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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!

Nicely paved for all skill levels but that also means there's a fair amount of traffic. Wish the trail went all the way around the lake otherwise you have to walk back.

Went on a super windy day and it proved to be a little too much at the very top and super hazy (due to the fires up north) can’t wait to go back on a clear day. Even with a kid on my back I would say this is moderate if you are in decent shape.

Rocky hills L

13 hours ago

I had a blast with this hike outstanding view at top of mountain .... bring plenty of water take your time lots to see.

Love everything about this hike.

Great night hike!!i

it was great hike.

Beautiful scenery through out the trail and ending with a beach walk back to the starting spot is a great cool down.

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

hiking
3 days ago

very calm and reliable hike great views and peaceful

Was a good hike, surprised how fast it went at a waking pace.

hiking
5 days ago

Nice trail with a gradual climb for about the first half of the hike up then switch backs finish to the peak give a paced workout to the summit. Well groomed trail and fantastic panoramic views at the top with picnic tables and perch points let you celebrate the trek up Iron Mountain. I didn’t bring or need walking sticks as the trail rocks are easily maneuvered.

I hiked this trail on a Sunday. The parking lot at the trail head was full. The only downside about this trail is that almost everybody starts and finishes at the main entrance and there is one path shared for hiking up and down so the traffic got pretty heavy at times and we were paced by the number of people (and their dogs). I like when there is some dispersion of hikers and trail options that let me hike at my own pace. I love people and I love dogs, I’m not complaining about that, I’m just pointing out that there was traffic on the trail. Maybe a weekday hike would be a quicker pace for this trail. 4 stars, I will hike this trail again!

hiking
5 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.

The views are amazing but this is a very busy trail. Going down it definitely seems easy and the trail does go all the way down to the ocean with beautiful views all the way. I definitely didn’t realize how steep it was until I was in the way back up. The smooth sandy trail is too set and carved out for my taste but I assumed it was for safety and preservation I would definitely hike here again.

Very nice on a beautiful day..

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

Perfect to test our skills

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

We did this around 8am it was perfect timing. The fog came in later so we had some great views. It’s started to get crowded around 930am.

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!

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
15 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!

Got there quite early (730am) and it was very foggy on the hike up but the temps were so mild it was perfect. The include was gradual but you get a good cardio workout.

Definitely epic views.

Best part - briskly walking the beach hoping to not get my shoes wet... which didn’t happen

Beautiful! This is ranked as easy but if it’s high tide and you can’t cut across the beach, you’ll have to go back the way you came; if you’re new to hiking, the gradual inclines will get you a bit out of breath. But still an easy, breezy hike.

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!

Make sure you go early and wear shoes with good traction! It looks harder than it is.

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