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We did an 6am morning hike and it was perfect not too many people going up or coming down.

Fairly doable trail. 2.2 mi to the overlook, then downhill all the way back.

hiking
1 day ago

I love this trail!! A friend and I came to this trail looking for the secret cave (we didn’t find it) but were pleasantly surprised with the hike anyway! We did lose the trail on our way up towards the Rocky Peak Trail split, so using the map on here really helped us get back on track. On our way down, it was much easier to follow the purple arrows. when you reach Rocky Peak Trail, if you turn left you’ll loop back to where you parked off of Kuenher Dr. if you go right, you’ll continue on a much longer hike but we hear the views on Rocky Peak Trail are beautiful. We brought our dog but there isn’t really any shade at all, so bring lots of water and wear sunscreen and hats. Great views the whole way up...it gets pretty steep at times. We will definitely be coming back to check out more of Rocky Peak too!

Cool short hike. The only problem is since it’s so short, it’s very popular so you can’t really hike your speed because of the crowd.

Fairly doable trail. 2.2 mi to the overlook, then downhill all the way back.

Fairly doable trail. 2.2 mi to the overlook, then downhill all the way back.

Fairly doable trail. 2.2 mi to the overlook, then downhill all the way back.

backpacking
2 days ago

Four of us did this as a backpacking overnight this weekend, and for 3 of us it was our first time backpacking. We made it to the 2nd lake in 4 1/2 hours with packs and lots of breaks (we are in average shape.. only some of us hike regularly).
This trail was challenging and rewarding for a first time hiking with 20+ lb bags (we only hiked to the 2nd lake to camp and explored a few more lakes the next day). The trail is a very steady incline with some big stone steps here and there, but with trekking poles it was doable, even at altitude (I would describe it as "challenging" but far from "brutal"). What was somewhat brutal was camping in below 15 degrees ( my thermometer read closer to 10 than 15 at one point in the evening). Sleeping in the cold was not fun, but the sun really warmed us up in the morning.
On Saturday morning there was smoke from a forest fire which made the visibility poor, which was a bit discouraging, but we decided to go for it anyway. To the guy who said to us "Have fun breathing in smoke all night"... just so you know the wind came through and blew out all of the smoke that afternoon. We had perfectly clear weather that night and the next day.

backpacking
2 days ago

Packed in to camp between the Lower and Upper Canyon Creek Lakes. There are a number of camping spots near both lakes, ample water throughout the hike. Camped mid-October, perhaps 10-12 other people spread between both lakes. Will definitely be back next year! Beautiful views.

Was a good hike, surprised how fast it went at a waking pace.

hiking
2 days ago

Nice trail with a gradual climb for about the first half of the hike up then switch backs finish to the peak give a paced workout to the summit. Well groomed trail and fantastic panoramic views at the top with picnic tables and perch points let you celebrate the trek up Iron Mountain. I didn’t bring or need walking sticks as the trail rocks are easily maneuvered.

I hiked this trail on a Sunday. The parking lot at the trail head was full. The only downside about this trail is that almost everybody starts and finishes at the main entrance and there is one path shared for hiking up and down so the traffic got pretty heavy at times and we were paced by the number of people (and their dogs). I like when there is some dispersion of hikers and trail options that let me hike at my own pace. I love people and I love dogs, I’m not complaining about that, I’m just pointing out that there was traffic on the trail. Maybe a weekday hike would be a quicker pace for this trail. 4 stars, I will hike this trail again!

hiking
3 days ago

Trail is EXTREMELY crowded on the weekend (even at 7 AM).
Overlooks urban sprawl.
Peak is dominated by an ugly transmission tower.
I think one star is generous.

Beautiful hike. Difficult but worth it! Start early park closes gates strictly 5pm

hiking
4 days ago

Warning: if you’re out of shape. Beginner hiker. Please be prepared. Allow yourself and your group plenty of time to reach the lakes before it starts getting dark. This trail is hard for beginners like myself. I started off the trail at 630am. It took my group almost 5 and a half hours to get to the first lake. The second lake is just a short distance away. Maybe 10-15mins after the first lake. The views are amazing! Well worth the pain coming up and going down. It took 3 and a half hours to get back to the parking lot from the second lake.

Perfect to test our skills

Not too challenging! Beautiful views!

Trail closed due to fires right now

I am a recreational day hiker and this is one of the prettiest hikes I have ever been on. The views going up the last mile are just outstanding.

Been hiking Cowles since 1986

Creds- Have AllTrails Pro. 8 Nov 2018, 11.2 mi hike, 2,464’ el gain- followed AllTrails exactly.

Designated parking at Trailhead. Arrived 9:am Thursday morning no parking issues.

Started counter clockwise - recommend going clockwise. Why? Last mile shoe skiid down- no way runnable. Also no view. Go clockwise for great views and run ability. Loop at the half way point in good condition.

Liked the hike since lots of great views, trails in good condition, benches for lunch breaks, and easy parking.

Short Steep Hike - lots of fun, but bring 30-40% more water than you think you need (We did this in November when it was 80 and still ran out of water on way back). I wouldn't recommend doing this in the summer unless you start before sunrise.

Follow the markings once the trail becomes less clear, they are painted on the rocks. The general path stays low near gully, on the left side. If you are FAR left on that hill, you are off the path. Have fun and take pictures!

5 star hike, perfect hike to go with your family or amateurs hikers. Nice views at the end of the trail.

Go left for the best challenge!!!

Incredible hike and views!! Highly recommend. Be sure to take note of your turns and trailheads, as there are a lot of offshoot trails and it could be easy to take the wrong path on the way back!

hiking
10 days ago

If you are not physically active you may find this hike a bit challenging just because it’s very steep. You will be okay with some in between breaks, it’s totally worth it. View is great!

hiking
10 days ago

Hike took 4 hours with a half hour stop at the summit. Beautiful views of canyon and strip. We went on a Sunday without much foot traffic once you past the first mile bring plenty of water and a snack

Went at night, the hike had awesome views of San Diego, including downtown. The trail was wide, in most parts with lots of switchbacks and fun, rocky terrain. Great hike overall!

hiking
11 days ago

It was 45 F when we started this hike at 0830 on 10/4/18. It had poured rain the previous day and ice warnings were in the forecast which I think scared everyone away. We saw no one on the way up and only a handful of people on the way back. The temperature never got warm enough to where the bugs were a problem even though we were prepared with head nets and bug spray. The first part of the hike was through the valley with gorgeous views on either side. After the junction to the Bubb's creek trail the trail begins a gradual ascent up to the falls. There is a section where you come out of the trees and you have unimpeded views of the canyon that are pretty spectacular. If you're a photographer, a wide angle lens is a must (or take multiple photos and stitch them together in post, or just take a panorama w/ your camera phone). Right before we got to the falls ran into a cinnamon colored black bear and her cub. That was a treat. The falls themselves are not spectacular as far as falls go, but it's a convenient turn around point. On the return we followed the Bubbs Creek trail across the river then took the spur back to the trailhead. Not as scenic as the trail coming out, but it was flat and easy. A pretty easy hike with a high ROE (return on effort).

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