Explore the best trails near San Diego with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
dogs on leash
Great trail. The recent rains have made the beginning of the trail, at hilltop park, a muddy mess, but hey, welcome to the great outdoors. While damp most of the rest of the way, the trail dried up considerably after the first 1/4 mile.
I hiked counter clockwise, nighthawk to miners ridge. The trail is in very good condition and easy to follow (mostly). The basic rule is, stay on the most obvious and well worn trail and you're far less likely to get lost.
As of the writing of this review, the section of trail from the secondary peak to Black Mountain peak IS CLOSED. There is no readily available bypass or alternative to reach Black Mountain from the N/NW. If you're looking at the map, the section I am referring to is from where the map says STUB (slightly NW of Black Mountain summit) to the Black Mountain summit. I do not know the duration of the closure but it is for restoration purposes, so my guess is some time. I tried one of the small goat paths down from the secondary summit to the draw between the peaks (this is not on the map but easy to locate from the secondary summit), but it led only to a stream and no path to the top, forcing me to backtrack to the secondary summit. Essentially, there is no way to the top of Black Mountain from the north without bushwacking and for naturue's sake, don't.
Your options are then to backtrack to Nighthawk and take the short, steep connection to the "thumbs up" on Miner's Ridge Loop to the summit or consider the secondary summit a success all it's own (it still has amazing views).
The five peaks are awesome, but I would avoid this path. The route between Pyles Peak and Mission Gorge Road is totally off trail and much of it is through very thick/dense/sharp brush, trees, bushes, etc. It was almost impossible to get through and we got scraped to hell. It also dumps out out on the outside of a locked fence surrounding a neighborhood. We got lucky and found a gate that was unlocked, but I still feel bad about going off trail.
You can still hit all five in a day, but might have to backtrack after Pyles, then walk over and hit the other three.
Alicia V. on Chollas Lake Park
Love doing the back part of the trail overlooking the baseball field with the city in the view
Alicia V. on Cowles Mountain Trail
It has a very nice view, but it's always crowded here.