Explore the most popular views 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.

Awesome trail!

Good workout, lots of up and down. We went counterclockwise and hit the stairs going up. The trails are marked with changing names. Hard to get lost, but easy to make a wrong turn. Great view from both peaks.

We wanted to get out of downtown to get a short hike and Cowles Mountain did fit the bill. This trail is less than 1/2 hour away from downtown in the approximately 7,000-acre Mission Trails Regional Park. This is an easy to moderate trail and family friendly. The trail is very open with no cloud cover and is pretty dusty. It is also quit busy. As the park is in the rural San Diego area you never quite feel that you are in the wild. Great 360 views from the top. Add a couple of side hikes to increase the miles and visit the very nice visitor center in the park. If we had more time, we would have driven further out of town to experience the SoCal back country, but is was good for what it is billed. A couple of good park rules that I appreciated. No external music is allowed and no radio controlled devices. This means that someone is not allowed to pull out their drone at the top. This seems to be a very annoying trend even on back country hikes.

Great hike!!

The visitor loop is a great short little 1+ mile trail run. Gorgeous views and perfect weather!

trail running
6 days ago

Good mid range trail, but for a beginner trail runner, like myself, it is a doozy, especially for first 2+ miles. Be ready for a workout. My only gripe is the trail is poorly marked later in the loop as there are many junctions and I spent a lot of time guessing wrong. I would go to my AllTrail app but it was having it's issues (or at least my GPS was.)

beautiful and clean trail

Great work out. Watch out for some areas of lose gravel. So many trails out here I love it.

I will forever have a special place in my heart for this mountain. In April of 2018 I started my new journey to lose weight. I am so proud to say by July 2018 I had lost 40lbs. I hiked and still hike Cowles 2-3 time a week and that was it. This hike is great for beginners and experienced hikers. Don’t give up in the hard areas you can do it! The view is worth it. I like to cut from the front trail to the back trail at the top for a nice steep incline at the top. Have fun!

Go early before the crowds

Very pretty and very easy. Perfect for kids.

nature trips
8 days ago

Great place to find some little gems such as the tree with the insanely big roots! Recommend sneakers for the actual hiking trails.

hiking
8 days ago

I have hike this trail many times it’s always a pleasure. Very peaceful and every so often you’ll see some wildlife. Mission Trails Park is beautiful.

it was awesome

9 days ago

I have hiked this trail a few times. It is so close to where many of us live and very accessible.

I have done all the mission trails. Ok for an afternoon or morning walk

Ok for a walk

The big rock trail does not exist or connect can’t make the loop

It’s out and back at the moment. The dam is closed for repairs until October 11th 2018. Great place though!

walking
13 days ago

Easy walk and nice views at sunset. Lots of bathrooms too and free parking.

Great hike with a BEATIFUL view. I started from Hilltop Park and it took me about an hour and a half from start to finish. I lucked out and made the trip on a pretty overcast day, absolutely loved it.

Great trail for any age group and fur babies. I'm def not in shape and was fine. Rocky ground so my hiking boots helped immensely! Hiked Saturday around 530 pm and headed down as the sun was setting, perfect weather and time. Less ppl then the last time I went on a Sunday.

Good trail run for being in the city.

hiking
15 days ago

Uneventful and busy. If you are new to hiking its good though.

hiking
16 days ago

Directions send you to the plaza but put in Sabre Springs Park. You can park there and then walk around the back side near the dugout mounds to the end. The trail is right before the gate to the park on your left. It's barely a trail but it's there and steep! Very steep the whole way. Kicked our butts but the top was worth it although it was misty. We got lost on the way back though so keep looking at the map to keep you on track!

I’m giving this a 5 because I thought it was really well marked, maintained, and quiet on a Friday morning. I took some of the side trails to keep my and my little one in the shade and keep him entertained with the water flow. This is the perfect little escape in San Diego when Julian, Romona, etc. are too far for a hike.

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