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San Diego Hiking Trails

Cowles Mountain
Trail Distance: 4.7 Miles,
Best Times to Hike:: Early Morning, Late Afternoon,
How to get there: Corner of Cowles Mountain Blvd and Boulder Lake Rd
DIFFICULTY:6
SCENERY:7
MAP INFO:8
This heart pumping 3 mile vertical climb to the highest point within the city of San Diego. At 1,592 feet, the view from the top of Cowles Mountain makes the climb all the more worth it. I went out there on a Saturday day morning, we must have run into 20 other hikers on the way up. The short distance of the hike mislead me to beleive this one was going to be easy. I was wrong.



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Photo of Cowles Mountain
Cowle's Mtn. to Pyle's Peak
5
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2012-05-08 13:46:55
Cowles itself is an amateur hike with very few steep inclines but has always been a S.D. favorite due to the fact that it is the highest peak in the county. If you find yourself going up Cowles 2 or three times in order for a better workout, try hiking to Pyle's Peak instead. Once you find yourself atop Cowles, head towards the radio tower and you should immediately see a sign for Pyle's Peak. It adds about another 4 miles round trip to your hike and offers much steeper inclines than Cowles. And at the peak I find it to be an even better view than atop Cowles. I go to Cowles Mtn. often, and I hike Pyle's Peak every time. I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of it! Go check it out!!!
Social Running for Warriors!
0
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2012-04-28 13:05:29
Cowles Mountain is a Member Favorite! We run the Trails, Beaches, and Parks of San Diego every weekend, Look us up!
www.ZTActive.com
Facebook.com/ZTActive
StairMaster
7
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2011-02-08 19:31:40
The trail is extremely rocky, but at least it's not boring! I would have to say that a majority of the time hiking up there, I was literally climbing up the whole way! It was definitely like an interval session on the StairMaster, no joke. But, it's a very quick trail. Took us about 40 minutes to get up there and about 20 to get back down, although we did take a lot of shortcuts on the way back down. It's a fun, quick and challenging hike!
Great for Regular Exercise
4
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2011-01-12 20:58:08
I try to do Cowles 3 times a week. I generally do it at around 5:30 in the morning so there's not a lot of people on the trail at that time, only the regulars. It usually takes me 50-55 minutes round trip. It's a great hike to do as part of an exercise routine. A nice addition is to add Pyles peak to your hike. If you do that during spring after a lot of rain, the variety of flowers is amazing.
...DO IT AT LEAST 1 TIME...
5
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2010-09-15 20:25:46
I run regularly so I thought this would be pretty simple to jog up. I had to stop and walk 3 times for a short distance. This can challenge any runner especially as you increase intensity. If you walk then this trail shouldn't present any problems. I considered bringing the kids in a double stroller but it wouldn't be worth the hassle. Too steep towards the peak.

The view was great. It's a nice escape considering one is so close to the city.

The trail is wide and clear so no need to fear snakes and such. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I ran into several other people. One helicopter scouted the area overhead and one utility vehicle drove down from the peak. (Public trail, no need to worry about getting stranded)

Bring water (I only drank a small bottle even in the sun) and use a restroom prior to starting.
perfect working person hike
6
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2010-07-08 01:57:00
I go to school full time and work full time... which leaves little other time,

BUT Cowles is close, short, and sweet. Oh course you are going to meet alot of other people (from that buddist who trecks every morning to the old friends out for a good chat and sweat).

What makes it so great is that you see other people- don't go here looking for isolation. I've been at sunrise- and still there were others who beat me there. It is that great.

I love being at the top, seeing all of San Diego, and feeling like that is the only time I'm a part of our crazy world.
Short and Sweet
6
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2009-10-05 01:16:55
I used the entrance at Golf Crest and Navajo and it is 1.5 miles up. I have done it a few times now and it is always fun. You will see many people on this trail during the weekends. For an extra burn, run up it. It's enjoyable to walk up and jog down for a bit of extra excitement. It can get pretty warm, but never too hot to handle.

Scenery is the same as most mountains in San Diego, so I gave it a 4. Looking out over the city is nice, but similar to the rest.
cowles mountain
0
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2009-10-04 16:49:20
Hi! I have a question. We are visiting San Diego this week (10/6 thru 10/12). We would like to do this hike, but I need to know if the distance you posted - 4.7 miles is one-way or round-trip? If it's round-trip, that would be perfect; one-way would be a long day. Please let me know by Monday, 10/5/09 if possible.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate any help you can give us re: this.

Shari from IL
Great scenery, very short hike.
5
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2009-08-16 19:20:20
Compared to Mt. Woodson and Iron Mountain, Mt. Cowles is a very short hike. It does have a few steep parts, but if you have hiked the two mountains i mentioned above then Cowles should be a piece of cake.

I went on a Sunday afternoon and saw about 50+ fellow hikers, so it does get pretty crowded. I gave it 5 stars for difficulty because of its short length. It took only about 20 minutes to summit and about the same to hike down. If your looking for a quick sweat, Cowles is your mountain.
Cowles Mountain
7
Author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Date: 2009-05-26 17:48:43
I am in pretty good shape, but I haven't hiked a mountain in years. Cowles Mountain was basically my first. I rated it 7, not b/c I questioned whether I could make the top, but by the quality of workout it took.

Forget about the gym. No matter how long it takes, it's time better spent, physically and mentally. And if you can't make it, now you have a greater incentive to come back, instead of hoping to beat your elliptical time.

24 hours later, my quads are on fire, my abs are sore and my shoulders and arms are burning...all in a good way. I feel strong and accomplished.

It also seems that there are multiple paths to get to the top. I went from up Mesa Rd, so I look forward to going a different route, hence, the low map rating.

As you approach the peak, you realize that the last bit is the toughest and most vertical, as well as the most rewarding. Some shouldn't try it on their first time...you'll know it when you see it. Remember, the way down is tough too, despite the aid of gravity.

At the summit, there's plenty of spots to sit and have lunch with great views. If you're in shape, you'll enjoy the workout. If you're not fit, I would start with a smaller mountain or be content to not complete this one, if you can't make that last part. Don't be a victim of pride; there's no judges on the mountain.

Date added: 2008-11-17 00:00:48    Hits: 132962
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