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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.

Easy practically flat trail. Beware lots of bike riders, some are nice enough to let you know they are coming close. Busy on the weekends. Nice waterfall at the end of the trail to refresh yourself in.

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!

it was great hike.

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

Great little out and back trail! Not completely flat, but not overly challenging, either. Terrain is very dry, but that's no surprise right now. Creek was flowing a little bit, nice to be able to walk along some water. Lots of available, free parking at the trailhead. Directions from All Trails are perfect. No restrooms or drinking water. Will definitely do this again when all I have time for is a quick, local hike.

Beautiful place

hiking
8 days ago

I have been wanting to do this one for a while. There was no water when I went but it was still pretty cool. To get there it is all down hill, that means it is a pretty steep hike on the way back. Every one says it is crowded. I went late afternoon and there were only a handful of people out. Most of the time I was just completely by myself. Cool hike though!

hiking
8 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.

Fun hike for any ages.

trail running
10 days ago

Favorite run while visiting Newport Beach. Dirt trail, rolling hills, and partial coverage make this a fun, scenic, and comfortable run for those not afraid to tackle some steep inclines and declines.

Excellent

Amazing views.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

13 days ago

I like this trail because of the challenging uphill segments and the cool ocean breeze. I like it even more now that I run into occasional hikers more frequently than I used to, so I don't feel like it is dangerous to go alone.

A nice morning walk. Some runners on the trial and some bikes, but not too many bikes. Great views and ocean breeze.

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!

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
18 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!

Trail is actually 5.2 using Cougar. Nice tail in the city good to have.

Amazing hiking. All the trail was very quiet so you could hear the sound of nature.

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
26 days ago

On oct 25, 2018, got out and hiked this trail, based on reading the feedback. I live off PCH, so this is really convenient, as the trail head on poppy ave is @1/2 mile from PCH. The trail is very nice and lots of greenery, is narrow in some parts, but just fine. It reminds me of the Lizard trail in Crystal Cove but not as tough, as there is not many steep hills. There is shade on the trail, and opportunity to take your cap off. The sound of water is soothing.

I hike alone, as I’m retired and get out on trail during the week when it’s not full of bikers. “Ihikealone”. Really enjoyable hike in the city.

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.

beautiful and clean trail

I will forever have a special place in my heart for this mountain. In April of 2018 I started my new journey to lose weight. I am so proud to say by July 2018 I had lost 40lbs. I hiked and still hike Cowles 2-3 time a week and that was it. This hike is great for beginners and experienced hikers. Don’t give up in the hard areas you can do it! The view is worth it. I like to cut from the front trail to the back trail at the top for a nice steep incline at the top. Have fun!

Great trail. Cool off in the pool. Take lots of water!

Fun, but no water even after heavy rain fall.

it was awesome

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