Cowles Mountain Trail is a 3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near La Mesa, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length3.0 miElevation gain908 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingMountain bikingrunningViewsWildflowersBugsOver grownRockyNo shade
Description
Waypoints (1)

The scenic pathway up Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular trails in San Diego County. The trailhead starts in the San Carlos neighborhood on the corner of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road and summits the highest point in the City of San Diego. Visitors will enjoy great views during the entire ascent but the summit offers 360 degree panoramic views of downtown San Diego, Mexico, North County and Orange County on a clear day.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (4,661)
Photos (1,737)
Recordings (4,920)
Completed (11,298)
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Randy Tigner
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Hiking

No falls, mid Merrill’s, new batteries in lamp.

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Ed Barber
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Noro Diaz
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Hiking
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Biutifullalelei LM
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Hiking
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Lyric bogard
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Hiking
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Biutifullalelei LM
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Christopher Mulkey
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Hiking
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Julianna Martinez
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Hiking

Well maintained, moderate trail. Much better early in the year — went in summer one time and it was less enjoyable due to heat. No shade provided. Wear sturdy shoes — lots of loose rock. Beautiful views! Bathrooms provided at the start of the trail.

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Rochelle Turner
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HikingGreat!

Short and sweet .. bring water

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Art Morales
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Hiking

The trail was great as always but there were a ton of people at 7am on a Sunday. Recommend to do this during the week. It was nice to see so many folks masks up

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DJANE Romo
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HikingGreat!

We got to the top right at sunset. 5 in all kids and adults. We couldn’t ask for better weather. It was a bit of a workout for my youngest (9years), but we got to the top for the beautiful view of Coronado Islands, Point Loma, etc! Reminder... take more water than you think you need, make sure your shoes aren’t to tight and if you plan on a sunset hike, take a good flashlight. Otherwise, enjoy!! There were more people than expected, but it wasn’t crowded.

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Shayla Washington
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Hiking

Intense incline the last mile but the view was breathtaking

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Gary Eisenbooth
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Ami Jester
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Hiking

This trail is crazy busy. Too crowded so it wasn’t very enjoyable.

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Magz Life
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린 다
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Hiking

Fawk this trail. Too many people. No hiking etiquette.

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Magz Life
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Lyric bogard
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Steve Aguilar
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Hiking

Overall, I really enjoyed this hike. It is pretty steep going up, but it’s definitely worth it. I went at 7am on a Saturday morning and had to park about a 5 minute walk away, so it was pretty busy. On the way up, I noticed that 90% of people were wearing masks, but on the way down, it was much busier and I’d say only about 50% (if that) were wearing masks. I would recommend this hike, but definitely not on weekends.

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Fernando Alvarez
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Lyric bogard
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Jenny Bendelstein
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble
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Sarah Hikes a Lot
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HikingRocky

Cowles is the perfect hike for San Diegans! Do you want to get out into nature to escape the littered streets of San Diego and onto the littered trails of the mountains? Do you want to be amongst other city dwellers who want to feel "outdoorsy?" Do you enjoy piles and piles of dog poop? How about stacking rocks so you feel more "at one" with nature? Would you like to take a stoic picture at the top for your Instagram followers to see how mysterious you are? Look no further than Cowles!!!!! Atop this lovely mountain you can be your best outdoors self and really connect to your soul! The loud music from others is just a happy bonus You'd never know you're not at Disneyland with all the waiting in the slow moving line up the switchbacks

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Demara Haile
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HikingGreat!

Nice trail not to many people. Hard Hike I would say especially going up very very steep! I would definitely say bring a lot of water view is amazing.

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Ashley Anderson
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Hiking

Short hike, uphill. I would say hard. Bring water!!

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Andrea Wittine
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Hiking

Crowded trail at 10 am on a Thursday but plenty of street parking. Pretty steep and rocky; great workout!

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Lyric bogard
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Leslie Wilson
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