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

Must Do Map

nice hike a lot to see. not mush shade. pack list should have at least 3L of water. have fun pack out what you pack in. animals welcome watch out for snakes

Great hike and view!

This trail is more on the hard side because of its length (7.6 miles) and it’s steepness. If you or whoever you’re with isn’t in pretty good shape don’t try it. There is a long line at the potato chip rock to take a picture. Take one bottle of water per person plus snack bars. Wear hiking shoes or boots, not running shoes, due to rocks. Wear sunscreen at midday.

This trail was wonderful! May have got turned around, but the view was prettier with each turn. Bring extra water and the power lines can be used as a landmark to keep you on your path!

Really great trail, but really exhausting for the people we brought along who don’t hike all the time. There weren’t any maps located at the trail head, but as long as you keep following the Mt Woodson Trail and don’t get led astray by other trails forking off, you should be fine. Jumping across to the potato chip park of the Boulder was a little scary for myself who is afraid of heights, but had to do it for the pic. Happy trails!

Great incline for a workout. I went on Tuesday and just a few of us in line for the photo op :) bring lots of water and protein bars.

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

done it a few times. great trail. make it longer by going the other way around the lake on the way back down

fun challenging trail. one of the longer funnier trails in mission trails park. bring some water and have fun the rocks at the end can be a burn.

Amazing views! Short trail with steps but worth the hike. Get there early to avoid the crowds.
No flip flops, slippery at times if you get down to the water.

Great incline with beautiful views

Fun day, a lot of people...

challenging and so much fun. bring plenty of water and snacks! sunscreen and hats required.

The All Trails description is right on, beautiful views. Definitely harder then I thought it was going to be though. We went on a Monday in early March, only 10 or 15 people at Potato chip. Bring plenty of water!

Great trail, in good shape.

trail running
12 days ago

Went on to Pyles Peak from Cowles and loved this section so much! I heard my first rattlesnakes!! It took me a second for it to sink in what I was hearing. Never saw them thank goodness they were off in the brush. Beautiful views and not many people along the trail. Easy to navigate.

Great as long as it is cool!!

Great hike to Pyles Peak even if it rains on you.

trail running
14 days ago

This was awesome! Well marked and stunning views. I felt very safe.

Fun hike, pretty strenuous but well worth it. The stairs and rock scramble to the top was the most rewarding. Bring a rain jacket weather can turn quickly.

trail running
16 days ago

I haven’t actually done this trail yet, but I want to bad! I’m fairly new to the area and a little worried about venturing in the “back woods” by myself. The only daylight time I really am available right now are Wednesday and Thursdays. If anyone (or many) are interested in teaming up to run Mission Trails or any other in San Diego area shoot me an email: warfitnessgrp@gmail.com. Hopefully there’s others that have a open schedule on Wednesday and Thursday’s!

Can do this in tennis shoes when dry. Moderate trail for altitude. Trail not clearly marked if going on west side initially. You might end ip under powerlines for a bit if you take the wrong trail.

Great trail, beautiful views, fun to climb down the cliffs into the tide pools and check out the caves. There were many visitors and many children of all ages also climbing down. Family friendly, and adult friendly as well.

My personal favorite of the mission trails for hiking.

Such a beautiful view!! Go on a weekday (we went on a Tuesday) for free parking and little to no lines to take a picture on top of the Potato Chip Rock. Prepare yourself for a lot of inclines. There are many interesting rock formations. We spotted both hamburger and hippopotamus rocks along the way. When you start the hike to Mt. Woodson trail, you'll be greeted by a breathtaking lake. Also, get there early! We started the hike around 8:30am and finished around 11am (round trip). Definitely worth it!

Great trail to do with kids. Enough turns and switch rocks, views, to keep them entertained !

You have to go up
Cowles to make it to Pyles!!! 5hrs Hike

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

Great and challenging hike, especially going up the stairs towards the end. Make sure to pay attention to the signs or you might just miss the peak. So many different routes to take to get you to the top!

26 days ago

This was a great hike and nice way to add some more distance / challenge to Cowells Mountain. The Hardest part for me was the climb back to Cowells Mountain from Pyles Peak, it was right when my legs started to get really tired! Make sure to plan accordingly on a hot day this hike would be brutal. Well worth the views.

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