Explore San Diego - 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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Great Trail! Almost no people.

Crowded, but good workout

I've climbed Cowles twice, this time taking the less trafficked route, and I enjoyed it a lot more. It is very steep towards the summit and there is a lot of loose gravel. Make sure you wear HIKING shoes or boots. I made the mistake of wearing running shoes, and I slipped and fell and scraped my knee. Overall a nice hike, great for beginners like me.

Great trail lost to see and if you like some rocky obstacles at the end this is the trail for you.

2 days ago

Not very fun when it's busy. Too many bros with music. Nice views, but it's almost better on a full moon, hardly need flashlight then.

Good trail, but the pathway is not so clear all the way!

Great hike, brought our dog and I know he had a great time. A bit too busy for my taste but great to see more people going out to hike. Pretty steep incline, bring plenty of water!!

4 days ago

Good hike and away from the crowds at Cowles. Moderate hike and highly recommend. Just over 2 hours from start to finish.

Great workout hike - Easy to find trailhead - trail in good condition even after rain - started right before sunrise and rock ridge trail was empty .... at least going up

Solid hike - great incline and switchbacks. But SUPER trafficked and populated. It’s hard to break through the crowd.

Okay hike and, yes, heavily trafficked.
Lots of the terrain was burnt from the fire, so longs of darkened soil and lifeless plants, a bit sad.

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.

Great hike, great view, but heavily trafficked.

10 days ago

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

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.

Great hike! Just heavily trafficked. Only reason this trail gets a 4 Star. Hiking isn’t as adventurous when you have to wait at the switchbacks to let traffic pass through.

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

As many others said in the previous reviews a lot of people don’t know how to stay in their lane whether it’s going uphill or downhill. Definitely a steep trail but overall doable with a good amount of water and snacks.

14 days ago

Great short hike for family/kids. Did this hike a few weeks ago with a friend trying to get some sunset photos from the summit. Took us roughly 30 mins to summit. Usually very crowded and a lot of amplified music. From the summit you get a great cityscape of San Diego and the ocean along with views of mountains on the opposite side.

Check out and follow Instagram.com/gregszymbor for photos and other hikes!

Cannot beat the view

When I was younger it was better. Way too many people now and amplified music is annoying

Great hike for beginners-moderate hikers. It’s the highest peak in San Diego and has a astonishing view of the whole county. The only con is that it’s so popular that there is a high amount of traffic during the day. 1 of the 5 peak challenge!

Difficult as one part is very steep

Wear hiking boots

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

trail running
17 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.

From out of town and so glad I picked this! Ran all the trails up there but this was my favorite segment - not as heavily trafficked as the others were to get to the peak. Spectacular views all the way up and back. The trail is well marked and easy to navigate and the single track segments were just hard enough to keep it interesting. Had a great time!

Excellent hike!!

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

18 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!

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.

This hike was awesome. The 360 ° panoramic view at the top is the best.

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