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

Great hike. Hiked it this morning.

Great hike, great view, but heavily trafficked.

Wide path that does get traveled by people on foot, dirt bikes, jeeps and trucks. Easy to moderate. Noticeable trash dumpings and base. While it’s a fairly nice view of Hemet, Romolamd, Homeland and Diamond Valley Lake, all the new homes within view make this view a lackluster experience. Went on a weekday afternoon and I was the only person up there so there is some peacefulness on the hike. I live close so I will be returning. Great place to bring friends that are new to area. There are some private property signs but I live on the wild side and wasn’t doing anything illegal, well besides trespassing.

trail running
5 days ago

Keep in mind there are many different routes you can take to get to the vernal pool trail, but according to the map the most direct routes are the 2.4 mi out and back from the vernal pool trailhead from the parking lot on Via Volcano, or the 4.8 mi out and back using coyote to trans preserve from the hidden valley trailhead (I started here). The surrounding trails on the preserve allow for choosing longer/shorter routes depending on what you're in the mood for. This side of the preserve, dogs/bikes/horses are not allowed (however it was clear there were definitely many dogs brought on the trail before because unfortunately there was a lot of poo left behind). Also note day use fee. Trail was super muddy and a bit slippery in spots today due to rain this weekend. Loved the boardwalk at the verbal pools, although it was dry (despite rain). So many crickets today, made for great background noise for most of the hike! Maps/parking available at trail head, port a potty available at the visitors center.

Great hike! Just heavily trafficked. Only reason this trail gets a 4 Star. Hiking isn’t as adventurous when you have to wait at the switchbacks to let traffic pass through.

As many others said in the previous reviews a lot of people don’t know how to stay in their lane whether it’s going uphill or downhill. Definitely a steep trail but overall doable with a good amount of water and snacks.

Great short hike for family/kids. Did this hike a few weeks ago with a friend trying to get some sunset photos from the summit. Took us roughly 30 mins to summit. Usually very crowded and a lot of amplified music. From the summit you get a great cityscape of San Diego and the ocean along with views of mountains on the opposite side.

Check out and follow Instagram.com/gregszymbor for photos and other hikes!

Cannot beat the view

Easy hike to take the kids on. Great views of the Lake. As a mom, i definitely appreciated all of the porta-potties, and rest-stops that were set up. Plan on going again soon, and maybe going a little further.

When I was younger it was better. Way too many people now and amplified music is annoying

Great hike for beginners-moderate hikers. It’s the highest peak in San Diego and has a astonishing view of the whole county. The only con is that it’s so popular that there is a high amount of traffic during the day. 1 of the 5 peak challenge!

Excellent hike!!

12 days ago

Very nice trial, road getting there was a little scary but it was definitely worth it seeing the falls!

This hike was awesome. The 360 ° panoramic view at the top is the best.

love this place

I would rank this a lot higher but I ran into several “Private Property - No Trespassing” signs about a third of the way up. It’s my policy not to hike in posted no-go areas, so I turned around and went back down. I did walk the trails at the base of the mountain-to get in the mileage-but I was disappointed that I couldn’t hike to the top without ignoring the signs.

Cowles Mountain is a great hike. It is short and sweet, with easy access to the mountain and bathrooms at the bottom.

Parking isn't bad although you can expect you will be parking in the residential area and walk to the bottom of the mountain / staging area. This is most likely gonna be an extra 1/4 mile.

The hike is over all is a bunch of switchbacks to the top with a well marked and maintained trail. Once you get to the top the views are amazing!

Trail etiquette is very important since this is a very high volume of hikers. Great hike to gauge you condition and if you are able to do some larger, less traveled hikes.

Nice family easy hike, Great Lake view throughout the hike but be prepared to spend $9 for parking and $2 per person to hike here. Otherwise I would give it a 5 Star.


Great starter trail for those looking to start hiking or just to get out of the house. Very family friendly and a good place to take your dogs on a walk. A little over 5 miles which has awesome features including a river. If you’re bored at home I highly recommend this trail.

Go to hike in San Diego. 45 mins up, 30 mins down. Watch for slippery rocks.

on Ortega Falls

rock climbing
23 days ago

Great for rock climbing.

Very pretty and relaxing trail. The views are lovely and there are many places along the river to both explore and kick back a little. We spotted some poison oak on the riverbanks, but it's easily avoidable if you keep an eye out.

This trail has some real beautiful views. There is a couple of parts that were rocky or felt like we were walking on a ledge but it’s so fun especially if you have kids. People go horseback riding here so it’s nice to see that.

If you’re looking for a good hike to see water in So Cal this is the one for you.

Easy trail with a small section that is narrow with a drop off.

decent trail, easy walk to stream. this hike tends to be crowded around the stream with multiple routes to get there.

on Cowles Mountain Trail

26 days ago

Nice hike. Recommend including Pyles Peak when you go.

Desent flat hike, waterfall was more of a stream but good hike

good family hike

Great morning walk

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