Explore SD Hiking - 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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Really fun hike. We crushed it yesterday

hiking
2 days ago

A good hike but crowded

hiking
2 days ago

way to crowded! trail is ugly

Love this hike. It's definitely a workout with a constant uphill path to the top, but the views are worth it. It's not too long either. The only negative is that it can get a bit crowded.

Bring lots of water. In summer, go early before it gets too hot.

Overcrowded. Overrated. And relatively boring most of the hike. A nice workout and a gorgeous wait in line at the top. This hike wouldn’t be so bad if not as many unprepared and rude people hiked it. Go extremely early if you want to enjoy yourself and the nature around you.

Good hard hike for a nice workout. Did this during summer so I Started at 6 am with my dog and ended at 9/10 am. Start and end with a walk near the lake. Potato chip was a little disappointing and you have to climb up on to get to but still a nice fun hike.

hiking
9 days ago

Great family hike that is very easy and passes by a picturesque lake. Also saw lots of different birds.

Try to go early in the morning. You’ll bit the sun and the line to take a photo at the famous potato chip rock.

Good hike for beginners.

This is my second time on this hike and is fun and challenging as always. I went with a ton of my family so we kept stopping to take pictures. This trail is definitely a leg killer but if you push yourself you will make it! People need to pick up their dogs crap and throw the bags away! I’m trying to enjoy a nice hike without worrying about stepping in dog crap! It’s also very crowded, but really fun!

Very crowded, kind of boring

Used to hike with my mother best times of my life

Trail itself was great. People hiking not so much. Unleashed dogs. Poop bags left on trailside everywhere. Way to crowded. Worst of all was the amplified music, seriously invest in some headphones if you really need the tunes. And the mountain bikers, why even try on a weekend?

Awesome trail. Very Pretty. Lots of nature . HARD . It gives you cramps in your legs. VERY HARD at the end before you got up at the top. But LOVED it !!!!!

Finished this trail today - start at Golfcrest road, at the start of the Cowles mountain trail, and then came down along the Cowles service road. Would rate the upward hike as easy-mod. Great views along the way up. The summit is worth spending some time at. Pictures may be better when it is sunnier, today it was quite cloudy so good hiking conditions, not the best photo opp. The service road trail is for biking as well. Wider, less uneven, but a little slippery going down. My knees felt the pressure towards the end of having to avoid slips. Once we got down, we walked along the paved road back to our car parked at Golfcrest, took about 20 mins for that. Overall, 2 hours of solid hiking, definitely worth a hike. Recommend going early and using 4 sets of eyes to look for parking spots!

we loved this hike. Alot of people was on the trail and at the "chip". Rain made it a lil slippery coming back down but overall it was amazing.

This is a really nice hike. It is a difficult one though. There is alot of elevation change over a short period. Start early, understand it will be cold at the top. It had rained the day before and the puddles further up this hike were all ice.

The trail itself is extremely well marked. Just keep following towards Mt Woodson. The first few miles are about 10 feet wide, well maintained and as the trail progresses it slowly gets narrower but never much below about 3 feet wide. The very steep parts all have rock stairs on the trail.

As you're hiking you might be wondering where the peak is. Look for all the anteneas. They are just above potato chip rock.

If you don't want to pay for parking, you can park across the street from the entrance, but it adds about 1.5 miles round trip to your hike and a bit of elevation.

Beautiful and scary at top!

First of all follow the signs and stay on the trails. I got stranded before entering parking and took an alternate route which lead through non existing paths. Finally made my entry through a different point than Poway lake.

It took me around 5 hours to complete this trail
One of the best experience , saw people of all ages making with enthusiasm. At halfway I almost got exhausted due to the climb but got encouraged by fellow climbers.
Potato chip rick was crowded as usual. I made it back to the Poway lake by sunset.
Will recommend for all who want to take the challenge of completing this difficult trial.

on Cowles Mountain Trail

hiking
14 days ago

This trail is known in the area to be a fun social trail to do with family and friends. On a very clear day you can see the full San Diego Coast line. I find my wife and I usually can move up the trail quickly and then carefully run down. There is a backside trail that is similar with less foot traffic (note it is not the truck trail). This is a popular trail so you have to slow down. If you are looking for a hard core work out and some solidarity then go away from the city.

tough hike ...I got sore knees and hips FOR 10 DAYS !

Short not challenging

A good workout for sure. We started at the lake and walked up. Paths were pretty wide and well laid out. Some shade but mostly exposed so I’d suggest wear a hat and sunglasses.
As an aside...Some groups take a long time at the photo opp at the rock that caused a long (45 min) line on a Friday. Maybe there should be a sign reminding people to be more considerate.
Not a beginner hike but saw people of all age and size on this trail! Just need determination.

Heavily trafficked, beautiful views

group of us did it lake Poway took us 2 hours from the parking lot to the potato chip. Nice cool day lots of people. great trip even with my bad knees and pending hernia surgery.

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