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great trail. good elevatipn. great views. cant get lost either.

enjoyed it 12-9-18 not as crowded as Coweles will do it often although walking down the service road to reconnect with big rock can be dangerous

a lot of people, met a barefoot hiker who is cool. not too many people would stop and talk though.

Well here’s one that separates the wolves from the sheep! Been wanting to do this one for a loooong time, just waiting for the right day. Nice cool temps and overcast skies really took the edge off, and after the recent rains there was no haze and stunning visibility in all directions. I could see a snow capped San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the north. Totally amazing.

It’s as difficult as everyone says, and it really brutalizes you on the way back. But I’d say anyone could easily do this hike with a little bit of conditioning, rugged footwear, and good timing. The real difficulty level of this trek is predicated on the weather/temperature. I would definitely not mess with this one mid July.

Took me 4.5 hours, managed to get by with 2 liters of agua, though I brought 3. Took a 30 minute break on the summit to get baked and enjoy the panorama. Don’t be afraid of this hike, go do it!

This hike is always my go to. Its quick enough to do before work or before errands and always has beautiful views. I occasionally run this trail too so its good for leisure or for a more intense workout! I never get tired of it and it's good for all hiker levels :)

This hike is definitely worth it. It’s also worth paying the $10 to park. They have excellent, well maintained facilities at the lake, and the trail is also very well maintained. If you are a trail runner this is ideal because the path is relatively smooth and even for the first stretch, then when it gets steep there are rock stairs or rock gardens. There was not one place that was sketchy to navigate.

I’d call this a moderate hike because while somewhat long and a bit a steep at places, you never question your life or abilities. Hard hikes, I think, should have you second-guessing your ability to complete them. This hike never required any thought. It was smooth.

Also, I thought I’d be showing up “late” when I started about 7:45am on Sunday, 12/9. It wasn’t crowded at all and I had long stretches to myself. There were a few groups going up but not too many. And while I didn’t take a picture, there was no line do so. Definitely more people on the way down (coming up), but there were a few large groups. Bottom line, don’t stress if you are not there at sunrise, you can still get some alone time in. And there’s a lot of shade in the morning. It took me about 1:20 to get up and 50 minutes to come down, and I ran part of the way down.

If you need a hike to really kick your ass, try El Cajon Mountain. Even if you don’t go the full 11 miles, it is challenging and up hill both ways!

This was actually 6 miles. No water in the falls, but as everyone else has stated, still worth the hike. It’s just beautiful at the pool!

Challenging, but totally manageable. Bring lots of water. I found it to be a quiet and peaceful trail, saw few others, which I love. Great views, worth the effort.

Good stuff

This is actually a 6 mile loop well maintained trail. The water was barely flowing from the top of the waterfall but the bottom reservoir was full. The landscape of the waterfall was simply beautifully and well worth the hike.

I found the ‘descent’ to be challenging in the 4-3.5 mile return section. Definitely a tough climb but wonderful views and my favorite in the SD area so far.

Trail was well maintained and the folks up front checking permits were so helpful and friendly. It heated up on the way back which was close to noon in December, so bring plenty of water as they recommend. It was more or less a hike through the desert. Overall a good work out. I was told snakes were around, I didn’t see any (amen).

trail running
6 days ago

Great Hike, challenging Run. I’ve been to the top 3 times, this past weekend I opted to go straight at the 3 way intersection at the upper saddle. This brings you to an amazing lookout atop the face. Much more dramatic than the summit. Trail is washed out and difficult to stay on but there is the occasional rock cairn to show the way.

great for learners, or getting back into shape, or just getting better. great view of San Diego, beautiful sunsets. Easily accessible. pleanty of parking, and places the eat nearby. Downfall is it's often crowded, people think theres maintaneance to pick up their already bagged dog poo and bust leave it on the trail (stupid!) theres zero shade (sucks in the summer), and natural vegetation suffers from frequent human activity (comparing to the rest of mission trails, even during the dry season theres still some green, but hardly on Cowels) a pro to that, is less wildlife (snakes in particular)

Definitely a good hike that wears you out on the way up....as long as you hike the side starting at the lake. Will definitely hike again soon.

Good workout! My steepest trail yet in SD. Hiked up with my dog for the sunset and ran (mostly) down.

Great hike! Gets steep between miles 2-4. It can be considered a difficult hike. Bring lots of water! The summit is to the left of the sign and the trail is marked from the sign to the summit. Much harder on the way there than on the way back. Took 4hrs20mins at a moderate pace.

Went early Thanksgiving AM this year. It was drizzling and foggy so there were few others on the trail. It was getting crowded on my way back, with big groups coming through. I recommend doing this early. I’ll go back when there’s better visibility

Nicely managed hiking trail but will have to keep your dog on leash the entire time. Updated note that contradicts the recreation.gov website is that you do not have to bring a print out of your permit if you have the digital version. They accept digital permits, they just haven’t updated their website to reflect the change yet. Happy trails!

This hike is everything it’s said to be and more. This is cardio workout to say the least. Started at 630a and completed the hike by noon. Took a 1 hour much needed break. I easily drank 3 liters of water and it was cold for most of the hike. I saw a few folks starting late...I wouldn’t advise starting the hike after 10am. Enjoy the hike

Nice hike up with combo of mild-moderate inclines, flat areas to recover, and rewarding views at the top. It didn’t feel crowded with people/dogs to the point that it slowed me down. I didn’t bring my dog because of some stories I heard about overheating, wildlife issues, and fights with other dogs. I guess I could see a fight occur where the trail is tighter in spots (same way up/down) and dogs would come in contact with each other. That said, all dogs were well behaved when I was there and the trail was impeccably clean.

monster workout. great views. facilities at the bottom. The description and all trails is incorrect it is closer to 8 Miles not 6.9

An awesome trail for running, and working on steep inclines!

one of the first hikes I've done best hike I've done. easier and easier as I go. running down is always the best. had 1 time where I saw a baby rattlesnake but other than that it was good lots of foot traffic but amazing hike.

at his south trail killed me going up the stairs!!!! someone said to me the stairway to heaven, it was to hell. I was dying my dog made it! he loved it!

Absolutely peaceful, varied, and beautiful trail. Stream, pond, deer, sweeping views. Loved it.

14 days ago

Easy to follow, fire/utility road is main trail. Some good elevation swings make it challenging!

Great hike got lost twice trying to find stairway to heaven.Don’t expect directions to it just follow directions to south Fortuna you will see the Stairs in the distance

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