trail running


nature trips



dogs on leash

wild flowers


mountain biking

kid friendly



Mission Trails is an open space preserve located a short 8 miles outside of downtown San Diego. The park is the one of largest urban parks in the United States with over 7,000 acres of open space. With its 60+ miles of hiking trails and mountain bike trails, rock climbing opportunities, camping areas such as Kumeyaay Lake Campground, and Lake Murray for boating, this park truly has something for everyone. The park can be accessed from Father Junipero Serra Trail off of Mission Gorge Road. Visitors should be sure to check out the state-of-the-art visitor and interpretive center prior to heading into the park. The park has trails for every level of ability whether you are walking, running, hiking, or mountain biking. The visitor center loop trail is a great option for families. For more experienced hikers looking for a challenging adventure, sign up for the 5 peak challenge, which climbs all 5 peaks in the park, Cowles Mountain (the highest point in San Diego), Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay Peak, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna. Make sure to take a selfie at each of the 5 peaks and once you are done and then to submit your challenge so it can be reviewed by a park ranger. Once approved, you can stop by the visitor center to pick up your official certificate! The park is home to plenty of wildlife - excellent for birdwatchers. This is a great place to escape from the urban life into nature without having to drive very far.

1 day ago

Good hike and away from the crowds at Cowles. Moderate hike and highly recommend. Just over 2 hours from start to finish.

Great workout hike - Easy to find trailhead - trail in good condition even after rain - started right before sunrise and rock ridge trail was empty .... at least going up

2 days ago

Great trail that you can take to the top of Cowles - not as crowded as the main way up. Steep incline!

Solid hike - great incline and switchbacks. But SUPER trafficked and populated. It’s hard to break through the crowd.

Okay hike and, yes, heavily trafficked.
Lots of the terrain was burnt from the fire, so longs of darkened soil and lifeless plants, a bit sad.

nice hike a lot to see. not mush shade. pack list should have at least 3L of water. have fun pack out what you pack in. animals welcome watch out for snakes

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

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.

Great hike today in the mist and we saw half a dozen people in 2 hours, it was awesome. I would say a moderate hike with hiking boots. Please make sure you have hiking shoes and plenty of water. Park at the old mission dam and you can knock this out in 2 hours. Get a map or follow the signs so you don’t get lost. Best of luck!

Wide open spaces. This is a very leisurely walk.

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.

11 days ago

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!

This trail has some good climbs for training and a great view from the top. definitely less traveled than Cowles mountain

Cannot beat the view

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

Good nature walk

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
14 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.

From out of town and so glad I picked this! Ran all the trails up there but this was my favorite segment - not as heavily trafficked as the others were to get to the peak. Spectacular views all the way up and back. The trail is well marked and easy to navigate and the single track segments were just hard enough to keep it interesting. Had a great time!

Excellent hike!!

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

16 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!

This was a great trip! Although I hike often, this one kicked my butt! There is lots of incline hiking as well as stair-like supports. Definitely felt the burn in my legs and got my heart racing! P.s. once you're on Pyles Peak Trail after walking through the Cowles Mt Peak, keep a look out for a fork in the trail. We kept on the main trail but it took us too far to the left and we missed the peak. Just keep your eyes open for a right fork.

trail running
16 days ago

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

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