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

Saved Local Trails Map
VIEW FULL MAP

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.

I love that height it's so green

hiking
3 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
3 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.

Short but a good workout especially the loop trip. Steep and rutted trail with a lot of traffic. Views from the peak are great. Not much shade, early mornings are best IMO. Plenty of parking. No fee but donations are appreciated.

It was well kept and not highly trafficked.

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
13 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!

Hike this regularly. It's my outdoor gym, gets me ready ready for bigger and better things!

nice hills, good distance, good work out, just not much of a scenery.

A good training trail to maintain stamina and balance. Choose the loop route to the summit, reverse to the cross, then back to the summit.

A nice bit of ups and downs...

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!

Super fun! I lived it

hiking
22 days ago

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

Dog poop everywhere! These people should be ashamed of themselves leaving their dogs crap all over the trail. Ruins it for everyone else.

Fun afternoon hike

I'd recommend early in the day or early evening. This one will get the heart pumping and has some great views.

Good workout, lots of up and down. We went counterclockwise and hit the stairs going up. The trails are marked with changing names. Hard to get lost, but easy to make a wrong turn. Great view from both peaks.

We wanted to get out of downtown to get a short hike and Cowles Mountain did fit the bill. This trail is less than 1/2 hour away from downtown in the approximately 7,000-acre Mission Trails Regional Park. This is an easy to moderate trail and family friendly. The trail is very open with no cloud cover and is pretty dusty. It is also quit busy. As the park is in the rural San Diego area you never quite feel that you are in the wild. Great 360 views from the top. Add a couple of side hikes to increase the miles and visit the very nice visitor center in the park. If we had more time, we would have driven further out of town to experience the SoCal back country, but is was good for what it is billed. A couple of good park rules that I appreciated. No external music is allowed and no radio controlled devices. This means that someone is not allowed to pull out their drone at the top. This seems to be a very annoying trend even on back country hikes.

Easy hike, not very taxing at all. Stellar views, nice trail, cool trees. 10/10

hiking
1 month ago

Hike was fun and enjoyable. Views of large rocky hills go on for miles on all sides. Signage was good. Went on a sunday afternoon so it was decently crowded but not too bad - still quiet. A lot of turns keep you winding around the hills. Watch your step - almost stepped on a rattlesnake out bathing himself :)

Load More