Cerro Alto Campground Los Padres National Forest San Luis Obispo Morro Bay camping camp

Ah, what could be finer than a night beneath the pines and oaks at a cozy campground in Los Padres National Forest? A peaceful camping experience awaits at Cerro Alto Campground, located just off Route 41 between Morro Bay and Atascadero in San Luis Obispo County. The year-round campground has 22 sites spread out along a mile-long road in an oak-shaded canyon below Cerro Alto.

Sites at Cerro Alto Campground are fairly private and perfect for tent camping. Campsites may be reserved online or in person for $25 per night (price as of 2018). Fire rings, charcoal grills, and picnic tables are at each site, and pit toilets and potable water spigots located throughout the campground. Some sites are situated atop stone retaining walls along the side of the road, adding extra privacy. The campground is set in a partially shaded canyon carved by the East Fork of Morro Creek. Lush vegetation enhances the feeling of isolation at Cerro Alto Campground in the Santa Lucia Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest.

Cerro Alto Campground Camping
A campsite at Cerro Alto Campground

Cerro Alto Campground sits at 1,000 feet above sea level at the base of the 2,624-foot Cerro Alto, one of the highest points in San Luis Obispo County. Trails depart from the campground for the summit for a strenuous but scenic day hike. To venture beyond Cerro Alto Campground, take the short drive down to Morro Bay. Hit the beach or check out one of the great trails in Morro Bay State Park. There are plenty of great hikes around San Luis Obispo to explore.

Cerro Alto Campground Camping
Campsites alongside the trail to the summit of Cerro Alto

For more information, contact the camp host at (805) 461-5626 or call the Santa Lucia Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest at (805) 925- 9538.

To get to the campground: From Morro Bay, 13 miles northwest of San Luis Obispo on Highway One, take Route 41 northeast for 7.2 miles to the turnoff for Cerro Alto Campground on the right. From Atascadero, 16 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 101, take Route 41 southwest for 9 miles to the turnoff for the campground on the left. Bathrooms and campsites are spread out along both sides of the road. Proceed one mile to the campground registration area at the end of the road. The trails to Cerro Alto begin from the end of the road.

Campground address: 13741 Cerro Alto Road, Los Padres National Forest, Morro Bay, CA 93442
Campground coordinates: 35.426966, -120.749323 (35° 25′ 37.07″N 120° 44′ 57.56″W)

Use the map below to view the campground and get directions:

View Cerro Alto in a larger map
Or view Central Coast trails and campgrounds in a larger map


Cerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto CampgroundCerro Alto Campground

These photos were taken in December of 2011 and August of 2014. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Cerro Alto Peak HikeCerro Alto
This semi-loop bags the 2,624-foot summit of Cerro Alto, plus a scenic ridge south of the peak, for a 5.35-mile hike with 1,600 feet of elevation gain.
Cerro Cabrillo Peak Morro BayCerro Cabrillo
This 2.5-mile out and back hike summits the highest mountain in Morro Bay State Park, a 911-foot member of the Nine Sisters.
Portola Hike Morro BayPortola Point
This 2-mile loop explores a short hill just east of Morro Estuary in Morro Bay State Park.
Eagle Rock Viewpoint Nature TrailEagle Rock Nature Trail
This 2.4-mile hike in El Chorro Regional Park climbs 450 feet to Eagle Rock Viewpoint for an overview of the valley between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.
San Luis Obispo hikesMore hikes in San Luis Obispo
Explore other trails around San Luis Obispo including Morro Bay State Park and Montaña de Oro State Park.

10 Comments on Cerro Alto Campground in San Luis Obispo

  1. al wrote:

    is a good place to use a pop trailer

  2. lynette wrote:

    we are wanting to camp in the san luis/morro bay area sometime during the second week of april, but do not know exact dates. Cerro Alto looks wonderful… but we don’t want to make reservations for specific nights. Is it possible to call them the day we arrive or just show up there and pay for the night when we get to the campground?

    • hikespeak wrote:

      I don’t think there will be anyone to call ahead to on the day of your visit, but you can register for a site when you arrive if they are not all full.

  3. stacy wrote:

    this was an awesome place to camp. we only stayed one night but Mike, the ranger, was really nice. it’s very quiet, with less than 20 sites and was just so peaceful. i wish i could have stayed longer!!!!

  4. Charles wrote:

    We stayed for three days in July. Loved the seclusion and majestic oaks, sycamores, and pines. Easy drive to the beach. Ocean influence brings clouds/fog/cooler temps at night; burned off by 10 the next morning. Warm to hot during the day in unshaded areas. There are extensive areas of poison oak, throughout the camp and on trail-sides. All-in-all, a wonderful camping spot.

  5. ABC wrote:

    Do the first come first serve sites typically fill up quickly on weekends?

  6. ewa wrote:

    I just booked the campground but had to book two nights even though I can make it just for one but it says that if i don’t show up the following day by 7am they will cancel my reservation. Are they that strict? I don’t like that idea…

  7. Greg P Toberman wrote:

    It says no camp fires. But there are fire rings. Are fires permitted in the fire rings?
    Please advise.
    Thank you

  8. David wrote:

    We are a group of mature campers who want to have a very well monitored campfire in a ring. We want to camp somewhat near Atascadero. We want to hike. We have dogs.
    Is there anywhere we can do this?

Ask a question or share your experience

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *