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

Next hiking 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

This trail is the perfect quick hike. It is nice to get away from the crowds at Cowles. From the start, go left for an easier start. It is no where near as steep as going straight up the front.

To start, this is an awesome hike! It is such an awesome experience going through the tunnels and observing the ruins of trains, tunnels, and work equipment along the way.

We decided to start from De Anza Spring Resort (nudist resort). When you get to the gate hit the intercom button and they will let you in. You will then drive 5mph to the office. Follow the signs and you will find it. It is $5 per person and they will need a copy of each person drivers license. From there you will head back towards the entrance gate to park and you will see rocks lined up and outlining the trail to the railroad.

Once you get to the railroad, take a right (away form the freeway) and follow the train tracks until you reach the trestle.

We decided to go through all of the tunnels, so our elevation gain was approx 2,000 ft. You could easily add distance and elevation gain if you go around the tunnels (there are trails, not sure on the quality).

Make sure on the hike you bring plenty of water, a bright flashlight or two, and comfortable shoes. This is not a good hike for warm weather and we found it very enjoyable right after the rain.

Another recommendation, as you see all the ruins and cool things to check out, do it quickly on your way out, then when you are on your way back, spend more time checking out and taking pictures. If you spend too long looking at this stuff on the way out, it is very possible to end up walking back in the dark.

Finally, after the hike we started researching the history and there is so much cool stuff to learn about. Might be worth learning the history before hand so you can understand the different ruins you are seeing.

Enojy, this is a long one, but so many unique experiences that I will never forget. This is on the top list for hikes.

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!

Short hike. Not as bad as some of the comments. There were small children climbing the trail just fine. If you are not in the best of shape it is a good workout. You can make it a loop and come down a long side the condos

Nice, changing hike. I brought 3L of water and drank it all by the end, even on a nice, cool day, so be prepared with plenty of water for the tough assend to the top. The gates closes at 6pm so park outside the gate on the side of the highway if you might be cutting it close on time or you're car will get locked in for the night.

it was a great hike well worth the trip. some things to be careful of is the drive there turn in to a dirt road and it could flood out during the rainy time. also on the trail it self there are two ways you can go, you can go straight down a loose dirt clif or you can stay left and do a easier trail it's easy to miss.

Definitely not as hard as they make it sound. Moderate at most. Hiked it today in the rain after recovering the last month from surgery and it was fine. A little slippery if you step directly on the rocks. Half of our group swam in the 46 degree water because it was just so beautiful. Recommend bringing change of clothes/towel/etc. there were unfortunately some humans defecating around the waterfall-so watch your step! One member was unlucky to find this out the hard way-gross!!!

Also tons of poison oak-so don’t go off if the trail or let your dog wander.

Beautiful trail! Some steep areas provide an extra challenge, but it’s pretty moderate terrain. Hardly saw anyone else on it which was nice.

Definitely worth the drive! Very nice people on the way up and down! I honestly was sliding on my butt for a lot of the way down. Make sure to bring plenty of water! The photos on the website don't do service to what it feels like to be there. Definitely the hardest hike I've done but I did all of it! I went from 12:30-4:30 during March and it was perfect!

Can’t believe this is in San Diego. A must do!!!

Soo hard, is very long trail with a lot of mini mountans, but is work it, i lovet

AWESOME as always bring good music good vibes small snack and some water 1L should be enough on a average temperature of 70

Definitely the most beautiful and challenging hike in San Diego! It took me about 2:45 to make it to the summit with only a couple of short breaks and then about the same amount of time for the way back. With a long break at the top, the whole hike took about 6 hours! I recommend wearing hiking shoes and bringing at least 3 liters of water and a snack for the summit. Leave your dog at home!! Any hikers looking to test their endurance or just want to experience some beautiful views, this is the hike for you. Go now while it’s still cool outside and everything is turning green. Gates are currently locked at 6pm.

Difficult as one part is very steep

Wear hiking boots

Keep your dog on a leash don’t be that guy-

12 days ago

This is a great hike. I'm 57years old and normally lift weights so this was a different work out for me. It was my second hike in thirty years. My first being Rock house trail two days before.

This was fun but hard. Took me eight hours. I took lots of photos and videos and when I went up hill i had to treat it like a leg work out. Did a few steps till I got tired and stopped. Then did the same over and over.
By stopping a lot, I got to see the beauty of the hike and took some awesome shots. It rained a lot which was beautiful and there was mist steaming off the hill sides.

Like many say, bring good boots if you're not use to this type of hiking. But there was an elderly couple in their fifties running up the mountain but they ran to the El Capitan side. Two other hikers were back packing 40 lbs worth of weights.

The hike is harder in the mind than on your body. It just keeps going and going. If you are patient and don't push yourself to the edge of your limit but stay with in your limits, you'll make it just fine. I have no cardio but I stayed within my self and it was an amazing hiking experience. Just follow all the advice from the seasoned hikers and enjoy the beauty.

Oh and it took me eight hours. I may look like a bear, but I hike like a tortoise.lol

Just beautiful! I would definitely call this a moderate hike. My six year old was able to complete it. Well worth the $10 permit.

12 days ago

I love this hike. The first part isn't actually that interesting, to me, but once you get to the top portion and start climbing up rocks it's really, really fun. And the cave is amazing! The second time I went I took a friend and he did not like the cave part, it made him claustrophobic and the wind was mighty that day so it may not be enjoyable to all (but try it for yourself!). I recommend this hike for sure. Also I got lost on the way and had no reception so take some screen shots of your directions.

12 days ago

Good hike my first time best to go before 7am plenty of parking and mt. To yourself but around 8-9 people start to come and it’s a small rest area at the top

Beautiful view

Water is flowing decently right now. The weather was great, 50 and overcast with a stiff breeze, a light mist, and heavy clouds around the top of surrounding mountains. I brought two medium size dogs and they loved it also. definable a must do in the area if it's rainy season.

13 days ago

Great hike! I would say moderate and less crowded than the other 4 peaks.I see a few people complaining about rocks on the trail. Guess what it’s a mountain and that’s what hiking boots are for. If you take this from the visitors center it’s about 5.5 miles and if you start from the bottom it’s just over 2 miles. Have fun!

Just got through today, raining during midday has made rocks very slippery but well worth the challenge, waterfall was a great place for some scenic photos.

trail running
13 days ago

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

This was a great 15 mile out and back trail. The day was Beautiful, but we started late. On the way back to our car we encountered killer chilly winds. Depends on what side you enter, be prepared to scramble over rocks to get through tunnels. Overall great fun exploring.

Love this trail....is the water flowing? I want to hike here tomorrow. Haven't been s since may/July when there was actually water flowing ..anyone been there the past couple days???

Best trail in SD by far :) definitely a hidden gem

love this place

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