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

Enjoyable loop and a nice distance for a fun hike. Can backpack with a permit but some of the trails have limited space. Mostly single track on pine mountain trail. Some spots near noble mountain trail.

Avoid brushing up against any brush. I picked up a few ticks on the pine mountain section of trail that I quickly flicked off.

Some nice views and Indian creek was flowing in April.


Love this HARD hike but FYI the trail is closed for August due to high heat! We showed up at 6 am with tons of water and found closed sign and had to divert to mission trails. Def hike when cooler!

Really enjoyed this trail. Agree with other reviewers that it’s a more moderate hike, though there are a couple of steep parts. Also it’s closer to 7 miles. It’s a very quiet trail, I only saw 2 other people the whole time. This is surprising, now having done it, because it’s not that difficult, only an hour outside of San Diego, and mostly a gorgeous hike. The first 1-1.5 miles are a little boring, but once you get to the saddle and junction of multiple trails, it’s pretty to the summit. I was surprised at how green the landscape was in August. The view from the top is spectacular. I did have a slightly weird feeling at times, especially in the beginning/end portion, mostly along the service road and right around the junction for the Espinosa Trail. Maybe because of the oak trees, maybe because there are a couple of shacks back there, maybe because I was alone... or maybe because Corte Madera is supposedly haunted! Who can say. It’s a cool hike, definitely recommend.

This hike was okay. The views from the peak were nice but the trail itself wasn't very pretty. Lots of overgrowth. Steady climb the whole way, nothing very steep and few flat parts. Thought we would escape the heat but it wasn't the case. Very little shade but nice breeze towards the top. Not a hike we would do again and again.

6 days ago

Beautiful hike. I didn’t see another hiker but I did it in Aug and it was 105 degrees. Pretty easy until you get to the end of the 4 wheeler trail and then it is a moderate climb until the last 1/4 mike to the saddle which is steep. Fun hike.

Good trail and easy to follow. Bring plenty of water and use sunscreen during the summer. Had my 4 kids with me (10 and under) and they were able to get to the top. It was definitely hot with minimal coverage, I’d like to do it again once it’s cooled down a bit. The views were worth the climb. The distance is a little off, it says it is 4.6 miles but we went 5.41 miles total.

Great trail, quite a challenge one you pass the hat and hit the paved trail up. Take your time.

Nice little climb, did get very hot towards the end of the morning plus very crowded.

Good hiking

Beautiful hike & great views! Agree with other posts, not well marked & bring hiking sticks. Also keep an eye out for rattlers...especially in the evening.

fun and challenging ascent. gets really hot with minimal shade so pack plenty of water

Beautiful view! Love the challenge of this hike.

So a buddy and I did this hike on 8/6/18. Not a good idea. Do not do this hike in the summer. Wait until it cools off. There is very little shade to stop in. And please for the love of all that is holy, bring more than 3L of water. You will run out. You will be miserable. The hike itself is intense. A lot of big hills, the top has a 360 degree view of nothing but mountains. The last few hundred feet are tough. Small trail through big rocks.

Great trail! Take plenty of water !! Beautiful scenery.
Mosquito repellent is a must !
10$ fee to park

14 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.

This trail was awesome!! Nice view almost all around, no shade however is worthy

18 days ago

A nice workout. It could get very hot by 12noon. Start early. Nice views at the top!!!

A challenging and rewarding trail.

21 days ago

It took me 4.5 hours to make it to the top of Mt. Baldy and 3.5 to make it back down to the Visitor Center (where I parked). I left my car around 5 am. Don't forget your Adventure Pass. Finding the trailhead in the dark was difficult. My all trails app wasn't working without signal for some reason. I thought I'm supposed to be able to view the map without service? Anyway, I followed Bear Canyon Rd. (paved) up past all of the homes and finally found the trailhead. Just FYI, it's about half a mile up the road. Starting out, the weather was very pleasant. I didn't have to worry about the heat on the way up. The views are magnificent, especially while the moon is still out and the sun is just starting to rise. The weather at the top was very comfortable. I didn't have to whip out a long sleeve or my hat and gloves. I used this hike to train for Mt. Whitney. If Mt Whitney is similar to this hike, I'm in good shape! I thought it was tough but not so much that I ever questioned my abilities or even desire to hike it in the first place. At times, I was hiking on the balls of my feet, so it's pretty steep in sections. I definitely recommend hiking poles for the way down.

This is a challenging hike with quite a few steep inclines.

One of my favorites! If you go right after the last snowfall you manage to see two seasons. Beautiful!

Extremely fun! Great flat piece for photos

Coming down is harder than getting to the top. Recommend completing north, saddle and south in one shot.

You hike up Cowls Mountains and off to the side at the top you proceed to Pyles. Take plenty of water. Get there early because parking can be limited and turn wheels to curb. It took 2 hours and 23 minutes to do both hikes.

This hike is legit and very steep and tiring. Bring tons of water and be prepared for uphill both ways. We did it on 7/21/18 and one of our good Freinds had a heat stroke and was life flighted out. Be prepared.

trail running
24 days ago

This is my favorite way to access the Cowles summit. Not nearly so busy as the main route up, and easy access from my neighborhood. It’s a nice run and a good workout.

off road driving
26 days ago

Got my first 4x4 (2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee-High Altitude). While still getting familiar with off-roading my buddy and I followed each other (up then down) 7 miles each direction. Had a blast!! Great views and a nice upward windy trail to the top where you can have lunch overlooking the valleys. Some partial spots w/ jagged rocks but nothing any all-terrain tire can’t handle. Did it in 4WD high the whole way, but the majority could be done in 2WD in a truck or SUV with good clearance. Unfortunately I still had the stock (non all-terrain) tires on that day (July 2018) , the jagged rocks took a few half-inch chunks out of my stock tires (265/50/20) so I upgraded them last week to the Nitto Terra Grappler G2’s (same size) and wow...what a difference! Went back on the same trail w/ my wife last week and had the confidence to tackle it with ease. She wasn’t as enthusiastic about the windy and bumpy trail as my friend and I were (ha!), but kudos to her for being a trooper. Fun trail, will do it again in the near future.

short, steep, and sweet view at the top. Not many people either. Tranquillity.

26 days ago

absolutely beautiful to hike for sunrise. no shade so earlier morning hikes are best in warm months. and youll beat the giant crowds.

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