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

to-do Map

nice hike a lot to see. not mush shade. pack list should have at least 3L of water. have fun pack out what you pack in. animals welcome watch out for snakes

This trail is the perfect quick hike. It is nice to get away from the crowds at Cowles. From the start, go left for an easier start. It is no where near as steep as going straight up the front.

To start, this is an awesome hike! It is such an awesome experience going through the tunnels and observing the ruins of trains, tunnels, and work equipment along the way.

We decided to start from De Anza Spring Resort (nudist resort). When you get to the gate hit the intercom button and they will let you in. You will then drive 5mph to the office. Follow the signs and you will find it. It is $5 per person and they will need a copy of each person drivers license. From there you will head back towards the entrance gate to park and you will see rocks lined up and outlining the trail to the railroad.

Once you get to the railroad, take a right (away form the freeway) and follow the train tracks until you reach the trestle.

We decided to go through all of the tunnels, so our elevation gain was approx 2,000 ft. You could easily add distance and elevation gain if you go around the tunnels (there are trails, not sure on the quality).

Make sure on the hike you bring plenty of water, a bright flashlight or two, and comfortable shoes. This is not a good hike for warm weather and we found it very enjoyable right after the rain.

Another recommendation, as you see all the ruins and cool things to check out, do it quickly on your way out, then when you are on your way back, spend more time checking out and taking pictures. If you spend too long looking at this stuff on the way out, it is very possible to end up walking back in the dark.

Finally, after the hike we started researching the history and there is so much cool stuff to learn about. Might be worth learning the history before hand so you can understand the different ruins you are seeing.

Enojy, this is a long one, but so many unique experiences that I will never forget. This is on the top list for hikes.

This trail was wonderful! May have got turned around, but the view was prettier with each turn. Bring extra water and the power lines can be used as a landmark to keep you on your path!

Short hike. Not as bad as some of the comments. There were small children climbing the trail just fine. If you are not in the best of shape it is a good workout. You can make it a loop and come down a long side the condos

it was a great hike well worth the trip. some things to be careful of is the drive there turn in to a dirt road and it could flood out during the rainy time. also on the trail it self there are two ways you can go, you can go straight down a loose dirt clif or you can stay left and do a easier trail it's easy to miss.

fun challenging trail. one of the longer funnier trails in mission trails park. bring some water and have fun the rocks at the end can be a burn.

Great hike today in the mist and we saw half a dozen people in 2 hours, it was awesome. I would say a moderate hike with hiking boots. Please make sure you have hiking shoes and plenty of water. Park at the old mission dam and you can knock this out in 2 hours. Get a map or follow the signs so you don’t get lost. Best of luck!

Wide open spaces. This is a very leisurely walk.

Beautiful trail! Some steep areas provide an extra challenge, but it’s pretty moderate terrain. Hardly saw anyone else on it which was nice.

Definitely worth the drive! Very nice people on the way up and down! I honestly was sliding on my butt for a lot of the way down. Make sure to bring plenty of water! The photos on the website don't do service to what it feels like to be there. Definitely the hardest hike I've done but I did all of it! I went from 12:30-4:30 during March and it was perfect!

Can’t believe this is in San Diego. A must do!!!

This trail has some good climbs for training and a great view from the top. definitely less traveled than Cowles mountain

10 days ago

Fun hike, amazing views. This trail map does not take you to the cave. We finally found the cave and it was another 1\2 mile from where this trail ends on the map. (32.63490, -116.09223) is the coordinates for the cave.

Good nature walk

Difficult as one part is very steep

Wear hiking boots

Keep your dog on a leash don’t be that guy-

Water is flowing decently right now. The weather was great, 50 and overcast with a stiff breeze, a light mist, and heavy clouds around the top of surrounding mountains. I brought two medium size dogs and they loved it also. definable a must do in the area if it's rainy season.

13 days ago

Great hike! I would say moderate and less crowded than the other 4 peaks.I see a few people complaining about rocks on the trail. Guess what it’s a mountain and that’s what hiking boots are for. If you take this from the visitors center it’s about 5.5 miles and if you start from the bottom it’s just over 2 miles. Have fun!

This was a great trip! Although I hike often, this one kicked my butt! There is lots of incline hiking as well as stair-like supports. Definitely felt the burn in my legs and got my heart racing! P.s. once you're on Pyles Peak Trail after walking through the Cowles Mt Peak, keep a look out for a fork in the trail. We kept on the main trail but it took us too far to the left and we missed the peak. Just keep your eyes open for a right fork.

Just got through today, raining during midday has made rocks very slippery but well worth the challenge, waterfall was a great place for some scenic photos.

trail running
13 days ago

This was awesome! Well marked and stunning views. I felt very safe.

This was a great 15 mile out and back trail. The day was Beautiful, but we started late. On the way back to our car we encountered killer chilly winds. Depends on what side you enter, be prepared to scramble over rocks to get through tunnels. Overall great fun exploring.

Fun hike, pretty strenuous but well worth it. The stairs and rock scramble to the top was the most rewarding. Bring a rain jacket weather can turn quickly.

Love this trail....is the water flowing? I want to hike here tomorrow. Haven't been s since may/July when there was actually water flowing ..anyone been there the past couple days???

trail running
16 days ago

I haven’t actually done this trail yet, but I want to bad! I’m fairly new to the area and a little worried about venturing in the “back woods” by myself. The only daylight time I really am available right now are Wednesday and Thursdays. If anyone (or many) are interested in teaming up to run Mission Trails or any other in San Diego area shoot me an email: warfitnessgrp@gmail.com. Hopefully there’s others that have a open schedule on Wednesday and Thursday’s!

Can people please indicate if the falls were flowing when they hike 3 Sisters? Thanks

Can do this in tennis shoes when dry. Moderate trail for altitude. Trail not clearly marked if going on west side initially. You might end ip under powerlines for a bit if you take the wrong trail.

Hiked it on Sunday and it was very hard and kind of scary especially at my age of 66 but I made it. The climb back was the toughest

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