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Parking lot & turnouts full. Paid $20 for valet parking near store. Started hike off Sturtevant trail at 8:15 a.m. Took us 4 hours to reach summit (Observatory) and 3 hours to return/ loop around through Wilson trail (Upper Winter Creek). Return trailhead is off the cafe parking lot, however it is not marked.Tracker recorded 15.5 miles.Don't be deceived, it's a strenuous hike. Beautiful mountainous views.

Love it. Plan for 7 hours to the Bridge and back to parking. >11 miles not 8.9 as stated on All Trails.

Beautiful wilderness area. Lightly trafficked. Takes between 4-5 hours to complete. Bring 6-8 liters of water and 2,000-3,000 calories.if summiting in winter bring emergency blankets in case you need to bivy at the top.

great hike, every hiker in SoCal should do this at least once, however, it is very heavily travelled. if you enjoy some seclusion on your hikes this is not it

it's decent. very heavily trafficked. it's a challenge for a new hiker definitely!

Morning and daytime (during cooler weather) hikes here can be extremely busy! I go at night (bring head gear or hand flashlight). When using a flashlight at night please be mindful of either sticking your beam on the trail or just turn it off until they pass (some hikers prefer using the natural moonlight). Don't shine it in their eyes! It's rude and unsafe. Once at the summit, incredible views!

it was great hike.

We did an 6am morning hike and it was perfect not too many people going up or coming down.

Beautiful hike, many river crossings and scenic sights. Bring lots of water and keep track of your steps because it’s easy to get lost since there’s almost not a single sign

no water right now, very overgrown. would be great in season

Beautiful hike, many river crossings and scenic sights. Bring lots of water and keep track of your steps because it’s easy to get lost since there’s almost not a single sign

Beautiful hike, many river crossings and scenic sights. Bring lots of water and keep track of your steps because it’s easy to get lost since there’s almost not a single sign

I underestimated this hike a bit. It is definitely harder than I thought. But depending on the trail you take it could be easier. Landslides have removed part of the old trail so you have to travel on the dried up river bed which is fine. A lot of shade. Towards the end there was a clearing for sun but it is overall shady. Lots of river crossings. Bring some good boots or waterproof shoes. Some extra socks would be good too. Lots of fun! Very beautiful. Chances to see mountain goats which I saw none. Bungee jumping at the end. Expensive! $120. Wear some good pants. Wasn’t a lot of people there. There are some camp sites there as well. Next to a shooting range too.

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Trail is EXTREMELY crowded on the weekend (even at 7 AM).
Overlooks urban sprawl.
Peak is dominated by an ugly transmission tower.
I think one star is generous.

This is one of my favorite trails in LA! Beware there's little shade in the first part but this trail is incredible early in the morning. Ample parking and just difficult enough to get me into shape

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

Nice moderate hike, some cool places on the way

Went at night, the hike had awesome views of San Diego, including downtown. The trail was wide, in most parts with lots of switchbacks and fun, rocky terrain. Great hike overall!

About 90% of this hike is shaded which is very nice for comfort but limits the view points. I guess it was nice to change it up from the dessertous terrain of SoCal. It was also nice because I got a late start but didn’t get caught in the worst of the sun. Btw parking is rough if you get there late, I parked 0.8 miles from the trailhead.

Started out this hike with what felt like a million other people, I was not excited and kept weaving around them. Around mile 4 where it splits off to summit Wilson, just past sturtevant camp, everyone disappeared. Yay. But I was immediate joined by eight million mosquitos. Luckily I had some bug spray, if I do this hike again, I’ll bring a head net. As others have said, the summit left much to be desired. No log book, signage, etc plus people can drive there so it doesn’t give you the same sense of accomplishment.

Worth mentioning, when you get to the burned area just before the peak, there is load of poison oak? I’m terrible at IDing plants but someone told me it was poisonous and what it looked like, it was scary especially with my dog but I think we made it out unscathed.

Made it up in 4 hours and down in 2.5. Overall not a bad day but def not my fav hike in SoCal.

This hike should be rated easy. It’s pretty much a strain hike with a little here and there incline. An excellent hike to take a dog. Lots of water through out the whole hike. It’s just long but not hard. However the drive to get there is a different story. It’s about 5 miles through winding rounds that you have to share with a lot of bicyclists. It’s only a two lane road. Which feels like forever when your trying to leave.

If you are new to San Diego, it's a great way to get the lay of the land. Expect crowds and in our case, some unusual people hiking with Bluetooth speakers playing rap music for all to hear. Other than that, great views ranging from the ocean, downtown, East County, Mexico, San Jacinto Mountain near Palm Springs and even the San Bernardino mountains way off in the distance. Enjoy!

hiking
17 days ago

My favorite part about this hike is at the top it has a map telling you what landmarks are in each direction and you can see Mexico!

I really tried to like this hike, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’ve hiked quite a few trails in the Angeles Forest and this was one of my least favorite. Not much variety in scenery, many water crossings, trail not well marked, and the bridge itself was interesting, but a bit underwhelming. If you’re looking for a longer hike, I found the Zion Loop very enjoyable with lots of shade.

Beautiful views going up! Very crowded, but everyone is very nice and polite! :) There are a few people that forget their dog-potty bags sadly.
The views and trails are worth the crowds, a must do trail!

hiking
28 days ago

Short and sweet but it's a steep incline! I like that it also leads you to the Toovet Trail so you can make it a longer hike that is equally as rewarding.

We started on the trailhead around 9:30 and were back at our car at 3:00pm - best time of day to avoid hiking in the heat! Tons of shade in the morning on the way out, and tons of yuccas, trees, and shrubs filled the canyon. The river crossings (there are many) were a bit dicey on the rocks, so get good boots or walk through the shallow water rather than risk a bad slipping off rocks! Watch your footing, too - there’s a lot of loose gravel and a few narrow stretches of the trail. Bring at least 150oz of water per person, wear jeans and a wide brimmed hat - you’ll be glad you did! It’s amazing to bring lunch or food snacks to enjoy near the pools under the bridge.

THE GOOD: Amazing views, lovely vegetation, mix of shade and sun, and having lunch under the bridge. You really feel the river come alive, seeing it rush with deep pools and twists and bends. Bonus - you might see bighorn sheep!

THE BAD: The trail was much more crowded than it was during my last weekend visit 6 years ago, and the bungee jumping operation has totally taken over the vibe of the bridge area. Go on a weekday you have off to avoid the crowds and bungee jumpers. Also, watch out for the yuccas on the trail! They will get your legs - jeans are recommended.

This was my third time on the trail, and I took two friends who had never been. It’s always an adventure, and the lush growth really gave the terrain an ethereal, almost Jurassic look - a special canyon hike I hope to return to!

We wanted to get out of downtown to get a short hike and Cowles Mountain did fit the bill. This trail is less than 1/2 hour away from downtown in the approximately 7,000-acre Mission Trails Regional Park. This is an easy to moderate trail and family friendly. The trail is very open with no cloud cover and is pretty dusty. It is also quit busy. As the park is in the rural San Diego area you never quite feel that you are in the wild. Great 360 views from the top. Add a couple of side hikes to increase the miles and visit the very nice visitor center in the park. If we had more time, we would have driven further out of town to experience the SoCal back country, but is was good for what it is billed. A couple of good park rules that I appreciated. No external music is allowed and no radio controlled devices. This means that someone is not allowed to pull out their drone at the top. This seems to be a very annoying trend even on back country hikes.

Absolutely loved it. The scenery is beautiful and definitely a challenge for beginners.

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