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.

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Pretty nice, very easy. Keep an eye out for the rattlers

Great hike spot if you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy some beautiful scenery. You make the hike however long/challenging as you like with the various trails you can pick once you get to the top! Starts with. 1.5mile trek up the mountain, but once you get to the top you have several trails to pick long or short that offer lake views, ocean view, or overlooking all of Escondido’s city. Highly recommend! Grab a map from the resource center in the parking lot for a guide on which trails you want!

hiking
13 days ago

nice easy hike. At the end of the hike there's huge rocks and boulders you can navigate through to take in the beautiful views that stonewall peak has to offer.

a nice, easy hike. good for a trail run, for sure and very pretty.

Long but easy, good for a run

Some very modest hills, but otherwise a flat walk (or run) up Penesquitos Canyon. A small waterfall at the mid point provides some scrambling opportunities as well as a place to cool your feet. A fairly easy hike, but little to no breeze in the canyon, so not a good option on hot days.

hiking
27 days ago

Very easy trial. Small incline at the beginning-maybe a tenth of a mile and that’s about it. Lots of switchbacks and the views all the way to the top were amazing. Loved the stairs leading to the summit. However huge infestation of termites at the summit. So definitely didn’t hang out at the summit for too long. They flew and landed all over my friend. The views at the summit are definitely worth it. It was beautiful. We went early enough we didn’t see any snakes at all but we were definitely definitely wary and watching out for them. Definitely do this hike. You won’t be disappointed.

It was a fun hike with my wife and our first trail in California. The scenery was beautiful.

Great hike with an awesome waterfall to play around or near. Fun little "pool" area at the base of the falls to cool down in. Our dog loved it too. If u do bring your dog go early because of the heat....and plenty of water for you and your pooch. Hike back wasn't too bad, the last .5 mile back was probably the hardest. Only saw one snake..

mountain biking
1 month ago

PARKING: limited parking in the dirt lot that opens at 8AM so i recommend getting there a little early to claim the prime spot.

THE HIKE: locating the trail head was a bit difficult for me since there were multiple trail heads at the start. choose the right one or you'll end up by the river with no where else to go (whisper: saw a lady doing yoga posses on this very short trail and i awkwardly walked backwards as though i just saw a bear)

Anyway, the hike itself is very well maintained and saw a few rangers making rounds making sure that people are leashing their dogs and making sure poops are in poop bags. I went during the weekday so didn't notice a lot of human traffic (perfect for my introverted self). HOWEVER, the reserve does offer guided hikes and as i was heading back, a swarm of (i kid you not) 20 children were running past me and 1 chaperone absentmindedly staring at her phone.

You'll go through some slight inclines and declines but overall, the hike was bearable. The dam (which i mistook for the lake) is pretty cool but definitely make your way up to the actual overlook for breathtaking views!!! i guarantee you're hiking mind will feel the euphoria of gorgeous scenery. Take your time taking it all in, too! It was nice being the first and only one at the overlook.

I would say this is one of my favorite hikes in the area. Warning though, there's very little shade so either go super early to beat the heat (especially during the summer) or be prepared and slather layers of sunblock. Also be careful for random animal droppings. And bugs.

Cool lil trail but as of July 7 it is bone dry.

Beautiful views. Make sure to purchase a permit. One permit for 5 people. Bring plenty of water and food. Don't forget your hat and sunscreen lotion because there are no shades. It was easy on the way down to the water fall. Yet, on the way back was a challenging. There was a little snake in the water. Be careful. I was there last week, July 1st.

It was way more interesting than I expected. Definitely go to the waterfall. In general it’s very flat, but the trees are very beautiful.

$3 cash to park.

Great little hike. Plenty of shade in the am hours. At the peak monument there is a huge infestation of termites, pretty gross!

trail running
1 month ago

Great trail to hike and trail run! I enjoyed the scenery. Made it to Lake Poway. Relaxed at the bench, snacked, than continued with hike. Trail run my way back to staging area. Lots of trails to choose from. Will hike again =)

Didn’t get to the falls (couldn’t get a $10 permit) but nice hike nonetheless

Great challenging hike to the top of the summit. Great views and view of Lake Hodges. Will hike again.

trail running
1 month ago

Great trail for walking and trail run. Several trails to choose from. Small ponds and waterfall along the way. Came across several people on trail and mountain bikers. Share the path. Signs throughout path. Great workout. Will do again. Recommend if your looking to walk (not hike) and trail run.

More of a walk than a hike, but suited our needs perfectly. Quite a few other hikers and bikers but a nice wide trail and really lovely waterfall/pools at the end of the trail and some pretty bridges crossing the stream along the way. Brought the dogs on leashes and they loved it. Did see a pretty big snake slither across the path so was glad we kept the dogs on leashes at all times.

This is a really nice hike up to the Bernardo Summit. The terrain varies from flat, to rocky and some decent inclines. It is a well worn trail that are shared with mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners. I would say it is a good trail for most, there were some seniors and children on the trail, so use your best judgment. There are several different trails that can be taken, I was on the one marked “Bernardo Mountain Summit” which takes you to rattlesnake view point. If you are going in the summer or hot in general, start early mornings to avoid heat issues, not a lot of shaded areas and in the summer Escondido gets well over 90 degs, so hotter on the mountain. Overall a great work out, great views and round trip was about 4.5 miles

Great hike! Very easy if you walk! Lots of different routes to go which is nice for seeing different things. But I did have to PAY THREE DOLLARS IN CASH

on Big Rock Trail

hiking
1 month ago

a great way to go to the top of Cowles Mountain without all the traffic. A good workout fairly steep in places lots of stairs to climb. Go early it gets hot! the only reason not five stars is because it's pretty dusty in the summer months.

Love this hike! Good amount of parking, scenic mountains on the way down and decent work out on the way back. Wear a bathing suit and pack a lunch and hang near the water for a bit. I swam before hiking back to help beat the heat. There is zero shade besides down by the water so be smart. I went last week and there really was just a trickle vs a waterfall but definitely still worth the hike. Oh and get your permit - they checked mine at the tent before entering and then again after I had already done ~2 miles.

Nice long but easy hike. Pretty views of the river along the way. Unfortunately it's tick haven right now. Also there was quite a bit of evidence of snakes on the trail. Be extra cautious with dogs and horses!

Good trail to walk. “Waterfall” wasn’t much. But overall it was nice.

First/last mile against major highway. once away from it the hike got much better. little shade but nice views.

Tougher than it looks.

One of my favorite hikes to do in this area!

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