Explore the most popular forest trails near San Diego with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

It's beautiful

It was way more interesting than I expected. Definitely go to the waterfall. In general it’s very flat, but the trees are very beautiful.

$3 cash to park.

great experience in wonderful views

great trail. go early to miss the heat. it is usually 10-15 degrees warmer than downtown. bring extra water.

trail running
24 days ago

Great trail for walking and trail run. Several trails to choose from. Small ponds and waterfall along the way. Came across several people on trail and mountain bikers. Share the path. Signs throughout path. Great workout. Will do again. Recommend if your looking to walk (not hike) and trail run.

More of a walk than a hike, but suited our needs perfectly. Quite a few other hikers and bikers but a nice wide trail and really lovely waterfall/pools at the end of the trail and some pretty bridges crossing the stream along the way. Brought the dogs on leashes and they loved it. Did see a pretty big snake slither across the path so was glad we kept the dogs on leashes at all times.

Great hike! Very easy if you walk! Lots of different routes to go which is nice for seeing different things. But I did have to PAY THREE DOLLARS IN CASH

hiking
27 days ago

Eh. I chose this trail because I wanted something easy for a first time hike with my 8 yr old. It's pretty flat and wide. The photos show areas in mission trails that are not on this particular loop trail. The Grasslands Loop trail is completely open, no shade available, and all dry. There's a pretty lake area that can be seen from this loop, but cannot be accessed unless you take a different trail. There was no respite from the sun whatsoever. It was a good place for a starter hike but we won't be doing the Grasslands Loop again.

hiking
29 days ago

Simple, easy to follow trail with great views at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing view! A little crowded and dog owners need to do a better job of cleaning up after their pets!!

Nice long but easy hike. Pretty views of the river along the way. Unfortunately it's tick haven right now. Also there was quite a bit of evidence of snakes on the trail. Be extra cautious with dogs and horses!

Good trail to walk. “Waterfall” wasn’t much. But overall it was nice.

hiking
1 month ago

I have an 8 year old daughter who had never been hiking before. She pushed through it and was so proud of herself at the top. I think it’s the perfect challenge for kiddos around that age. Adult beginners too! The views at the top are incredible.

Obviously a staple in the San Diego area. This trail is easily travelled by even children around 8 to 10. You'll probably have more trouble with crowds than the trail itself. Go as early as possible to avoid congestion. Plus, early morning views from the crest are amazing.

Great hike, rocky, have gone with my friends, my hubby & kids (7, 11, 15) and also my mom in her 60s, go early 7 or 8, nice views, bring water and snack, can get crowded later in day. Breakfast or brunch at Trails Eatery after. Enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, nice hike moderately traveled. Amazing view once you get to the top! Only 4 stars because not many posted signs and there are no bathrooms and based on the number of rattle snakes I saw, you will not want to venture into the brush to go.

its, nice place

Done it many times, very nice spot; that whole Regional Park system as well!

Great Trail for beginners!!

Personal favorite when I visit home. Bring water as always

trail running
1 month ago

You must run this trail early in the morning. By mid to late morning, it’s extremely busy. Not too hard of a hike and the view at the top is gorgeous!

My girlfriend and I loved this hike!!! So beautiful and peaceful.. 8 Miles!!

Good hike, very steep.

Cowles is a convenient, quick hike that unfortunately is a victim of its popularity. The trail itself is great, maintained well with challenging sections and plenty of areas to catch your breath. But Cowles can be extremely busy, and SO MANY hiking it have zero trail manners, which is a huge bummer. Parking can also be a chore if you arrive during busy times.

BUT, the views are great once you get to the top. Full view of every bit of San Diego and beyond. Definitely worth it.

Great for almost everyone (except if you have bad knees...)

Great view!

can't beat the view!!!

Beautiful hike! Good elevation and lovely views. We were hiking, but saw a mountain biker, a trail runner and a dog walker on our trip. Went with our 3 kids, ages 10, 8 and 3 - it was challenging enough to be fun, but doable enough that no one was whining.

Great up hill hike... amazing views

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