Mount Gower Open Space Preserve Trail

HARD 93 reviews

Mount Gower Open Space Preserve Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ramona, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until May. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,178 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

Mt Gower Open Space is great for hiking and normally takes a half day. The trail starts off pretty flat, and after the first mile or so there is a steep incline up to a rolling ridge-line before you continue up to the main peak. The preserve offers great views as far as the coast on clear days. Steep grades in places and no shade throughout the hike. Lots of chaparral and shrubs. Trail is well maintained and easy to follow.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely not a summer afternoon hike. VERY hot with very little shade. I took 4L and it was barely enough. Great hike otherwise. The best part was the rock formations towards the end, so push through to the peak and you’ll be rewarded.

hiking
3 months ago

A great hike but definitely on the harder side of things. Make sure you bring plenty of water as there is very little shade. Lots of wild flowers in May. The trail takes you to Little Gower and not the actual peak. We tried to get to the actual peak and couldn’t find a viable trail.

3 months ago

an excellent hike, very strenuous, huge elevation gain, be prepared for an uphill climb! bring lots of water. view from the top is incredible one of the best 360 views I've seen in San Diego. go early in the morning so it's not hot on the way back.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful trail to do on a semi cloudy day, the last 100 yards require minimal bouldering. The rocks on the summit are big enough to lay down and enjoy the breeze with your shoes off. Recommend poles for the descent.

hiking
4 months ago

Enjoyed this more than I expected to. Good solid 8 miles on my gps. Very similar to the style of El Cajon Mountain, but shorter. Many ups and downs. Not a straight ascent, then descent. Not much shade, but nice scenery. The last 200 yards is not for everyone. Scrambling on hands and feet. Pretty steep.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. It is a challenge. No walk in the park. Well maintained. Limited shade so, do this hike early in the morning. It gets hot quickly. Save the water for the return because you will need it. Stay on the left most of the time. There is a market with a hiker sign on the right, don’t take it. This is probably at the 1.5 mile mark. Beautiful view from the top. You have to scramble to get to the top. Very cool and intense. You can spend a good time checking out the rocks and view up there. Few people in trail. 8 miles for me.

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely a challenging hike with the elevation gain. It was very quiet and peaceful at the granite near the summit.

hiking
7 months ago

This hike is not moderate, it isn't even hard, it's BRUTAL.

I am in shape and this hike kicked my butt! It is about 4 and 1/2 miles to the top, at a steady, steep incline 95% of the time in total sun. Once you finally get to the top, if you can make it that far, the trail disappears. I started down what I thought was a trail to do down another way, but wasn't sure and didn't want to go miles out of my way and half to climb that again. All Trails says it is a loop, but there are no markers up there so I just turned around and came back the way I went up. Dogs are allowed, on a leash of course. However, if you or your dog are not healthy and in shape, you will never to able to make it. Lots of water, a hat and sunscreen are essential. Like I said, this hike is extremely difficult and very annoying. There is nothing of interest to look at along the nine miles you will be huffing and puffing. No trees, shade, water, or animals, unless you count crows circling around in the sky.

Good luck!

hiking
8 months ago

Well worth any pain you might incur

hiking
8 months ago

This was a good winter hike. Here it is mid-December and it hit 82 deg today. If I did it again I would park before the road turns to gravel and skip the upper part of the loop— the hike is not very interesting in the beginning. The best part comes at the end with the rock formations near the peak and the awesome view. Enjoy!

hiking
9 months ago

This trail only goes to False Gower which is a better view and a much more pleasant hike than going to the actual peak. (Getting to the real peak is difficult because it's really overgrown and there isn't a trail over to it.)

10 months ago

The first 3.5 miles are pretty straightforward. steep spots up that drop down. the trail is well maintained.

when you get to the open granite area, LOOK AT THE GROUND FOR THE WHITE SPRAY PAINTED SPOTS. follow the junction to the LEFT where the white spots start and that will be the direction to take to scramble up to the summit. We totally missed those and started to go up the summit a different way. The trail itself just ends at the granite slabs so look at the ground very carefully before you get to the slabs of granite.

beautiful views up there. follow the white spray painted markings to get down.

took us less than 4 hours even though we made a 20 minute mistake to get up the summit. take tons of water and use gloves if you don't like touching rocks/trail during the scrambling part. start super early as it warms up fairly quickly out there.

hiking
11 months ago

I love this trail. It's the right level of difficulty and length for me. Awesome views. Only drawback imo is it takes me 45 minutes to get here. At the time of writing this there were small piles of rocks to help mark the final leg of the hike to the very top.

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Definitely off the beaten path. We only saw one other group of hikers out here during our 5 hours on the trail. Leave early because this trail is a butt kicker. Up and down and up and down... and up again! Great workout but on our way back, it was getting too hot to be out hiking. Bring plenty of water. To make it to the peak you'll have to basically climb the side of the mountain to make it to the top. Do it. Totally worth it for the views and sense of accomplishment once you're up there.

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It was a good hike finished in just over 3 hours. Not as much traffic as other local spots. We parked before the gate and took the cutoff at the trail head to save a little time. Trail can be a little hard to follow at the beginning and end. Lots of growth from winter rains. Recommend starting r early to beat the afternoon heat.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Great work out.

backpacking
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Put 70 lbs on my back, did it in about 4 hours up and down. If you're in good shape, very fun and rewarding hike. If you're not in shape, the up and down will make your legs burn but it's doable. Great view and not too crowded. Way better than stupid iron or potato which are crawling with annoying loud littering people. Def recommend this one. My puppy handled the scramble to the summit fine.

I'm not sure why this is rated moderate, I mean it is moderate, but compared to other all trails ratings it seems like it should be ranked hard. It's steep at the end.

hiking
Sunday, April 30, 2017

I have been looking at Mt Gower from my backyard for almost 25 years - and I finally hiked to the top! I would classify it as "hard" since I had to scramble up rocks to get to the peak. The views are incredible - and I am so grateful that I did not see any rattlesnakes on the way up or down!

hiking
Friday, April 21, 2017

Good hike, not much shade. I'm not a big fan of hikes where you go up, go down, go up, go down, etc. I like the steady climb to the top but this hike is up and down. The last 1/2 miles is interesting. Just some big old rocks and a scramble to the top. Kind of cool though. You can take some non-descript trails or just scale the rocks. View from top are awesome. There was one other person at the trailhead and I here there's never many people even though the lot is big. There are restrooms at the trailhead and trash cans. It got pretty hot coming back and I did see a big rattlesnake. It's body was crossing the trail, couldn't see it's head but it did rattle a little. It was at the water/creek crossing where the trees are. It was a great workout, not crowded, unlike a lot of hikes and good views. I would at least doing it and judging for yourself.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Awesome hike ... one of the better views I've seen in San Diego. Sure helps when all the landscape is green

Monday, February 27, 2017

one of my favorites! not alot of people go here so anytime of week or day is great. there are no bathrooms, trashcan or water along the way so be prepared. I hike alot and this one is a great workout for me! lots of cool Rick formations along the way. Lots of snakes so pay attention.

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Awesome awesome hike beautiful scenery with really cool rock formations. Bring lots of water and be prepared for a long challenging hike!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I feel like this should be rated hard. At least the trail goes up and down so you can recover after some climbs. Loved the scenery close to the top, with some running water after the rains.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Great... know this mountain like the back of my hand !

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I would actually rate this hike as hard. It's pretty challenging as there are ups and downs both ways. I enjoyed the rock formations on this hike.

trail running
Friday, September 16, 2016

love this place!! 3 hikes to do. from the main staging area facing sign hike to left is just under 5 miles and hike/running takes about 1 hour. Hike to the right and up right again at boulders is under 3 and hike/running is about 40 minutes. Hike to the top is under 8 and takes about 3.5 hrs hike/running. Must bring lots of water to top when hot!! Beautiful!!! love it. If you love getting out away from everyone then try this place.

hiking
Monday, June 20, 2016

Did this hike during a heatwave. I think it was 80 degrees by 730 a.m. Definitely get out early for this one if you are going for the Gower summit. There is very little shade. Water...whole lot of water. Poles are good. This hike is tough.

hiking
Monday, May 09, 2016

Beautiful hike but I would rate it as challenging/difficult. To get to the top there isn't a super clear trail, we just followed a wash that may have been there due to all the rain we've been getting. I consider myself a novice hiker in good hiking shape, but it is possible to get lost so keep track of your surroundings! Overall a great day hike :)

hiking
Sunday, April 17, 2016

Really fun but no rivers or streams. Lots of rocks and uphill climbing

hiking
Thursday, April 07, 2016

We cut a little off the trail at the beginning by going over the hill and joining the trail at tee-pee rock after that we stay on the trail to the top. The view at the top was spectacular, you get a 360 of the whole valley. Take plenty of water and a trail snack to get your energy back. Very tired on last hill coming out. Total for doing it this way was just over 7 miles and about 4 hours.

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