Cowles Mountain from Big Rock Trail

MODERATE 310 reviews

Cowles Mountain from Big Rock Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Santee, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until June. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1204 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

walking

views

rocky

hiking
17 days ago

More enjoyable, more strenuous approach to Cowles than the "main way."

17 days ago

Heavy trafficked trail and dog friendly. First part of the trail goes behind home houses, then eventually merges to the main trail where you will see many other hikers. The hike up is a steady incline with a few steeper parts. once you get to the top, you get a panoramic view of San Diego. Be careful on the way down. If you are not wearing shoes with enough traction you may slip at some parts. Overall, it's a good hike to go with kids and dogs.

hiking
1 month ago

A favorite on Cowles Mtn. Great terrain and views

hiking
3 months ago

I've climbed Cowles twice, this time taking the less trafficked route, and I enjoyed it a lot more. It is very steep towards the summit and there is a lot of loose gravel. Make sure you wear HIKING shoes or boots. I made the mistake of wearing running shoes, and I slipped and fell and scraped my knee. Overall a nice hike, great for beginners like me.

3 months ago

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

trail running
3 months ago

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!

mountain biking
3 months ago

Ive hiked and biked this trail on a few occassìons. Experienced mtb only and you will need to walk some. Its a nice stroll up the mountain though and it is definitly prefered trail to the top of cowels for my taste.

4 months ago

Big rock trail is awesome! lots of greenery and really feels like you are in the thick of it. once you hit the fire road to Cowles it's definitely an uphill battle. loose gravel makes it intimidating for the descent but overall a good hike round trip. Plenty of street parking and in a safe neighborhood.

hiking
4 months ago

Good hike. Just a lot of lose gravel. So you have to be careful when going back down. Lots of traffic but fun. View is really nice once up there.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Did as a midmorning hike on a Friday. Trail was relatively crowed.

6 months ago

first time doing this hike! it was amazing started from big rock trail near the park down below. great nice hike loved it

7 months ago

Great workout

what a work out. so proud of Kacey and myself for getting this done.

Really liked this trail but my first hike in many years and a bit out of shape so it was difficult. working to get back into shape.

7 months ago

Totally different from the other side. Less hikers and a great incline

hiking
8 months ago

First time going up this way. Fewer hikers on this route.

hiking
9 months ago

Best trail up Cowles. Do it at least once.

hiking
9 months ago

Quite a nice route up Cowles with much less foot traffic. The service road is my next goal. Plan on going up with my bike theu that route

hiking
9 months ago

I love this trail and suited for my training! It isn't too rocky and crowded than the Cowles Mountain Trailhead. It is a longer route but it was worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Cowles is busy during the weekends, this back side is a lot better then continue on to Pyles Peak.

10 months ago

Good hike

11 months ago

this app says this trail is moderate.. bit the signs say difficult.. I'm leaning to the difficult side. It was hot because I started closer to 9 a.m. instead of 7 which was my goal... but.. considering the direct sun and really no shade.. especially as you get closer to the summit 7 is probably still too late for a July day.
All in all, I would do it again but earlier... much earlier or in the fall or winter.
But hey, got some good exercise.

11 months ago

The incline was killer! great workout for those who aren't avid hikers. The people were amazing and the views at sunset were fantastic. I will definitely do this hike again.

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

It was BEAUTIFUL! First hike since moving to Cali, also first one alone and the highest difficulty; I'm thoroughly impressed with the scenery.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

It was a good run hike for me I was pretty much alone on trail felt semi remote bushes very grown out will do again

hiking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Love it. I try to hike it sat and sun am's

hiking
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Overcrowded kind of like hiking in the mall but nicely maintained.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

love it

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

It was my first San Diego Hike. It was a good hike for a workout if you walk briskly. The terrain is not too difficult. There are spots of slippery gravel/rocks that you just need to take your time going down. Towards the top it got steep and felt like a great workout. Views were beautiful! I saw dogs, kids and teens doing the hike. We took almost two hours to complete. We had a bottle of water at the top and a bottle at the end.

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