Cowles Mountain from Barker Way

MODERATE 404 reviews

Cowles Mountain from Barker Way is a 2.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near San Diego, California that offers scenic views 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.

Distance: 2.3 miles Elevation Gain: 826 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

walking

bird watching

running

views

rocky

no shade

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

A great alternative to hiking the Golfcrest starting point to cowles mountain summit. This is the service road hike. It isn’t super rocky like the “front side” of cowles. However, the incline seems more steep to me. Also, it seems to have less hikers than the front side of cowles. Overall good hike if you’re looking to intensify the climb up to cowles mountain summit.

hiking
2 months ago

I actually found a loop map for this trail and did it clockwise. Up the face and descended on the service road in the back. It loops back to the same trail head. This was a fun hike and I completed it in an hour and 10 minutes with a short break at the top. I look forward to hiking more trails to this same summit.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Started at barker way and then went past cowled summit to Pyles Peak Viewpoint. Would’ve gone farther if I had started earlier. Started at 9am and it got hit quick. Legs definitely felt the workout after though! Great early morning hike in the summer.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Went in the morning and it was not busy at all. Saw enough people that I didn’t feel creeped out about hiking alone, but no so many that it felt “crowded.” It was hottt, and the final push up was brutal, but worth it at the top that I felt I got a great workout. Was up and down in about 1:10-1:15 and even stopped to take a few photos. I mistakenly climbed the opposite side a couple days later trying to hit Pyle’s Peak, and it was super crowded. So if you want to avoid the fray, stick to this path. The service road/entrance to the trail head is down the street to the right when you park (look for the gate on the left). Have fun!

Cowles is a San Diego staple, but I love coming from this way. It’s usually much less crowded, and it gets shade so it’s perfect for afternoon hikes.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Had to do this recording twice cause I forgot half way up so waited till my descent. First off- way more than I bargained for. Half way through I thought it was finishing..nope lol It was a steady ascend up the first half then is mostly uphill for the rest which makes for a brutal finish, but it was very satisfying. VERY rocky and steep so make sure you’ve got good shoes and a lot of water especially for hot conditions - I’m coming earlier next time. VERY great workout and amazing view at the top.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

Bring lots of water and remember sunscreen (unlike me). Nice hike away fr the crowds.

hiking
5 months ago

Very gradual Ascent as usual. Came down in the dark, 830-915pm. if going at night, suggest doing it with a second person. visibility is not good even with flashlights. heard coyotes close by, soft bats on the ground of the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike at night.

Busy day on cowles today.

hiking
7 months ago

Took this trail in the middle of the day and surprisingly not a single soul was on it until the summit climb. Fairly easy route but not much for shade if the day is hot. There was a swarm of bees just off trail. By the late afternoon on the way down lots of people were headed up.

Definitely better than the main route but some loose gravel that can make it difficult.

hiking
8 months ago

Took me roughly an hour to get up, stopping a few times to get pictures and admire the views. About 45 to get down. Fairly easy hike, well maintained trail, not a lot of people until I got closer to the top where it merges with the main trail.

Ran down 22min

hiking
8 months ago

Better way to get up Cowles!

hiking
8 months ago

Nice way to Cowles. Less trafficked than other routes.

9 months ago

went to both Cowles and Pyles Peak, great hiking. it's worthy long hiking. love it.

I enjoyed this much more than the main trail. It was less crowded and you felt more removed from everything. Trail was well maintained and connects you to the main close to the top.

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