Explore San Diego Hikes - 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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Went on a super windy day and it proved to be a little too much at the very top and super hazy (due to the fires up north) can’t wait to go back on a clear day. Even with a kid on my back I would say this is moderate if you are in decent shape.

Rocky hills L

5 hours ago

I had a blast with this hike outstanding view at top of mountain .... bring plenty of water take your time lots to see.

hiking
6 hours ago

Loved this hike. Good workout with panoramic views at the top. Someone took away the flag and left just the pole. Wear good supportive hiking shoes, lots of loose rocks. Will be back to this one again

Great night hike!!i

it was great hike.

We did an 6am morning hike and it was perfect not too many people going up or coming down.

Awesome, Lots of great views!

Was a good hike, surprised how fast it went at a waking pace.

hiking
5 days ago

I have been wanting to do this one for a while. There was no water when I went but it was still pretty cool. To get there it is all down hill, that means it is a pretty steep hike on the way back. Every one says it is crowded. I went late afternoon and there were only a handful of people out. Most of the time I was just completely by myself. Cool hike though!

Nice trail with a gradual climb for about the first half of the hike up then switch backs finish to the peak give a paced workout to the summit. Well groomed trail and fantastic panoramic views at the top with picnic tables and perch points let you celebrate the trek up Iron Mountain. I didn’t bring or need walking sticks as the trail rocks are easily maneuvered.

I hiked this trail on a Sunday. The parking lot at the trail head was full. The only downside about this trail is that almost everybody starts and finishes at the main entrance and there is one path shared for hiking up and down so the traffic got pretty heavy at times and we were paced by the number of people (and their dogs). I like when there is some dispersion of hikers and trail options that let me hike at my own pace. I love people and I love dogs, I’m not complaining about that, I’m just pointing out that there was traffic on the trail. Maybe a weekday hike would be a quicker pace for this trail. 4 stars, I will hike this trail again!

hiking
5 days ago

Trail is EXTREMELY crowded on the weekend (even at 7 AM).
Overlooks urban sprawl.
Peak is dominated by an ugly transmission tower.
I think one star is generous.

Cowles is heavily trafficked and lots of dust in the air. almost nobody after connect with Pyles

This is a pretty quick hike but it can be steep in spots which is great for me since I'm an experienced hiker. The view from the top is amazing.

I am a recreational day hiker and this is one of the prettiest hikes I have ever been on. The views going up the last mile are just outstanding.

A nice little jaunt that earns you a great ocean view at the end! It seemed more difficult than moderate and good hiking shoes are a must.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

first time hiking this trail. its relatively a short hike but has steep inclines towards the summit. easy to find parking and the trail is dog friendly. not a lot of shade and the summit can get a little crowded but overall great views at the top! not very crowded either. i ran into maybe 30 people the whole time on a saturday morning.

Went at night, the hike had awesome views of San Diego, including downtown. The trail was wide, in most parts with lots of switchbacks and fun, rocky terrain. Great hike overall!

Definitely more than a moderate. Wouldn't say it's an expert though. Went with shoes but some locals said not to use em. I'd say they would've made it harder in spots. Definitely not suitable for kids or dogs. Also be careful, there's a nude beach right down the beach from the end of the trail.

Great Hike! Lots of other hikers! Some parts are a little tough and steep, but rewarding view at top make it worth the pain. Not a lot shade, cover up or have sun screen.

If you are new to San Diego, it's a great way to get the lay of the land. Expect crowds and in our case, some unusual people hiking with Bluetooth speakers playing rap music for all to hear. Other than that, great views ranging from the ocean, downtown, East County, Mexico, San Jacinto Mountain near Palm Springs and even the San Bernardino mountains way off in the distance. Enjoy!

hiking
15 days ago

My favorite part about this hike is at the top it has a map telling you what landmarks are in each direction and you can see Mexico!

hiking
15 days ago

One of my favorite hikes. Steep hike for a 1hr workout to the top. Fantastic view!

Beautiful hike and breath taking views at the top! Plus, a great workout.

When you need a trail to get you back into it after a 2 month summer hibernation. Off to Cuyamaca

Beautiful views going up! Very crowded, but everyone is very nice and polite! :) There are a few people that forget their dog-potty bags sadly.
The views and trails are worth the crowds, a must do trail!

hiking
24 days ago

I love how the trail offers breaks just at the right time to be able to stay in motion.

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