Explore San Diego Peaks - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

San Diego Peaks Map
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Please don't go hike on this trail. It seems the land is now private and hiking is treated as trespassing.

After passing Cowles Mountain I really enjoyed this hike!! Cowles is good and all but way too many people. The views are great and the trail is less busy. Probably ran into 2 other groups at the peak but only one other person on the trail. The last .25 miles of this trail was the most challenging, but it was a great climb! Will definitely do again.

hiking
4 days ago

Awesome views! A favorite trail among mountain bike riders. Bring lots of water. Few parking spots. Please pick up after your 4-legged friends.

Really amazing trail. Many for the in-depth information posted here and the ribbons/yellow paint markers along the way!

I’ve done every trail on this mountain at least 5 times, if not more. Great hikes with lots of single tracks. Great for everyone and dog owners too.

Ensure you watch out for snakes in the summer months, as they are plentiful but usually not in plain site (off the trails). There have been mountain lion sightings and we saw a large bobcat at night, but I don’t know of any interactions with humans or pets.

Have a blast out here and enjoy. There are a lots of trails and lots to see.

My second time doing this trail. Wasn’t able to complete it the first time. But came back and finished today! Great trail with nice views challenging carry plenty of water it’s a little over 16 miles. Do it really early to avoid the heat! Loved it

hiking
7 days ago

Moderate, if you go all the way to the top, bring plenty of water. nice people on the trail.

Very busy and a lot of rock hopping

- Lots of greens and shades in this trail. Well maintained;
- Be careful of bikers and motorcyclists !!! Some of them were really aggressive, who never slowed down because of race.
- Needs lots of water (at least 3.5 L) and energy bar as well
- 4WD recommended and drive slow.

Great trail

holy crap that was brutal! but so very beautiful! yes snow and ice. I used yaktrax and a pole and was fine. tough at altitude.

Challenging hike for me but pleasant all the same. Couple pieces of advice, most which are mentioned by others. Bring more water than you think you need. I took 3 1/2 liters and ran out with 3 miles to go. Also, when you think you are getting close to the summit you still have a long way to go. You can see the antennas and feel you are 30 min from the peak for half the hike. The road up to the parking lot is bumpy so if you don't have a four wheel drive allow some extra time. Get your adventure pass for parking prior if you can. This hike takes a long time so be aware and don't assume you can shave a couple hours off. I didn't end up getting done til 6:00 so only had another hour of light. Enjoyed the hike even though a mountain bike event was going on so had to pull over for about 50 bikers. Coming back was very pleasant with the afternoon shade and less traffic.

Really enjoy this hike. It's not that difficult but great for intermediate hikers. Scenery is beautiful. You can do the loop to Red Tahquitz through Saddle Junction to make it a longer hike. Just love the scenery. The ranger station was closed for repair so couldn't walk up the stairs. When I got to parking lot at 7am there was only two cars there. When I got back down, and after passing about 50 people going up, the parking lot was full. Weekends, as with every LA area hike, get there early. You also need the American the Beautiful or Day Pass for parking and a permit to hike this trail which can be obtained in the town of Idyllwild about 2.6 miles before the trailhead. First 2 1/2 miles are the struggle and plenty of shade. Last 1.4 miles is pretty level or low uphill so once you get to junction with all the signs the hard work is over.

Great trail. Amazing views from the top. Well covered most of the hike. Good elevation from the start. It does get a bit busy but it’s a most do hike.

backpacking
14 days ago

Did this as a training hike with a fully loaded backpack. The road is a PITA cuz it takes a long time to get out there and it can be crowded, but the trail overall is quite lovely. Once you start climbing (after the waterfall trail junction) it gets quieter and the views get better and better. April 2018: there is plenty of water in the lower sections of the trail. When you get to main divide road there is no sign indicating where to go, go Right for about .4 miles and look for some piled rocks on the left side of the road pointing to the trail, it takes a sharp Left and keeps climbing. Bring a headlamp in case you end up hiking after dark like me!

Bring more water then you think you’ll need. My pack ended up being pretty heavy but 7 bottles of water a Gatorade and 3 apple juice boxes proved to not be near enough almost.
The road up to the trail can be sketchy, that being said I did trek it in my MINI Cooper and it really wasn’t that bad. More just embarrassing because I almost felt like people were looking at me like, look at this bitch trying to take this road in a MINI but if you go slow, let Jeeps pass and watch for rocks & pot holes in the road you’ll be just fine.
General store at the end of the road to the trail had Adventure Passes for sale.
The hike to the summit for me wasn’t too bad physically just more mentally challenging. A lot of the hike is shady but be prepaired for some sun as well. Probably about 1/3 of it you might be in the sun for.

Great training hike for our Grand Canyon. Go early. Parts of trail are pretty expsoed and can get warm. A handful of annoying things about the trail...first are all the bikers on the trail. second are the motorcycles and cars the last mile. last is the last mile of the trail is on the road with lots of rocks and exposed for the first half. however at the end there amazing views of OC and the ocean on clear days.

Great day hike on a beautiful day.

One of the best hikes in Malibu; moderately difficult, great scenery and views

Amazing trail! Once you get passed the overcrowded cowels mountain trail, you pretty much have the whole trail to yourself. I barely ran into 4 people all together. Great inclines and declines. The last .25 mile to the peak is a nice challenge for any hiker. Absolutely loved this trail- definitely coming back!

5 Peak challenge completed

I’ve hiked on this trail with my two dogs and it’s a nice trail!

Great trail. Tough to get to sometimes as the dirt road can be in pretty bad condition getting there. Great views with trails that have a variety of surfaces, rock, dirt, sand. Bring a lot water.

We hiked this from Burnt Rancheria campground, which adds on a little - made it right around 7 miles.

Great views from the peak!

finished 5 peak challenge with this peak. to me it was the most diffucult

off road driving
26 days ago

Wasn’t really to happy to find that the actual trail doesn’t allow off-roading. But there is some good riding right at the entrance. A lot of rocky ruff terrain, fun though.

We made it a couple of hundred yards away from the lookout and had to stop because we didn’t have poles or micro spikes. Incredible views throughout the hike. Can’t wait to do it again with the proper equipment.

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