Explore the most popular forest trails in Mission Trails Regional Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great up hill hike... amazing views

Easy and short trail with nice views at the top.

Great hike but very hot at 9am. Felt sorry for the kids and dogs. Great workout!

hiking
20 days ago

My first West Coast hike and I enjoyed it. The day was of course hot and dry which is much different than what I'm used to in the Northeast but with enough water certainly enjoyable. The view was fantastic all the way up. Wasn't too busy late morning on a weekday. Path is dusty and firm packed but no real traction issues. Just over an hour up and back. A good way to start my vacation.

Crowded but enjoyed it

on Cowles Mountain Trail

hiking
22 days ago

I have completed Cowles Mountain a couples time and, for a person that doesn't hike, it is a moderate hike. I don't mind the crowds that much. It is a very fun hike that usually takes me about 2 hours up and down.

Great hike, good amount of switchbacks but plenty of level ground to catch your breath. Would definitely rate this hike more on the easier side. Really enjoy the view once you get to the top! Would have given it 5 stars but the trail is very busy at all times of the day and the people on the trail tend to keep to themselves without a smile or "hello". We can't control the popularity of the trail, but a little smile or "hello" goes a long way to making a trail more enjoyable.

Very treacherous and rocky. Cowels wasn’t to bad but we wanted to complete the 5 Peak Challenge so we hit Pyles Peak next. Round trip when done 9.3 miles, 89 floors and 26,000+ steps. My hardest hike by far.

This was my first "hike" in San Diego. Nice incline. Fairly congested up and down. Great views throughout.

Beautiful scenery and trail is very clear - most climbing up steps though and is very crowded

hiking
1 month ago

great for Sunrise!!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved hiking along the water rocks. Hiked it with the kids and they loved it!

This trail is probably the most popular and busiest trails in San Diego. It's an easy and quick hike. It's definitely more fun when you run all the way down, but this can add some pressure on your knees and ankles so be extremely careful. It provides a great workout and there's ample space at the top to stop for a drink or a quick snack just to enjoy the scenery. You will find yourself having to go around or letting people pass, making it less enjoyable.

Crowded, but good workout

hiking
2 months ago

Not very fun when it's busy. Too many bros with music. Nice views, but it's almost better on a full moon, hardly need flashlight then.

Good trail, but the pathway is not so clear all the way!

Great hike, brought our dog and I know he had a great time. A bit too busy for my taste but great to see more people going out to hike. Pretty steep incline, bring plenty of water!!

hiking
2 months ago

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.

Great hike, great view, but heavily trafficked.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months 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!

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!

Excellent hike!!

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.

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