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Hikes - Completed Map
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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!

6 hours ago

Had trail all to myself! There's a slight steep climb from the get-go if you begin at the old water pump station off of El Monte Road. Great views!

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

Nice, hike - definitely would do it again.

15 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.

One of my favorites in SD. Lots of variety on the trail and amazing views at the top. Did this on a week day and had the summit all to myself

Love everything about this hike.

Great night hike!!i

it was great hike.

Such a sweet hike with some breath taking views right in our back yard... you get to feel disconnected from everything as if you were in Julian. That last part to get to the top gets a little tricky since it’s covered in bushes and the trail markers don’t start until you get to the rock of the summit.... the old mines and Jeep are some super cool things to check out to keep your mind distracted on your way up! I usually don’t take water but thought I should for this one and even then was really thirsty at the end after downing two liters... stay hydrated and enjoy the views!!

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

hiking
3 days ago

Great workout, cool desert Mountain View’s with very little people around (saw no one on the hike but a handful of people at ground level). I agree with another review that the bench should be the ending, after that you end up amongst houses which is random.

Great views and great workout both ways

Beautiful place

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

Good workout for sure. Took about 3 hours with a few breaks throughout. The trail terrain changes quite a bit from dirt, to moss, to rocks. Definitely wear good shoes. Didn’t think the views were outstanding. Don’t think I would hike this again.

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.

Beautiful little hike however no water in the creek right now but still beautiful. I got 4.8 miles. When the trail turns sharply to the left it climbs quickly. If you take the left trail near the Y you would have an easier time of it but I enjoyed the climb. You are supposed to pay a fee but I tried calling twice and also tried the internet URL but not functioning which also happened to another couple. A nice day out and about.

hiking
6 days ago

Saturday, 11/10/2018 completed The Warrior Challenge Hike supporting our Veterans Day 2018. Triumph at El Cajon Peak, signed the official Peak Log and located all 3 Geological Benchmarks. Tallied up 11.39 RT mileage and 3,936’ total elevation gains gains. 2nd time hiking the El Capitan Preserve and only made it El Capitan Peak back on 12/22/2013. 5-years later, 60-lbs lighter I now have sense of accomplishment being this is labeled the hardest hike in the entire San Diego County! So steep with numerous peaks and valleys to trek through I developed cramps again but all worth it at the end!

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

Perfect to test our skills

Great 10 mile hike!! I found this mountain to be very hard in the sense that is none stop up hill and down hill from beginning to end. It was a challenge!!! You definitely need plenty of water and snacks to replenish your energy.

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.

Amazing views.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

Best bang for your one day hiking buck! Well marked informative mileage signs with elevation profiles. Only out and back trail in SD County that is up hill in both directions.

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