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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mountain biking
5 hours ago

Easy Trail with a nice stream nearby to cool down with (after it rained)

hiking
12 hours ago

Went 2 days after heavy rain. Our first rime. Surfer recommended going barefoot, he was right.! super slippery at bottom by the rope. Took Gliderport stairs back and the ridge back to HoChi Minh. Views are amazing. I agree w moderate rating. Real fun, oh yeah, for those new to area Black’s beach is one of the best breaks in area and the North side is a swimsuit optional beach.

Good stuff

A hidden gem! This is an easy down and back trail in the middle of the city giving you the outdoors without going far.

hiking from barker way is an awesome route to cowels mountain with less traffic, offers more parking, and even a porta potty before trail starts. it is in a residential area please be respectful and mindful.

So 1st part of this trail is just a steep but short hiking trail. The rest of it is for climbers only. While the visitors center heavily discourages bouldering and blazing your own trail, many have done it *cough cough for thrills, and at the top theres a cool circle of rocks that people have put together. You could get to the nearest peak from there, but again it requires trail blazing so be careful (snakes) and mindful (there are unofficial trails, but minimize your foot imprint and dont trample, also dont smoke ANYTHING) *not that I have smoked in mission trails, just seen it and it makes me shudder thinking of one cigarette butt or flying pipe ember can just set a whole place ablaze, so just dont!!!

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)

My first visit was in the summer, it was hot and trail was in tact - had good fun. My second time was after rains, the trail has become little more difficult than before because of the erosion. But I would say the fun element of this trail has increased because of the erosion. A shoe with good grip is a must have.

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.

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.

Really cool spot!!! So many trails and so much to see! I highly suggest checking out!!

12 days ago

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

14 days ago

Super easy, short trail, which was great for my young kids, who are new to hiking.

hiking
14 days ago

Short but sweet! This is a fun trail that’s pretty technical. We went at 8:00am on Friday and only saw a few other hikers on the trail and a few rock climbers at the crest doing their thing. The trail is quite narrow though so if it was crowded I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much.

As with many other reviews, this hike offers AMAZING views and photo ops. Definitely gets crowded because its such a family friendly nature walk. I was very disapointed with the lack of respect I saw for the trails and signs. Although we only saw about 5 people out of the 100s there this morning, it's definitely important to remind one another that rule #1 is respect the trail. People die from not respecting the trail. I saw 2 gentlement ignore "unstable cliffs, please stay back" signs just for a photo op. I also saw a group of about 5 young adults climbing up a rock for a photo op (which everyone was doing) but there was a clear path to climb up and signage to not trespass the way they chose to climb. We told them not to do it but we all need to be respectful so that these trails will last for future generations also.

If possible, find parking near by! Its $25 per car to use their lot!

hiking
14 days ago

I know I'm biased but this is one of my favorites! Yes it can get busy but nothing like Torrey Pines. The views up top are gorgeous and every time Ive been there everyone is considerate and friendly. Ive been at 6am as well as 10pm. Previous reviewers mention being courteous with head/flash lights because some of us do much better with night hikes in the moon light.

Definitely take water. If you go during sunmy hours there is no shade throughout the hike so plan accordingly (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc). I am definitely a "slow but steady" hiker and it takes me about 1 hr to the top and about 40 mins down.

walking
14 days ago

We went to Sunset Cliffs to take a walk, get out in natural and enjoy the sunset. I knew I wasn't there for a challenging hike. This was a post Thanksgiving recovery hike since I was dealing with many blisters from a previous hike...this was perfect! it provided incredible views and allowed us to climb and explore so we could be kids again for a little bit.

As of Thanksgiving 2018 this trail is still under construction but it did not hinder our experience in any way.

It’s nice to run down the trail and walk back up.

Great hike for kids and dogs!

This can get very crowded. It’s fairly steep and has an incredible view of the ocean. One of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. And then you get to walk the beach and maybe have a swim if you feel like it.

Overall this was a simple hike that is great for getting into the swing of being on a trail. This trail has a decent amount of people on it so you do not feel alone. You get to walk past some varied landscapes and start by the visitor center where you can learn more about the park.

If you are looking for an easy hike this is for you. If you are looking for something more challenging, there are plenty of other trails that you can probably incorporate segments of this trail with.

this is the trail we take for night hikes up Cowls.
fairly wide path with few people.

love the views

Short hike, but great views! saw some rock climbers. I wore my hiking boots because I was not sure what to expect, but glad that I did because there was lots of opportunities for a clumsy person like myself to roll their ankles haha. Took less than an hour to complete, which allowed us to take in the view and have a snack!

it was okay but there were points that it was just too steep

Beautiful wilderness area. Lightly trafficked. Takes between 4-5 hours to complete. Bring 6-8 liters of water and 2,000-3,000 calories.if summiting in winter bring emergency blankets in case you need to bivy at the top.

Great hike for beginners, it was easy and fun. We opted for a pre dawn hike, it was beautiful & surprisingly quiet. We will be returning next week!

saw squirrels having sex

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