Around .8 miles a trail leading towards Barker Way, one of several alternative starting points for Cowles Mountain, branched off on the right. The small parking lot on Golfcrest Avenue has bathrooms with running water and drinking fountains. Downloading of trail gps tracks in kml & gpx formats is enabled for Cowles Mountain. About 300 paces along the service road look on your left for the Barker Way/Cowles Mtn. Located in Mission Trails Regional Park, this mountain is the tallest point in the City of San Diego. The everso popular Cowles Mountain has another side that most folks have not explored. This makes it a great alternative for hikers looking for a quick mountain climbing workout but who don’t want to contend with…. The trail head is on the left. Through out this 3-mile hike, we saw 50+ hikers also enjoying this Sand Diego hiking trail. A small wooden footbridge and some wooden steps aided the ascent. 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. Visit BringFido for an overview of the trail, along with pictures, directions, and reviews from dog owners who’ve been there. But despite the crowds, this is still a really beautiful hike with some of the best views within the city limits. The trail is considered moderate, although, the … Turn West onto Navajo Road. Hiking to the nearby Pyles Peak is far less popular, and… 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. 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. Parking for Cowles Mountain Parking will be different for each trail, but there is free parking for all three trails mentioned below. Arrive at Big Rock park which has good parking. Cowles Mountain is a popular trail in San Diego's Mission Trails Regional Park that is the city's official high point. Cowles Mountain is part of Mission Trails Regional Park, which stretches over 7,000 acres and is the largest urban park in Southern California. 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. Mission Trails Regional Park Status. As is usual on Cowles, we encountered numerous other hikers and trail runners on the way. Park close to the gated, unpaved service road heading up the east slope of Cowles Mountain. If the parking lot is full, find a spot on … Before setting out at Cowles Park, whether on foot or on mountain bike, just know that you will take a wrong turn somewhere. 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. 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. Cowles Park Mountain Bike, Hike, Trail Running trails near East Granby, Connecticut. 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! We wound our way up the switchbacks, enjoying the views as we climbed. Head west on Navajo Road for approximately 2 miles, then turn right onto Golfcrest Drive. 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. Cowles Mtn RECOMMENDED ROUTE. Elevation Gain: 1400 feet . Starting somewhat near sea-level, Cowles Mountain via the Big Rock Trail climbs about 1000 ft in elevation. At 1,592ft, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the city of San Diego. Entering Cowles off of Barker Way is a very different experience than the popularized route. Due east was Lyon’s Peak, Tecate Peak, Mt. Mission Trails Regional Park Turn right onto Barker Way. 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. Proceed 0.5 miles to Boulder Lake Ave., and make a left to reach Barker Way. The entire mountain, with marked trails, is a protected area within Mission Trails Regional Park, which opened in 1972. To the northwest were the remaining four peaks of Mission Trails: Pyle’s Peak, Kwaay Paay, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna. http://www.mtrp.org/trail_map/trail_map.asp. Even if you are in moderately decent shape, you should be able to do this hike. Time to complete: 25-45 minutes one way / 1 hour or more round trip. At last the switchbacks came to an end, and we had just a short rocky traverse to the summit. The parking area will be almost immediately on your right. Getting There: From Mission Gorge Road on Santee’s west side, turn south on Mesa Road. At 1,593 feet, this mountain resembles more of a coastal peak than … Bathroom Facilities: There are bathroom facilities for the Cowles Mountain Trailhead taking the south approach, there is none for the east approach. 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. There are several different routes up the mountain, the most popular being the southern route starting at Golfcrest and Navajo. 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. Membership; Admin; Contact; Facebook; Twitter; Amazon Helix in the foreground, and San Miguel Mountain. Add Rating. Cowles Park is a singletrack mountain bike trail in East Granby, Connecticut. The smooth dirt quickly transitioned into rockier terrain. Drive 0.4 miles to Big Rock Park and park your car along the road near the Big Rock Trail Head.. … Some were running, most were walking, and a lot of them brought their furry friends along on leashes. 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 … 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. 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). 26 trails with 26 photos In fact, the trail was actually closed for a full two months in 2013 for restoration work. This is a very popular trail with them, so keep your eyes open and be polite. Getting There: For the South Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. 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. Dogs must be on a leash. The views atop Cowles Mountain are probably the best to be had within the City of San Diego. Being the most popular trail in the county means that the it suffers a significant amount of wear and tear. ... Stone Mountain Trail 3.0 mi 4.9 km • 173' Up 52.77 m Up • 173' Down 52.68 m Down. 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. 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. 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: We set off up the trail, which began to ascend immediately up the chaparral covered hillside. 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. 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. The City of San Diego, along with Mission Trails staff and volunteers, do a tremendous job of maintaining the trail. It’s easily accessible, provides a great workout, and as the highest point within the City of San Diego, offers some fantastic views. At 1.3 miles we reached the summit marker. 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 trail (only one i've done) had a nice variety of terrain...so it didn't get monotonous at all. Turn right at Cowles Mountain Blvd. 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. This morning, temperatures were in the 70's, with a beautiful breeze. casually walking...it took under an hour to reach the top. Google Earth: Big Rock Trail to Cowles Mountain Peak. 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. Cowles Mountain Trail Hike Retrospective. 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. Turn right on Navajo Road and continue 2.7 miles east to Cowles Mountain Boulevard, … 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. Around .4 mile, the switchbacks subsided for a bit and the trail headed towards a small subpeak. ), Directions: Distance: 5.2 miles. Be aware! Getting There: For the East Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. If the parking lot is full, find a spot on … 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. Cowles Mountain trail is about 1.5 miles of uphill, moderately strenuous hiking. We wandered around the peak a bit, enjoying the views. 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. View maps, videos, photos, and reviews of Cowles Park bike trail in East Granby. It wasn't hard at … The small parking lot on Golfcrest Avenue has bathrooms with running water and drinking fountains. 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. 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! We headed left and soon came to the base of the final set of switchbacks. Google Map links: Big Rock TH Mesa Parking Barker TH 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. Contacts. Video Time Lapse from the top of Cowles Mountain: Cowles Mountain Time Lapse from Brad Spiess on Vimeo. We soon began a series of switchbacks up the mountainside. Weather forecast for the Cowles Mountain Hike: © Copyright 2013-2019. From Highway 125, take the Navajo Road exit. Park close to the gated, unpaved service road heading up the east slope of Cowles Mountain. Cowles Mountain is the tallest mountain in all of San Diego cities limits and it is also located within Mission Trails Regional Park. googlemaps/cris hazzard Although the trail there and back is only three miles, the steep incline will make it feel almost double. It provides a great workout and is a choice spot for watching sunrise, sunset, or enjoying a full moon. Parking is limited at this location. As the trail turned left to skirt the subpeak, we paused for a moment to enjoy the view. trailhead sign. They wind through the woods seemingly never going in a straight line for more than a few … Turn left at Boulder Lake Avenue. This trail is about 5 miles total, out and back. Cowles Mountain is a very popular hike in Southern California. 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 Mountain is a popular dog friendly hike in San Diego. 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. Lake Murray lay to the southwest, with San Diego Bay beyond. 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. Difficult. The trail is quite impacted by people as well as dogs. Hiking Fitness & Hiking Related Injuries. Getting There: For the East Approach – exit interstate 8 at College Ave., go north for 1 mile. Cowles Mountain and all connector trails to and from Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak are now open. Although, don’t let the thought of hiking the tallest mountain in the city intimidate you, because the mountain itself is … Looking northeast we could see El Cajon Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, and Viejas Mountain. You won’t get lost in any real sense, but you will get confused. 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. ... Deigo at the top, and then turn around and bomb back down it, watching for hikers of course. Brad Spiess, All Rights Reserved. (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.) Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego but it is so for a reason. From hwy 125 - Exit at Navajo Road. The Cowles Mountain hike brings you to the highest point in San Diego at 1,593ft, with views from Mexico to Orange County. We hiked the trail on a hot Friday afternoon in July. The crowds weren’t overwhelming, but there was a … From Brad Spiess on Vimeo east slope of Cowles Mountain is a very different experience the... Some wooden steps aided the ascent, along with pictures, directions from! Looking for a moment to enjoy the view folks have not explored took an!, Tecate Peak, Tecate Peak, Kwaay Paay, south Fortuna, and reviews of Cowles Mountain parking be. In Mission Trails Regional Park, which opened in 1972 it took under hour... We had just a short rocky traverse to the summit the trail turned left to reach the top, reviews..., it makes for a good place to meet friends for a bit, enjoying the atop. The highest Peak in the foreground, and reviews of Cowles Mountain hike: © Copyright 2013-2019 bit and trail... 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