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.

1 day ago

Gorgeous after a light rain that made the steeper slopes less slippery.

Short hike, not much elevation gain. Making it a good start for people who are well out of shape. Also just a nice stroll through some nature. Probably go back for some trail running

Solid hike - great incline and switchbacks. But SUPER trafficked and populated. It’s hard to break through the crowd.

Okay hike and, yes, heavily trafficked.
Lots of the terrain was burnt from the fire, so longs of darkened soil and lifeless plants, a bit sad.

3 days ago

Southern access to Van Dam Peak from Sabre Spring Park and Savannah Terrace. Trail head is a little obscured due to exposed dirt slope however becomes clear once you get past the concrete irrigation berm. Trail is dirt with a few steep rocky slopes. Rated as moderate because they were only a couple and relatively short. Panoramic views from peak. Old fire watch tower slab remains.

Great hike, great view, but heavily trafficked.

Wide open spaces. This is a very leisurely walk.

Great hike! Just heavily trafficked. Only reason this trail gets a 4 Star. Hiking isn’t as adventurous when you have to wait at the switchbacks to let traffic pass through.

As many others said in the previous reviews a lot of people don’t know how to stay in their lane whether it’s going uphill or downhill. Definitely a steep trail but overall doable with a good amount of water and snacks.

11 days ago

Great short hike for family/kids. Did this hike a few weeks ago with a friend trying to get some sunset photos from the summit. Took us roughly 30 mins to summit. Usually very crowded and a lot of amplified music. From the summit you get a great cityscape of San Diego and the ocean along with views of mountains on the opposite side.

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Cannot beat the view

It's been several years since I visited this trail and now I remember why. The trail was full of runners and packs of cyclists so most of our morning was spent trying to get out of their way as they came passed. We started before 8:00am and there were already a lot of people on the trail. If you are looking for peace and quiet, I do not recommend this hike.

When I was younger it was better. Way too many people now and amplified music is annoying

Great hike for beginners-moderate hikers. It’s the highest peak in San Diego and has a astonishing view of the whole county. The only con is that it’s so popular that there is a high amount of traffic during the day. 1 of the 5 peak challenge!

Excellent hike!!

This hike was awesome. The 360 ° panoramic view at the top is the best.

It was a long walk with an 11 and 5 y/o but they did It!
We went on a Sunday and it was busy.
The falls were pretty and we enjoyed some of the small off trails by the creek.

A nice trek indeed. You are surrounded by nature's beauty throughout the different stages of the trail. The only thing to watch out for are the horse/dog droppings. Will definitely be back to this trail again.

Cowles Mountain is a great hike. It is short and sweet, with easy access to the mountain and bathrooms at the bottom.

Parking isn't bad although you can expect you will be parking in the residential area and walk to the bottom of the mountain / staging area. This is most likely gonna be an extra 1/4 mile.

The hike is over all is a bunch of switchbacks to the top with a well marked and maintained trail. Once you get to the top the views are amazing!

Trail etiquette is very important since this is a very high volume of hikers. Great hike to gauge you condition and if you are able to do some larger, less traveled hikes.

We went with two 7yrs old kids on a breezy bright San Diego morning. I was skeptical at first. Thinking the kids was going to whine and not make it to the goal.

We all had fun. Really enjoyed the scenery and the walk was easy for everyone.

Go to hike in San Diego. 45 mins up, 30 mins down. Watch for slippery rocks.

The place of after-lunch-walk for QComm employees.

on Cowles Mountain Trail

28 days ago

Nice hike. Recommend including Pyles Peak when you go.

AMPLIFIED MUSIC IS NOT ALLOWED. Please respect your fellow hikers. This is not your personal gym. Nobody wants to hear your music. Just use headphones and we’ll all get along great :)

It was a short inclining trek to the top. Heavily populated with hikers, dogs, and trail runners of all experience. Despite getting there around 8am on a weekday, the trail was still quite crowded. Terrain was sandy, rocky, with lots of loose gravel. View was nice.

Nice, quick hike!

Great workout and great views!

Mostly flat or you can choose hills that loop back to main trail.

A good more like a walk in the park hike. Some bike traffic but overall very quiet send peaceful. A few folks at the water fall.

It is true what other reviews have stated about this hike. You get the perfect combination of beautiful scenery, not too technical paths, and incline grades that are gradual and very bearable.

The only real negatives are the hard to find parking and some dog poop scattrered through out the trail (a knock on some of the dog owners). Despite this though I will be a regular here moving forward.

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