Pyles Peak Trail

MODERATE 252 reviews

Pyles Peak Trail is a 6 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
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1663 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

over grown

hiking
1 day 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
1 month ago

It was a good trail

hiking
2 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
3 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
3 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
4 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.

5 months ago

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

5 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.

6 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
6 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
6 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

Really nice to leave the crowd behind at the top of Cowles Mtn and continue over to Pyles Peak. In spring, lots of blooms, a bit greener than Cowles trail. Dog friendly:)

7 months ago

It's DIFFICULT not moderate.
But was worth it.

7 months ago

Once you reach the top of Cowels Mt., just continue on to the next peak. Far less people on this trail which was very nice. No shade. Bring water.

You have to climb Cowles Mountain first which is plagued with visitors. But once you pass the summit and continue on the Pyles Peak Trail, there is significantly less people and is much nicer. The trail is very rocky so make sure you are wearing comfortable and sturdy shoes.

8 months ago

a real workout!

hiking
8 months ago

I climbed the mountain this past weekend! However, I didn't realize it was connect to another mountain range. My joy came when I noticed how it was just a few people I passed on this trail. My goal is to climb as many fun loving mountains as I can until...mane ole I'm enjoying myself!

8 months ago

Good trail, but watch out for snakes! It was a great but or respite from the over crowded Cowles mtn. Finished the5 peak challenge here, fun accomplishment!!!

hiking
9 months ago

Great workout! We took the barker trailhead.

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