Explore Been there, done that - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Beautiful hike. Difficult but worth it! Start early park closes gates strictly 5pm

Perfect to test our skills

hiking
2 days ago

I am a recreational day hiker and this is one of the prettiest hikes I have ever been on. The views going up the last mile are just outstanding.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

Beautiful hike and great views on top.

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!

This was one of the best hikes! Highly recommend it

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
9 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!

hiking
12 days ago

I take the shortcut trail going up on the right (west) side, after the housing area and the large water tank. This hike is only about three miles, but is great for getting the legs, heart and lungs pumping because of steep incline.

I love this trail, especially in the Fall. I bring my labrador and we have a great time.

Pick up you dog s**t and trash you filthy animals. Don’t bring your aggressive dogs on trail; otherwise it is a nice stroll.

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!

This was a beautiful trail with great rest stops, pretty decent instructions, and incredible views! Reading the previous posts really helped in being prepared for this hike. It is pretty rocky and I would suggest hiking boots, although I did it in my regular walking shoes and was okay. But it’ll ruin your shoes pretty fast if you do this trail often in them. I also agree that it’s so much better to go earlier rather than the middle of the day because then the sun is so high and more direct and that makes it less enjoyable. For me at least! Make sure to read some of the other posts for some good tips. I also would suggest bringing water. I didn’t think a little over 3 miles one way was going to be that big of a deal, but you it’s a pretty decent incline most of the way, so having some water and maybe a snack bar would be helpful. Hopefully this helps!

hiking
19 days ago

I love how the trail offers breaks just at the right time to be able to stay in motion.

I went this past weekend with some fiends from work and we all really enjoyed it and planning our next hike.

Really well-maintained trail, nice variety in pathways, and beautiful views. Go AS EARLY as you can get there to enjoy some sense of solitude and beautiful light along the way.

For runners, a great place to practice decision-making for when to walk up steeps and when to run- and as a bonus, BOMBING downhill fun all the way.

Fun afternoon hike

Nice easy walking trail.

This is our go to for a quick dose of nature. I often come here to clear my head and get centered.i love this place. It’s beautiful after a heavy rain.

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.

Not a bad trail. More of a nature walk than a hike. Sandy along the river bed. Several shallow crossings.

We enjoyed the hike, up for 2 miles, but the fires really ate up the mountain. It was interesting and sad. Regrowth has begun and little sprouts of green and red laurel sumac and yuccas are sprouting. When you get to the top there are chairs and we enjoyed that view a lot! Then there’s a bit more trail and that was cool too. Spring may bring even more joy to that area :)

hiking
24 days ago

This was a great hike. Not too easy, not too hard....just right :-).
A great hike for beginners or intermediate hikers.
This is a great workout hike and could easily be done several times a week.

hiking
24 days ago

This was a great hike. Not too easy, not too hard....just right :-).
A great hike for beginners or intermediate hikers.
This is a great workout hike and could easily be done several times a week.

hiking
27 days ago

Hike was fun and enjoyable. Views of large rocky hills go on for miles on all sides. Signage was good. Went on a sunday afternoon so it was decently crowded but not too bad - still quiet. A lot of turns keep you winding around the hills. Watch your step - almost stepped on a rattlesnake out bathing himself :)

beautiful and clean trail

I will forever have a special place in my heart for this mountain. In April of 2018 I started my new journey to lose weight. I am so proud to say by July 2018 I had lost 40lbs. I hiked and still hike Cowles 2-3 time a week and that was it. This hike is great for beginners and experienced hikers. Don’t give up in the hard areas you can do it! The view is worth it. I like to cut from the front trail to the back trail at the top for a nice steep incline at the top. Have fun!

hiking
28 days ago

14OCT2018- 65 to 68 degree(F) Good hike. A lot of view going up and down.. too cloudy when we got at the top barely see any scenic view.

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