Although, don’t let the thought of hiking the tallest mountain in the city intimidate you, because the mountain itself is … Membership; Admin; Contact; Facebook; Twitter; Amazon At 800 feet, Cowles Mountain won't attract many mountaineers, but it can attract crowds looking for a workout and a chance to get in touch with nature less than 10 miles from downtown. Cowles Mountain is a popular trail in San Diego's Mission Trails Regional Park that is the city's official high point. After exploring the summit, you can head back down the way you came, or as we chose, continue on to Pyle’s Peak (write-up coming next week! Time to complete: 1.5-2 hours. Time to complete: 25-45 minutes one way / 1 hour or more round trip. casually walking...it took under an hour to reach the top. The well marked and clear trail will wind back around Cowles Mountain to the Barker Way Trailhead, rejoining the service road 100 yards from the street where you parked. The smooth dirt quickly transitioned into rockier terrain. Many of these trails were created for and by mountain bikers but the park also attracts hikers, trail runners and dog walkers.The singletracks are amazing. A small wooden footbridge and some wooden steps aided the ascent. Be aware! The trail is considered moderate, although, the … Lake Murray lay to the southwest, with San Diego Bay beyond. I feel pretty safe in saying that Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park is the most well-known, and well-used hiking trail in San Diego County. 26 trails with 26 photos In fact, the trail was actually closed for a full two months in 2013 for restoration work. Turn right on Navajo Road and continue 2 miles to the Cowles Mountain Trailhead, located on the northeast corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive. Turn left at Boulder Lake Avenue. Located in Mission Trails Regional Park, this mountain is the tallest point in the City of San Diego. To the northwest were the remaining four peaks of Mission Trails: Pyle’s Peak, Kwaay Paay, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna. They wind through the woods seemingly never going in a straight line for more than a few … Cowles Mountain is probably the most popular hiking destination in San Diego, and of the several possible routes to the peak, the trail starting at Golfcrest and Navajo is by far the most heavily used (check out our write-ups of alternate starting points Big Rock Park and Barker Way).This is not the hike to do if you are looking for some … Cowles Park in East Grandy offers well over 15 miles of easy to difficult trails. The City of San Diego, along with Mission Trails staff and volunteers, do a tremendous job of maintaining the trail. The trail head is on the left. (If you get lost in a real sense, your sense of direction needs some work, as you are bounded by major roads, a major river, a huge powerline cut and plenty of marked trails.) Turn West onto Navajo Road. Drive 0.4 miles to Big Rock Park and park your car along the road near the Big Rock Trail Head.. … Despite the view at the top, Cowles Mountain Trail loses two stars for having inadequate parking, a never-ending stream of hikers, and for being a short and relatively uninteresting hike. The parking area will be almost immediately on your right. 16 reviews of Cowles Mountain via Barker Way "trying something new...went on a nice long walk up the mountain with my friend Cinna B. this was such a fun day! We were able to do this hike at an off-peak time (mid-day on a Friday) and found that while still crowded, it was actually pretty tolerable. At 1,592ft, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the city of San Diego. We headed left and soon came to the base of the final set of switchbacks. Brad Spiess, All Rights Reserved. googlemaps/cris hazzard Although the trail there and back is only three miles, the steep incline will make it feel almost double. Cowles Mountain and all connector trails to and from Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak are now open. Cowles Mountain is a popular dog friendly hike in San Diego. Getting There: From Mission Gorge Road on Santee’s west side, turn south on Mesa Road. Contacts. Cowles Mountain is a very popular hike in Southern California. The trail - with less than 10% of the use of the Cowles Mountain’s Golfcrest trail - starts on a gravel park service road off Barker Way. Being the most popular trail in the county means that the it suffers a significant amount of wear and tear. The hike to the summit of Cowles is possibly the most popular hiking route in all of San Diego County, which makes an early start a requirement for weekend outings. It provides a great workout and is a choice spot for watching sunrise, sunset, or enjoying a full moon. Even if you are in moderately decent shape, you should be able to do this hike. Helix in the foreground, and San Miguel Mountain. Cowles Mountain Trail Hike Retrospective. Getting There: For the East Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. Proceed 0.5 miles to Boulder Lake Ave., and make a left to reach Barker Way. In fact, this trail is so popular that Mission Trails Regional Park has created the 5-Peak Challenge to encourage hikers to explore other areas of the park in the hopes of alleviating some of the parking issues. Turn right onto Barker Way. ... Deigo at the top, and then turn around and bomb back down it, watching for hikers of course. Another popular stop is the Old Mission Dam , which was built to supply irrigation water to farm land that supplied food for the … Cowles Mountain is probably the most popular hiking destination in San Diego, and of the several possible routes to the peak, the trail starting at Golfcrest and Navajo is by far the most heavily used (check out our write-ups of alternate starting points Big Rock Park and Barker Way). Coweles Mountain Trail Guide via Big Rock Park If you’re ever done any type of hiking in San Diego County, you’ve undoubetedly heard of Cowles Mountain. Looking down the front side of Cowles Mountain, Printable Map:http://www.mtrp.org/trail_map/trail_map.asp, South Approach Distance:1.5 miles 1-way;  3 miles up/ back : Elevation Gain:950 feet: Time to complete: 25-45 minutes one way / 1 hour or more round trip, East Approach Distance: 1.5 miles 1-way;  3 miles up/ back: Elevation Gain: 1000 feet. Parking is limited at this location. Cowles Mtn RECOMMENDED ROUTE. Due east was Lyon’s Peak, Tecate Peak, Mt. As the trail turned left to skirt the subpeak, we paused for a moment to enjoy the view. This is a short out and back trail that features incredible views of the surrounding local San Diego mountains including Mount Woodson, Iron Mountain, Black Mountain, and the peaks in Cleveland National Forest.Cowles Mountain … At 1.3 miles we reached the summit marker. Hiking to the nearby Pyles Peak is far less popular, and… Turn right on Navajo Road and continue 2 miles to the Cowles Mountain Trailhead, located on the northeast corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive. The Cowles Mountain hike brings you to the highest point in San Diego at 1,593ft, with views from Mexico to Orange County. The crowds weren’t overwhelming, but there was a … Park close to the gated, unpaved service road heading up the east slope of Cowles Mountain. About 300 paces along the service road look on your left for the Barker Way/Cowles Mtn. Cowles Mountain is the tallest mountain in all of San Diego cities limits and it is also located within Mission Trails Regional Park. ), Directions: From Highway 125, take the Navajo Road exit. At 800 feet, Cowles Mountain won't attract many mountaineers, but it can attract crowds looking for a workout and a chance to get in touch with nature less than 10 miles from downtown. Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego but it is so for a reason. San Die…, CA. Elevation Gain: 1400 feet . Cowles Mountain is a favorite hike among the locals as it provides a variety of beautiful scenery that leads to an amazing payoff at the top. This is not the hike to do if you are looking for some quiet solitude to commune with nature, as you will be sharing the trail with dozens of other hikers and runners (many of whom choose to disregard the “no amplified music” rule and broadcast their tunes for everyone to hear). But despite the crowds, this is still a really beautiful hike with some of the best views within the city limits. Mission Trails Regional Park Cowles Mountain is located in Mission Trails Regional Park in the north part of San Diego and is easily one of the most popular trails in the city. Starting somewhat near sea-level, Cowles Mountain via the Big Rock Trail climbs about 1000 ft in elevation. We miraculously scored a spot in the actual parking lot, saving us the usual additional quarter mile uphill trek along the sidewalk from our car to the trailhead. Parking here can also be a significant challenge – at peak times its so busy that cars line the street as far as the eye can see. Cowles Park is a singletrack mountain bike trail in East Granby, Connecticut. Cowles Mountain is also one of the most popular hikes in San Diego, so I’ve routed this hike up the less trafficked and more scenic “back way” up the mountain. Arrive at Big Rock park which has good parking. Before setting out at Cowles Park, whether on foot or on mountain bike, just know that you will take a wrong turn somewhere. Check out some of our favorite hiking guides for San Diego County: Cowles Mountain via Barker Way (Mission Trails Regional Park), Kwaay Paay Peak (Mission Trails Regional Park), This Week in San Diego Hiking – February 11, 2019, This Week in San Diego Hiking – February 4, 2019, This Week in San Diego Hiking – January 28, 2019, This Week in San Diego Hiking – January 14, 2019, This Week in San Diego Hiking – January 7, 2019, Bathroom and drinking fountain at trailhead. Google Map links: Big Rock TH Mesa Parking Barker TH Parking for Cowles Mountain Parking will be different for each trail, but there is free parking for all three trails mentioned below. Park close to the gated, unpaved service road heading up the east slope of Cowles Mountain. http://www.mtrp.org/trail_map/trail_map.asp. Google Earth: Big Rock Trail to Cowles Mountain Peak. It’s easily accessible, provides a great workout, and as the highest point within the City of San Diego, offers…, Kwaay Paay Peak in Mission Trails Regional Park doesn’t receive nearly the amount of traffic that its more popular neighbor Cowles Mountain does. The most popular trail of the park is the Cowles Mountain trail (pronounced Colz), which takes hundreds of people per day to the summit for a 360-degree panorama of San Diego County. The staging area is one of the nicer trailheads I’ve been to, with a number of benches and shade trees, as well as the more utilitarian drinking fountain and bathroom. We set off up the trail, which began to ascend immediately up the chaparral covered hillside. At 1,593 feet, this mountain resembles more of a coastal peak than … There are several different routes up the mountain, the most popular being the southern route starting at Golfcrest and Navajo. You won’t get lost in any real sense, but you will get confused. Mission Trails Regional Park Status. ... Stone Mountain Trail 3.0 mi 4.9 km • 173' Up 52.77 m Up • 173' Down 52.68 m Down. Cowles Park Mountain Bike, Hike, Trail Running trails near East Granby, Connecticut. Turn right on Navajo Road and continue 2.7 miles east to Cowles Mountain Boulevard, … View Trail Map, Cowles Mountain is the tallest point within the City of San Diego, and one of the most popular hikes in the county. The parking area will almost definitely be full, so park along the street where you can, making sure not to block anyone’s driveway. map, For more information, visit: The small parking lot on Golfcrest Avenue has bathrooms with running water and drinking fountains. Head west on Navajo Road for approximately 2 miles, then turn right onto Golfcrest Drive. Getting There: For the South Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. The trail is quite impacted by people as well as dogs. Today, we saw evidence of the never ending work of keeping the trail maintained in the form of caution tape marking the side of the trail. this trail (only one i've done) had a nice variety of terrain...so it didn't get monotonous at all. Hiking Fitness & Hiking Related Injuries. The entire mountain, with marked trails, is a protected area within Mission Trails Regional Park, which opened in 1972. Difficult. cowles mountain activity log | embed map of Cowles Mountain mountain bike trails | subscribe add to favorites print map 3d map donate to earn trail karma! Turn right at Cowles Mountain Blvd. It wasn't hard at … Bathroom Facilities: There are bathroom facilities for the Cowles Mountain Trailhead taking the south approach, there is none for the east approach. While other trails could be turned into a loop to limit the amount of hikers passing each other, the Cowles Mountain trail could not, Faulconer said. Some were running, most were walking, and a lot of them brought their furry friends along on leashes. trailhead sign. © 1996-2020 New England Mountain Bike Association. This makes it a great alternative for hikers looking for a quick mountain climbing workout but who don’t want to contend with…. From hwy 125 - Exit at Navajo Road. Around .8 miles a trail leading towards Barker Way, one of several alternative starting points for Cowles Mountain, branched off on the right. Entering Cowles off of Barker Way is a very different experience than the popularized route. This is a very popular trail with them, so keep your eyes open and be polite. Looking northeast we could see El Cajon Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, and Viejas Mountain. It’s easily accessible, provides a great workout, and as the highest point within the City of San Diego, offers some fantastic views. We hiked the trail on a hot Friday afternoon in July. Turn right on Navajo Road and continue 2.7 miles east to Cowles Mountain Boulevard, and turn left. This morning, temperatures were in the 70's, with a beautiful breeze. Per the San Diego County public health order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, areas of Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) are open for passive use only. Through out this 3-mile hike, we saw 50+ hikers also enjoying this Sand Diego hiking trail. We soon began a series of switchbacks up the mountainside. View maps, videos, photos, and reviews of Cowles Park bike trail in East Granby. The small parking lot on Golfcrest Avenue has bathrooms with running water and drinking fountains. We continued around to the back of the subpeak. Parking issues aside, it makes for a good place to meet friends for a little exercise and camaraderie. This trail is about 5 miles total, out and back. Previously, we'd written…, I feel pretty safe in saying that Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park is the most well-known, and well-used hiking trail in San Diego County. Flora & Fauna Rattlesnakes are frequently spotted on the trail in the spring. I know the title makes this seem like some great feat, but Cowles Mountain is only around 1,600 feet tall, so it is not incredibly challenging. We wandered around the peak a bit, enjoying the views. If the parking lot is full, find a spot on … If the parking lot is full, find a spot on … Cowles Mountain is part of Mission Trails Regional Park, which stretches over 7,000 acres and is the largest urban park in Southern California. Video Time Lapse from the top of Cowles Mountain: Cowles Mountain Time Lapse from Brad Spiess on Vimeo. Distance: 5.2 miles. Downloading of trail gps tracks in kml & gpx formats is enabled for Cowles Mountain. Add Rating. The everso popular Cowles Mountain has another side that most folks have not explored. Weather forecast for the Cowles Mountain Hike: © Copyright 2013-2019. As is usual on Cowles, we encountered numerous other hikers and trail runners on the way. Around .4 mile, the switchbacks subsided for a bit and the trail headed towards a small subpeak. Getting There: For the East Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. We wound our way up the switchbacks, enjoying the views as we climbed. Visit BringFido for an overview of the trail, along with pictures, directions, and reviews from dog owners who’ve been there. Dogs must be on a leash. The views atop Cowles Mountain are probably the best to be had within the City of San Diego. Cowles Mountain trail is about 1.5 miles of uphill, moderately strenuous hiking. At last the switchbacks came to an end, and we had just a short rocky traverse to the summit. 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