Explore To be - 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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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.

hiking
3 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!

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.

Very nice on a beautiful day..

Great hike to chat with friends while getting some nature time on :)

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

We did this around 8am it was perfect timing. The fog came in later so we had some great views. It’s started to get crowded around 930am.

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!

Got there quite early (730am) and it was very foggy on the hike up but the temps were so mild it was perfect. The include was gradual but you get a good cardio workout.

Definitely epic views.

Best part - briskly walking the beach hoping to not get my shoes wet... which didn’t happen

Beautiful! This is ranked as easy but if it’s high tide and you can’t cut across the beach, you’ll have to go back the way you came; if you’re new to hiking, the gradual inclines will get you a bit out of breath. But still an easy, breezy hike.

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
22 days ago

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

Great trail to bring out of state guests and friends.

Now one of my favorite trail!!

Fun afternoon hike

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.

Nice trail. Beautiful views!

Beautiful beach trail. Keep an eye on the tide though if you’re planning on walking back on the beach.

Parking was the only issue, so get there early. The trail was nice & easy with amazing views. The trail by itself took about an hour.

A classic and iconic trail. Simple as that.

Great hike!!

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