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
14 hours ago

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.

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!

Great hike, great view, but heavily trafficked.

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

5 days ago

It's got your ups, your downs, your turn arounds. Nice easy short walk in the woods. Bluff over lake is great.

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.

6 days ago

Great easy trail. The path is easily identifiable with clear directional markers.

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.

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

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

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!

Difficult as one part is very steep

Wear hiking boots

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

trail running
11 days ago

Went on to Pyles Peak from Cowles and loved this section so much! I heard my first rattlesnakes!! It took me a second for it to sink in what I was hearing. Never saw them thank goodness they were off in the brush. Beautiful views and not many people along the trail. Easy to navigate.

Excellent hike!!

Great hike to Pyles Peak even if it rains on you.

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!

trail running
13 days ago

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

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.

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

trail running
15 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 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.

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.

My personal favorite of the mission trails for hiking.

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

You have to go up
Cowles to make it to Pyles!!! 5hrs Hike

Great and challenging hike, especially going up the stairs towards the end. Make sure to pay attention to the signs or you might just miss the peak. So many different routes to take to get you to the top!

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