Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

Cowles is a convenient, quick hike that unfortunately is a victim of its popularity. The trail itself is great, maintained well with challenging sections and plenty of areas to catch your breath. But Cowles can be extremely busy, and SO MANY hiking it have zero trail manners, which is a huge bummer. Parking can also be a chore if you arrive during busy times.

BUT, the views are great once you get to the top. Full view of every bit of San Diego and beyond. Definitely worth it.

Great for almost everyone (except if you have bad knees...)

Great view!

can't beat the view!!!

This was super fun to do for a hike after work! It was pretty steep with stairs and such but the view was pretty nice!

hiking
11 days ago

Basically a climb up to a lookout and back down. There was one spot where you have a nice look into the gorge, but other than that this is not spectacular.

Great up hill hike... amazing views

Easy and short trail with nice views at the top.

hiking
23 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.

great for beginners.

Quite a bit more difficult than Cowles mountain, just because it’s a steep incline the entire way. Yes it may be shorter but doesn’t feel like it haha. Still enjoyed our hike and our dog cane with us and did well.

Crowded but enjoyed it

Great trail for beginners or someone looking for a quick escape. Easy trail to merge with surrounding trails and add a challenge.

on Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

hiking
25 days ago

For a person that doesn't hike that often, this was a bit of a challenge. The first part of the trail was decent but as you go farther it gets steeper. It took me about 2.5 hrs to complete up and down, which I was not expecting. So I ran out of sunlight and fell on the way down. Be careful especially if you are hiking in the evening/night. The sunset from the top was very beautiful though.

on Cowles Mountain Trail

hiking
25 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.

hiking
29 days ago

Great hike in the rain! The majority is all incline but the view at the top is worth it. Hiking sticks recommended for this trail.

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.

decent trail, well kept

Good trail, went up without climbing shoes and that was my mistake. It says highly elevated at the end, which is true but basically the entire trail is uphill. Definitely not a beginners trail if you are just trying to get it done. Rocks here can be hard to get a grip with your shoes.

People keep saying it's a quick hike, but it didn't feel like that to me lol maybe because it's all a crazy incline. But an amazing hike- challenging, beautiful and a great hike with your pet dog. The last 0.8 of the hike is a really good challenge hiking up to the peak. If you take the east trail it's A LOT easier!

Quick hike with amazing view at the peak. Be sure to check out the dam after, its beautiful. Last bit of the hike is the toughest.

Quick but steep trail with amazing views at the peak. Worth the climb!

It's a great hike with amazing views.

This is a short, fun but rocky trail.... I will return after a good rain so I can see the water flowing!

Great short walking

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

Don’t overlook the easy trails if it is beautiful scenery that you seek! I got some really dope pics here. This trail was peaceful on a weekday morning and I found the solitude that I was craving.

Extremely crowded trail but I still agree that it's a nice hike. Not a good one with the dog if you have a nervous dog like mine.

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

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