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Good Long trail steady climb. And obviously the awesome photo opp at the end

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 trail! Pretty scenery and views with a gradual uphill.

Morning and daytime (during cooler weather) hikes here can be extremely busy! I go at night (bring head gear or hand flashlight). When using a flashlight at night please be mindful of either sticking your beam on the trail or just turn it off until they pass (some hikers prefer using the natural moonlight). Don't shine it in their eyes! It's rude and unsafe. Once at the summit, incredible views!

hiking
2 days ago

A good workout. Very nice views.

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

2 days ago

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

Love everything about this hike.

Great night hike!!i

it was great hike.

Nice hike with some challenging sections. The six mile loop is a combination of a bunch of different paths so I recommend running this app during your hike. You can’t just zone out and walk/run the whole thing. When you come out of the parking lot, there is a cool bridge over a canyon. You turn left once across the bridge to get to The Fortuna loop. If you want to go counterclockwise, the path off to the right is roughly a hundred yards after turning left from the bridge. If you turn right from the bridge, there are some very steep repeated climbs for a warm up.

I did it counterclockwise and enjoying hustling up the long run of steps. I definitely preferred going up those versus down. It took me just over 90 minutes to complete. There are spectacular views from both peaks. I was fine starting at 8am on a weekday in mid-November with a 12-16oz bottle of water. I passed maybe five people going in my direction and about the same going the other way.

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

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

hiking
7 days ago

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
7 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.

Beautiful hike. Difficult but worth it! Start early park closes gates strictly 5pm

Perfect to test our skills

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.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

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!

Fantastic views. Moderately challenging depending on the level of sun and heat you're encountering. Bring more water than you need and do the hike clockwise so that the heavy incline (on the S.Fortuna side), is actually a decline.

I wouldn't reccomend the north trail for mt biking unless you like hike !bike

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
17 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!

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
27 days ago

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

Really well-maintained trail, nice variety in pathways, and beautiful views. Go AS EARLY as you can get there to enjoy some sense of solitude and beautiful light along the way.

For runners, a great place to practice decision-making for when to walk up steeps and when to run- and as a bonus, BOMBING downhill fun all the way.

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