PB Coast View LLC, a company set up for the sale of the land, which closed escrow in September of 2014. PB Coast View LLC approached and offered the Land Conservancy the parcel initially. No public information is available on the individuals/investors who benefited from the sale of the 900 acre parcel.  

PB Coast View LLC received $10 million for the parcel, but another $2.3 million was needed to pay for public access improvements, including construction of a parking facility off Mattie Road and funds for an operational endowment. Massive public support secured the remaining necessary funding for the project within record time.  


Funding source breakdown: 

  • $8 million  - State Coastal Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Board
  • $3 million  - Local and regional government agencies
  • $1.3 million - From the community

Check out this sleek video produced by the Land Conservancy on the Pismo Beach Preserve featuring terrific aerial images and flyovers of the acreage to get a better idea of the scope and recreational opportunities here. 

The Californist is beyond excited about the recreational and natural conservation prospects the Pismo Beach Preserve grants the Central Coast. The Californist is supporter of public land conservation, promotion and restoration and will continue to encourage the efforts of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo and its partners.  Check out our pieces on our favorite California garden designer and our list of the best California botanical gardens if you enjoyed this article. Here's a piece that the SLO Tribune ran in late February with video footage of the trail building progress.