Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

MODERATE 652 reviews

Kwaay Paay Peak Trail is a 2.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Santee, California that features beautiful wild flowers 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
875 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

rocky

7 days ago

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
10 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.

23 days ago

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.

hiking
24 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.

hiking
28 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.

1 month ago

decent trail, well kept

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

It's a great hike with amazing views.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Fun trail..... a little short but wicked steep at the top!

1 month ago

Short hike but a really good climb! This was a really fun hike!

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike with my mom who hasn't hiked in a while. I've been hiking small feats here and there and wanted to try another trail in San Diego. We loved how it wasn't crowded and that it provided a nice scenery and vegetation for such a short hike. I would rank this easy rather than moderate.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is short but challenging!! It is an incline pretty much all the way up! I was there by 630am and there were already people on the trail. It is very rewarding once you reach the top. I ended up jogging back down and made the entire trip in 45 minutes. I parked in the parking lot near the campground entrance and walked 2 minutes to get to the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s short and sweet. Definitely some quick verticals but basically walking up stairs. I’ve done it in tennis shoes on a rainy day and never had issues. Even saw a girl in sandals carrying a school bag. Hardly any crowds too. Nice quick hike

hiking
2 months ago

Nice short hike with a steep grade finish, including stairs. Great view of Santee at daybreak. Not terribly challenging, although the footing can become loose in some sections.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is the perfect quick hike. It is nice to get away from the crowds at Cowles. From the start, go left for an easier start. It is no where near as steep as going straight up the front.

hiking
2 months ago

Short hike. Not as bad as some of the comments. There were small children climbing the trail just fine. If you are not in the best of shape it is a good workout. You can make it a loop and come down a long side the condos

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Some steep areas provide an extra challenge, but it’s pretty moderate terrain. Hardly saw anyone else on it which was nice.

2 months ago

Difficult as one part is very steep

Wear hiking boots

Keep your dog on a leash don’t be that guy-

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! I would say moderate and less crowded than the other 4 peaks.I see a few people complaining about rocks on the trail. Guess what it’s a mountain and that’s what hiking boots are for. If you take this from the visitors center it’s about 5.5 miles and if you start from the bottom it’s just over 2 miles. Have fun!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a short but steep hike. I recommend to have some hiking shoes as it will make this hike much safer. There is a lot of loose rock and on the hill which makes it easy to slip on the way up and down. One you get to the top, on a clear day you can see all of San Diego!

hiking
3 months ago

Imo, toughest of the challenge. I would rate it difficult.

3 months ago

Love this hike, never crowded, and although it's short it's pretty steep in a couple spots making it a challenge if you run it.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a nice hike. It ended up being harder than I expected due to the steep incline that does not let up. Great views and not to busy.

hiking
3 months ago

Definitely the worst hike of the 5 peak challenge. Kwaay Paay is deceptively short, making you think it's going to just be a quick jaunt. Once you get into the thick of it, however, you realize you are in a straight uphill battle. The path is very steep with a load of loose rocks that threaten to send you careering back to the bottom. You spend most of the time staring at the ground instead of at the stellar views around you.
It's not a terrible hike, it just needs to get rid of those rocks.

hiking
3 months ago

Ok trail

3 months ago

This trail is not a moderate hike! It may be short (1.08 miles) but it is very narrow and steep. That is why the sign at the trailhead ranks it difficult. Not only is it very steep but also rocky and slippery, making it extremely dangerous. The trail is in very poor condition and in need of repair. The view at the top is spectacular as promised, the only redeeming value of this hike.

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