Big Rock Trail

MODERATE 160 reviews

Big Rock Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Santee, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.8 miles
1,236 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running






2 months ago

a great way to go to the top of Cowles Mountain without all the traffic. A good workout fairly steep in places lots of stairs to climb. Go early it gets hot! the only reason not five stars is because it's pretty dusty in the summer months.

5 months ago

I frequent this trail often. So much cleaner and quieter than the front side of the mountain. And TONS of parking. The trail is well maintained and marked well. A nice hike when you don't have time to go far from home. This time of year it is very green and lots of flowers in bloom. Unfortunately there was a fire there recently and we lost a big chunk of the vegetation. So please be respectful and stay out of this area while the plants are regenerating.

6 months ago

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

mountain biking
6 months ago

Difficult. Have your cardio together before embarking.

8 months ago

Good trail, not too crowded, worth doing at least once!

8 months ago

Great hike, way less crowded than Cowles Mountain but still maintains all the views and scenery! Pretty steep on the way down, so be careful.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This is my favorite hike to do in the east county.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The back side of Cowles - MUCH less crowded. That last mile on the service road is intense and STEEP. I'd rate parts of this hike as difficult. Gorgeous hike though!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Love hiking the back side of this mountain. Not very crowded! Some of the trail is washed out though.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

It is a very beginner trail

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nice moderate hike that eventually connects with the Cowels summit trail. Very sparsely populated along the trail unlike the Cowel's side that is always packed. Some steep inclines and overall a good hike.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This was my first hike with my dog and it's great for beginners that are in ok shape. I started at the trail head by Big Rock Park and the incline wasn't too bad. The trail gets steeper towards the end of the trail. There are no shade areas and is light to moderate trafficked. The bonus was the dog bowls about the 3/4 mark with water for dogs. It seems to be a take some/ leave some watering hole. Overall nice hike with ok views that is an alternate lead in to Cowles Mt.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Not bad. Trail well marked. Takes you to the top of Cowles, but there are side trails too. People bring extra water and leave it for the dogs. There are even dog bowls. One at the half point and the other at the top. Love a dog community. Super hot trail. My dog went through 6 bottles. 1 1/2 was poured on him. Not that many people until you get to the top since the other side is Cowles mountain people. I would rather go this longer route then fight my way through the crowd from the Golfcrest entry of Cowles. Just a mile .2 longer. Not a beginner hike especially in the heat. Definitely high moderate. It's steep towards the top. I'm an avid hiker and I was breathing hard the entire time.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Challenging and fun ... And hot

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

great hike, check your shoes tread before going down the fire road

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Enjoyed this just over 4 mile up and back. Didn't realize until the top that this is the back way up to Coweles' Mountain

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Like others have said, this is a steep hike! I hiked with my dog, a huge furry beast. Only reason we hiked this one today bc it was quite cool. I would NOT hike thus with a dog when it is a hot day: way too strenuous for a dog on a hot San Diego day. Beautiful hike...enjoy the views :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Great hike, last 3/4 mile up to peak very steep and a bit slippery on way down but the view from the peak is to die for.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A great hike! Just finished up about a half hour ago, it's a lot less crowded than going up the face of cowles mountain.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nice workouthike. Scenery is not spectacular but the view on top is beautiful. The trail can be slippery.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good, quick hike. Made it to the top in 35 min moving fast with no stops.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Just finished this backside approach to Cowles Mountain with my hardcore badass girlfriend last weekend in the late afternoon. Ran into a Red Diamond Rattlesnake on the way back down. Exciting, a bit steeper approach than traditional Cowles Mtn. Trail. Use hikers with good tread to avoid slipping on downhill return in the top mile of Mesa Trail. Take care to not miss Big Rock trail cutoff on return as well.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Good hike.. Hard the first time but gets easier every time you do it, not to imply that it's easy.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Awesome alternative and more challenging route to Cowle's Mountain!

9 days ago

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