Explore SD Trails - 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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Ok, this is a no-joke trail! There are ups and downs the entire time - most hikes you get to the top and it's all downhill on the way home - NOT this one! It is especially a hard one if it's hot like it was today. Bring more water than you think you'll need. The signage here is GREAT! you cannot get lost - especially at the top where they were every few feet leading you to the VERY top. Awesome views!

Love this trail! Very hard try and go super early because it gets hot. One of the things I Noticed is that couple times I saw glass by where the parking is. The last time I was there they broke my rear window just to steal my backpack with nothing of value.
Shady people , just be careful

love this place, pretty good with a weight vest too.

This is a great hike with amazing views along the way. The thrill is when you get to the top and see the potato chip. As a bit of advice, do this one early to stay out of the heat but most importantly to be the crowds. We started at 8:00 from the parking lot and we went got to the top there was only a handful of people there. Within 1/2 hours there were at least 100 people and the lineups were getting longer and longer.

I’m giving this 4 stars only because it was soooo crowded when I went. So my advice to you, don’t go during the weekend!! There was literally a long line to take a picture on the damn potato chip rock. And people take foreverrrrrr since there trying to get that perfect Instagram worthy pic, or their new tinder profile pic. Who knows, i didn’t stand in it. Overall the hike is great, def bring plenty of water if your going during the summer. Great workout, there is plenty of shady spots if you get too tired and need to rest.

September 18th: This hike was gorgeous and challenging. I underestimated it and took only 2 liters of water. I ran out about halfway back to my car, and by the time I got fluids I was very ill. I want to reiterate a previous poster's suggestion - take at least 3 liters!! Amazing views at the top, well worth the hard work.

Beautiful views the whole way up. Park your car at lake Poway. $10 parking fee on the weekend. They open at 6:00. I started at 6:30 and it was already pretty busy. The trail is very well maintained and marked. Moderate hike.

I hike Cowles my often. This is more intense b/c of steep slopes. 23mins up and 18 down. It is very light on ppl. Quiet and good views

It is about 30 minutes of rough dirt road to get to the trail point. The hike itself fun, there is a point where it gets very steep going down and there are ropes to hold onto but can be very slow as it is a very crowded hike. Luckily the falls had plenty of water flow so I was able to slide down. Heading back is tough and there is not much shade on this hike so be prepared to deal with the sun.

not for beginners

trail running
12 days ago

If you’re a sucker for views, love a challenge but don’t have all day to hike or trail run, I highly suggest Kwaay Paay. I went at about 430pm on a Wednesday and passed two people on the way up, three at the summit and three on the way down. So I don’t know what you consider heavily trafficked but in my book, seven people in span of an hour / hour and a half is light... (However can be a much shorter hike if you don’t spend 30 minutes at the Summit taking pics and staring into the sunset.)
And again... the VIEWS!!! I must emphasize how insanely gorgeous and inspiring they are THE ENTIRE TIME. BUT— Whatever you do— don’t turn around before you get to the summit. You can see downtown and the Pacific Ocean!!!

This was a great workout, but not too challenging. The trail up to Cowles peak is busy, but after that the crowds disappear. I saw only 2 others on my way from there to Pyles peak. I was warned several times about a large rattlesnake haunting the trail this morning, but never saw it. Kind of relieved, kind of disappointed :)

just finished this bad boy or girl.. its was a challenge!

Went on this hike with my girlfriends. started a little after 6am and finished by 8:20am. This hike was not difficult at all for me but I can see how it could be for others. unfortunately there was no water at this time of the year so we decided to come back after it rains a few times. If hiking after 9am I definitely recommend bringing at least 4 bottles of water!

Great! Food and gallon of water very important. Beautiful view.

hiking
16 days ago

Definitely a challenging hike. Especially in 105 degree weather. Really good workout

The trail has potential, but is very crowded and most do not observe trail etiquette (for example: amplified music, leaving trash on the summit, not picking up after dogs).

What’s missing in these photos is TONS OF PEOPLE! Usually there are 50 to 100 people hanging out, swimming and cliff jumping. Super fun place to hang out.

great trip! 40 mins up 30 mins down!

It is HARD the first part is somewhat easy but that last part is so steep watch your step coming down always worth it at the end good luck !

First time here. Really good trail!

Great hike. The trail changed. Last visited three sisters a few years ago. There used to be a little bit of sliding on your back to get down to the falls and then some rope climbing involved to go back up. None of that is there now. Just a well defined trail with lots of markers to keep hikers on track. We have a parking lot now. Was a little disappointed that there wasn't any water...so no falls during this visit but that is to be expected during this time of the year (it's early September). But all in all it was still a good hike.

Make sure to go early if you’re doing this as a summer hike, as the trail has little to no shade most of the way. Bring more water than expected if you do leave early in the day. Very high incline for most of the hike and switchbacks until about 3/4 of the way through.

This was a great hike - waterfalls are non-existent at the end of a hot, dry summer, but it was a beautiful hike nonetheless. Little shade on the trail. We had 50 ounces of water per person and this was sufficient. You don't need a map to navigate this trail, but near the beginning of the hike you will come to a fork in the road and an unmarked post where you need to turn left. Near the end you will start to see pink ribbons guiding you over a rocky portion of the trail. Very helpful!

love this trail! Quiet, not crowded at all. Good runnable trail for race prep!

just did it yesterday. beautiful hike started 0700. all incline. scary jump needed to reach the chip rock. got help from a nice man. worth the photo op. going off the rock 2 options: 1. go back the way u jumped but requires help from people who could lift u. 2. go down to right. requires treks on shoes midway just slide down while laying down.

Not much to look at on this hike until you get to the top. Great views of San Diego once you get there. Pretty good work out. Went on a week day and it wasn’t crowded at all.

Beautiful and serene. Really enjoyed the hike but a few spots on the trail can be a bit steep. Overall beautiful and lovely.

on Viejas Mountain Trail

1 month ago

This was steep but worth the view.

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