Trip Report - Miossi Open Space

2021 Feb 27

While not yet officially open, SLO Parks new Miossi Open Space seems to be nearly complete, with trails, gates, and an interpretive display kiosk near the entrance.   I took a hike through this new acquisition today and thought others might like to see what it has to offer.

Parking is at the bottom of Stagecoach Road off Highway 101 at the base of Cuesta grade.  

There are actually two starting points.  One can hike directly up the old ranch road, or one can begin a couple hundred feet south at a mountain bike trail that switchbacks uphill a short distance before joining the ranch road.  I chose the latter as that is where the kiosk is located. 

panorama trail
La Cuesta Ranch Road connects to Panorama Trail (click for larger image)

The ranch road goes steeply uphill for a short distance and then levels out after you come around on the west side of the ridge.  As you contour along the hillside there are views to the south towards Reservoir Canyon.  A large ranch house stands out in the middle distance.  

ranch house
A large ranch house visible from La Cuesta Ranch Road.

After 0.8 mile you'll reach a junction near the railroad tracks where the Panorama Trail begins.  A few steps later the trail goes through a large pedestrian culvert that allows passage under the tracks. 

The pedestrian culvert under the railroad tracks.

After passing under the railroad the trail takes a long switchback and proceeds gradually uphill for half a mile where a junction with the Rollercoaster trail is encountered. 

Panorama - Rollercoaster jct
Trail junction where Rollercoaster crosses the Panorama Trail.

If you take the left hand branch it takes you to a vista point with a bench.

Vista point with bench (in foreground).  In the middle distance Poly Canyon Road can be seen heading west towards campus.

panorama trail
The Panorama trail continues gradually uphill towards the ridge.

End trail
End of Panorama trail at the open space boundary (about 1.8 miles from trailhead).

trail sign
Trail sign at end of Panorama trail.

kiosk being built
A kiosk under construction at the upper end of the Panorama Trail.

One can return to the start from here, or climb the hiker ladder to get past the gate and continue uphill on the Rollercoaster trail.  As you know, Rollercoaster has some very steep and loose sections, but takes you to W. Cuesta Ridge road.  From there one can descend to Cuesta Pass and take Stagecoach road down the hill back to the parking lot.  This makes for a nice loop hike of 7 miles and about 2000' elevation gain.  I completed it in 2 hr 45 minutes at a moderate pace.


There isn't much really unique or special about the new open space trail, although the vista point is pleasant.  What is exciting about it is that it provides a safe and convenient way to complete an entire loop hike from Rollercoaster to Stagecoach.   There isn't any shade on Rollercoaster and it can be quite breezy along the ridge.  The loose gravel on Rollercoaster needs careful attention.  For me, going up Rollercoaster seemed less treacherous than coming down it.  Overall I give it two stars. 

Hiker Resources

map preview
Rollercoaster - Stagecoach loop (click for printable PDF).

Photo of kiosk map.