Pyles Peak Trail

MODERATE 319 reviews

Pyles Peak Trail is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near San Diego, California that features beautiful wild flowers 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
5.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1778 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

over grown

2 days ago

Very busy and a lot of rock hopping

hiking
15 days ago

Amazing trail! Once you get passed the overcrowded cowels mountain trail, you pretty much have the whole trail to yourself. I barely ran into 4 people all together. Great inclines and declines. The last .25 mile to the peak is a nice challenge for any hiker. Absolutely loved this trail- definitely coming back!

15 days ago

5 Peak challenge completed

19 days ago

finished 5 peak challenge with this peak. to me it was the most diffucult

hiking
23 days ago

Disappointed at first because it was a Tuesday and surprisingly busy. The moment I hit the pyles peak trail I crossed paths with one person and had the rest to myself!!! I found my zen and was ready to head back. My Apple Watch gave me 6.15 miles

hiking
27 days ago

I got to Pyles Peak by taking a trail leading to Cowles. If it wasn't for the 5 peak challenge, I would have avoided Cowles all together because it is so crowded, even at 630am. Pyles Peak trail is so quiet and beautiful! The last stretch is a nice climb but well worth the view!! We ended up having the summit to ourselves and only passed a hand full of people along the trail. I plan on coming back but taking the backside trail that avoids Cowles. Not a ton of shade so arrive early.

1 month ago

Great Trail! Almost no people.

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike and away from the crowds at Cowles. Moderate hike and highly recommend. Just over 2 hours from start to finish.

trail running
1 month ago

Went on to Pyles Peak from Cowles and loved this section so much! I heard my first rattlesnakes!! It took me a second for it to sink in what I was hearing. Never saw them thank goodness they were off in the brush. Beautiful views and not many people along the trail. Easy to navigate.

1 month ago

Great hike to Pyles Peak even if it rains on you.

1 month ago

You have to go up
Cowles to make it to Pyles!!! 5hrs Hike

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great hike and nice way to add some more distance / challenge to Cowells Mountain. The Hardest part for me was the climb back to Cowells Mountain from Pyles Peak, it was right when my legs started to get really tired! Make sure to plan accordingly on a hot day this hike would be brutal. Well worth the views.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, not to busy. Enjoyed it.

hiking
2 months ago

Great view. Nice extra after finishing cowels

hiking
2 months ago

Once you pass the traffic jam on Cowles Mountain, the trails is nice and peaceful. Great view from the peak.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! It only gets better after the first peak because not nearly as many people continue on past that.

hiking
2 months ago

Really great hike. A lot of shade when you go early. Some areas provide cool shades. Awesome view on top.

hiking
2 months ago

Gives a decent view of the city and not too bad if you are in shape. Good workout
30 mins up 30 mins down

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent trail! I hiked up Cowles Mountain and continued onto Pyles Peak just beyond the vista point. The summit was 1,379 ft. I continued north towards the community on Mission Gorge Road attempting the 5-Peak Shuttle, but fell short at the third peak, Kwaay Paay Summit--1,194 ft. I had begun at noon and the brush was very bad on the north side descending down to Mission Gorge Road causing me to run out of daylight after 5 1/2 hours. I hiked to Kwaay Paay Summit in the dark before heading out. I completed the hike to Pyles Peak summit in 2 1/2 hours.

hiking
4 months ago

It was a good trail

hiking
5 months ago

Kids, strollers, dogs, trail DJs, crowds. You basically hike up Cowles then continue to Pyles. It's mostly downhill after the Cowles summit and much quieter. The Pyles view point looks northeast, while the better scenery is southwest toward downtown. Keep on going to Pyles Peak, a little uphill from the view point. Sunset and a panoramic view from TJ to San Diego's beaches on a clear day

hiking
6 months ago

We went to cowles mountain and say the Pyle peak trail. went to the summit and back down to the start of cowles. almost 6 miles. good little burner for those that want extra

hiking
6 months ago

Went the long way, from Big Rock Park on the Santee side. This route brings you up the back side of the mountain, about 8 miles in total out-and-back. Definitely the way to go if you're looking for a challenge. I never much liked going up Cowles on the obvious south approach because of the pedestrian atmosphere and not challenging enough, but this route is a whole different experience. It's definitely the road less traveled, and it's enjoyably savage. After reaching Pyles summit, you head back up to Cowles summit on your way back, where you'll log in another decent bout of elevation gain. A good training exercise to prepare you for the up-down-up-down brutality of nearby El Cajon Mountain. About 3.5 hours in total, and I'd recommend 2 liters of water on a 75F degree day.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy trail to the summit until the last .25 mile. Went on a Thursday afternoon and only crossed paths with 5 other hikers. Watch for snakes.

8 months ago

My favorite trail in the area. Great views and a good workout.

8 months ago

I like doing Pyles when I don't have time to drive further away from the city and I still want to get in a hike with decent distance and elevation gain. Traffic drops off considerably after you leave the summit of Cowles and if you hike it from Barker Way you can avoid the crowds all together. I've found you can have the summit of Pyles all to yourself even on a weekend morning, which is hard to beat given that you're still within city limits.

9 months ago

Agree with other poster, it's a nice hike in the beginning but gets harder as you go. Suggest if you are going to do Pyles to start early to miss the heat and crowds on Cowels. We started at 6am and think it was perfect.

hiking
9 months ago

You'll have to go through Cowles to get to Pyles Peak but it seemed easy at first but it got a little harder. Less crowded. View wasn't as nice as Cowles but good hike overall.

walking
9 months ago

Went to Pyles Peak from Cowles Mountain. It was only a good hike because Cowles Mountain is a disaster for a whole variety of reasons. From Cowles to Pyles are very few people and up and down the whole way. The views just aren't that great on either peak. If you want a real hike, and not an urban stroll up a dirt hill go to Elfin Forest, Potato Chip Rock, or Iron Mountain. Neither this or Cowles are really hikes. They are places for college kids to go to show how well the breast augmentation worked out or the steroids are hitting their peak. Mostly rude people that are more concerned with not getting their stretch pants dirty then getting a workout. I would avoid this and Cowles at all costs, not really hikes.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail. Much less busy once you pass Cowle's Mountain summit.

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