Explore future hikes with dogs - 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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Come prepared to hike a very steep mountain toward the summit appropriate Hiking shoes required. View worth the hike.

Great hike! Beautiful trails trees and vines are awesome. Multiple trails lots of fun. If your gonna go for the Stelzer trail make sure you have proper shoes because it is super steep! So fun and the awesome rocks and summit view are worth hiking your butt up that Mtn. Have fun!

Great hike with a BEATIFUL view. I started from Hilltop Park and it took me about an hour and a half from start to finish. I lucked out and made the trip on a pretty overcast day, absolutely loved it.

We got trapped having to either backtrack or forge forward and urban hike back. I never turn back.

I wore my 14 month old in a back pack. Tried to take advantage of a cool day in San Diego and got a late start. The clouds broke and it was super hot and dry, I was prepared and he was more than fine in the back pack since he has a shade cover, but I was super hot. More on the hard/moderate side since I had an extra 30lbs on my back but agree with others that this is an under rated, excellent hike with significantly less people and stellar views at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

- PROS -
1. Some of the most beautiful panoramic views of surrounding San Diego.
2. Much less foot traffic than other popular nearby hikes (Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain). I saw maybe 10 other people on a Sunday morning.
3. Great workout, with plenty of climbs. Definitely a solid Moderate.
4. Very nice ample free parking and bathrooms at the start
5. Well maintained trail, albeit small rocks here and there.

- CONS -
1. The section between Secondary Summit and Black Mountain Peak is CLOSED. I noticed this was mentioned back in Feb. 2017, and apparently it is still under restoration now in Sep. 2018. This makes it a bit of a pain to hike a loop. I went counter-clockwise, following the posted route. Once I got to Secondary Summit, it should just be ~0.4mi uphill to Black Mountain Peak...but it's closed. So I needed to backtrack to the short nighthawk trail connector, at which point it joins Miner's Ridge Loop. From there, I went up to Black Mountain Peak, and then followed Miner's Ridge Loop all the way down.
2. The entirety of Miner's Ridge Loop is a wide service road from the antennas at the top. This was fine, just be aware that it isn't quite as "natural".
3. Not much clear signage. However, I just used a GPS map on my phone whenever the trail split and didn't get lost. I had cell service and 4G during the entire hike.

This is a beautifully maintained park with a small visitor center. There is a $3 parking fee, and although posted hours begin at 9:30am, we pulled into the lot before 8am and self-paid.

The lower elevation loop is a nice, easy walk through various mini ecosystems. Traffic noise is a bit of a distraction. The summit trail is very steep for the last 0.25 miles. Wear good shoes and consider hiking poles. Great views from the top, and you leave the noise of cars behind.

On our early Saturday morning visit, we ran into exactly 2 other hikers, who were very friendly.

Trails are very clean. We saw evidence of coyotes and raccoons, and saw a rabbit, several song birds, and 2 different species of lizard.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful, easy hike...the lake and scenery are very lovely. The trail is very close to the hwy for much of the hike which is the only drawback. We actually went last week on a record-breaking heat day and it was still really nice.

The trail itself isn't anything spectacular but does include a nice kick ass incline at the end! What is special about this trail is the park itself. It is beautifully maintained and perfect for picnics with the kids! Take a nice quick hike then let the kids play in the nicely shaded playground! Be sure to check out the ranger station as they have tons of cool animals and exhibits!

on Big Rock Trail

hiking
4 months ago

a great way to go to the top of Cowles Mountain without all the traffic. A good workout fairly steep in places lots of stairs to climb. Go early it gets hot! the only reason not five stars is because it's pretty dusty in the summer months.

very nice. terrain is fairly easy. lots of bikes, but the path is wide enough most parts.

Great hike. Definitely on the difficult side of moderate. Lots of climbing. A great local hike. Good training hike for a bigger hike.

This is one of my new nearby favorites. It isn't too long but if you go all the way to the top you're sure to feel the burn. The camping area where you start looks like a great place to picnic as well, I'd like to make a day trip out of it some time. There are great lookout points, and a cool forest area; plenty to see. I've gone twice now and it hasn't been too crowded either time, you can hear the traffic from the road though that is my only complaint, and parking is $3.

This was our first family hike and we absolutely loved it!! We live a few minutes away and now this will be one of our favorite hikes for sure. Edward (5) did increíble. Ashton (3) not too much but daddy was able to carry him they both very happy.

Hard trail 3 uphills trails are well maintained. El cajon mountain would definitely be harder than this one

mountain biking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail. Great for beginners. I started at coast to coast trail and totaled at 15 miles. Glad I did both trails.

I’m not sure why this trail is rated easy. I think it’s more moderate because its almost all uphill for the first half of the loop. Very little shade but a great hike/view. Trails are wide but rocky.

trail running
7 months ago

good workout, able to jog throughout, tons of rocks most of the way if you are jogging it watch your ankles! Great incline and View at the top! no shade, bring water.

hiking
7 months ago

I frequent this trail often. So much cleaner and quieter than the front side of the mountain. And TONS of parking. The trail is well maintained and marked well. A nice hike when you don't have time to go far from home. This time of year it is very green and lots of flowers in bloom. Unfortunately there was a fire there recently and we lost a big chunk of the vegetation. So please be respectful and stay out of this area while the plants are regenerating.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail that you can take to the top of Cowles - not as crowded as the main way up. Steep incline!

Beautiful views...moderately steep and rocky on the way up but nice downhill .

nice hike. a little rain today.

8 months ago

nice hike

mountain biking
8 months ago

Difficult. Have your cardio together before embarking.

nice, flat and scenic

Nice very clean quiet

Great alternative to Cowels Mountain! A little less steep, quiet, less people, and wider trails.

Great views. Easy to moderate hike with many loose rocks. We explored a few off shoot trails that were poorly marked to the east.

Good trail, not too crowded, worth doing at least once!

10 months ago

It is not an "Easy" category. I'd equate this to Iron Mountain or Mt. Woodson hikes. quite a bit of good inclines.

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