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

hiking
11 days ago

Great short hike.Strenuous effort to give you a workout. Short enough to do anytime.

hiking
20 days ago

great for an after work hike. takes us about an hour to get up and down. dont underestimate it though. the last part is pretty steep and will give you a workout. watch out for rattlers.

Challenging steep hike. One of 5 of the 5 peak challenge. Not a whole lot of view but great leg without.

This was much more challenging than Cowles Mountain but beautiful none-the-less! It was steep with some loose footing areas. Also not as good of a view as Cowles but to have the challenge is part of the fun!

once again alltrails has a trail mislabeled. the trailhead sign lists this as difficult, not moderate. this is pretty much all uphill and probably should be classified as hard based on the park’s signage.

overall a nice hike tho, pretty views.

Well, not much to say. If you’ve already done 4 of the 5 peaks of Mission Trails, might as well walk up there and scratch it off the list. It’s delightfully steep in spots. Unremarkable summit, not much to write home about. If you’re looking for a real challenge though, try the bouldering/scrambling route from the top of the Climber’s Loop up to Kwayy Paay Peak. Great training for some of those cross country summit hikes out in the desert. Just be super careful if you go up that way!

on Big Rock Trail

hiking
25 days ago

a great way to go to the top of Cowles Mountain without all the traffic. A good workout fairly steep in places lots of stairs to climb. Go early it gets hot! the only reason not five stars is because it's pretty dusty in the summer months.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Nice bike ride next to the water that leads you under a bridge while riding fast (pretty cool).

We timed it so we'd be descending back down Cowles at sunset. It's too hot otherwise. Fun hike! Beautiful little micro climates along the trail.

why is this trail moderate i’ll never understand

hiking
1 month ago

This place is a hidden gem! I happened to find it because my dog’s groomer lives nearby and I saw the signs. My friend and I went on a 7.9 mile hike. We took Martha’s Grove Trail to Ridge Trail and then went to a trail on the left that went straight uphill (veering away from the military base) to the Hwy 67 Ranger Station and then down Cardiac Hill back to the Goodan Ranch starting point. The hike along the hilltop was awesome. We climbed over 120 flights on this hike so it’s a great workout. The scenery is constantly changing and we saw tons of wildlife. We saw mostly rabbits and large hares (with the biggest ears I had ever seen). We also saw a coyote. There was hardly anyone on the trail which was awesome because you really felt like you were getting away.

1 month ago

one of my favorite hikes in San Diego County. So nice to be hiking for four and a half to 5 miles and find a beautiful Visitor Center with information about local species and nature and a ranger there to chat with.

This was a beautiful walk around a set of 7 lakes. Note you cannot walk around lake 1 though. Be prepared to pay $3-$6 for entrance via car. We did see a gate that leads out to the neighborhood, so you could park for free on the street and walk in. Lots of picnic areas. General store and food stand with hot dogs and burgers. Paddle boats and bike surreys for rent.

This was super fun to do for a hike after work! It was pretty steep with stairs and such but the view was pretty nice!

hiking
2 months ago

Basically a climb up to a lookout and back down. There was one spot where you have a nice look into the gorge, but other than that this is not spectacular.

Great hike but very hot at 9am. Felt sorry for the kids and dogs. Great workout!

Quite a bit more difficult than Cowles mountain, just because it’s a steep incline the entire way. Yes it may be shorter but doesn’t feel like it haha. Still enjoyed our hike and our dog cane with us and did well.

on Kwaay Paay Peak Trail

hiking
2 months ago

For a person that doesn't hike that often, this was a bit of a challenge. The first part of the trail was decent but as you go farther it gets steeper. It took me about 2.5 hrs to complete up and down, which I was not expecting. So I ran out of sunlight and fell on the way down. Be careful especially if you are hiking in the evening/night. The sunset from the top was very beautiful though.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike in the rain! The majority is all incline but the view at the top is worth it. Hiking sticks recommended for this trail.

decent trail, well kept

Very treacherous and rocky. Cowels wasn’t to bad but we wanted to complete the 5 Peak Challenge so we hit Pyles Peak next. Round trip when done 9.3 miles, 89 floors and 26,000+ steps. My hardest hike by far.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! Gate opens at 8am. The trail paths are wide making it easy to hike with a large group. The trail loops and towards the end of the hike, it is all incline so be prepared. Also, there is hardly any shade so wear a hat and use lots of sunscreen.

Good trail, went up without climbing shoes and that was my mistake. It says highly elevated at the end, which is true but basically the entire trail is uphill. Definitely not a beginners trail if you are just trying to get it done. Rocks here can be hard to get a grip with your shoes.

People keep saying it's a quick hike, but it didn't feel like that to me lol maybe because it's all a crazy incline. But an amazing hike- challenging, beautiful and a great hike with your pet dog. The last 0.8 of the hike is a really good challenge hiking up to the peak. If you take the east trail it's A LOT easier!

Quick hike with amazing view at the peak. Be sure to check out the dam after, its beautiful. Last bit of the hike is the toughest.

Quick but steep trail with amazing views at the peak. Worth the climb!

It's a great hike with amazing views.

hiking
3 months ago

I frequent this trail often. So much cleaner and quieter than the front side of the mountain. And TONS of parking. The trail is well maintained and marked well. A nice hike when you don't have time to go far from home. This time of year it is very green and lots of flowers in bloom. Unfortunately there was a fire there recently and we lost a big chunk of the vegetation. So please be respectful and stay out of this area while the plants are regenerating.

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