Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes
in San Diego but it is so for a reason. 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 also has great views of the downtown San Diego, the Coronado islands, and the rest of Mission Trails Regional Park.
Cowles Mountain Via Golfcrest Drive Trail
Cowles Mountain is a very heavily trafficked trail in San Diego located within Mission Trails Regional Park. The peak was named after an early ranching pioneer who settled El Cajon in 1877 by the name of George A. Cowles. A little known fun fact is that most people pronounces this peak wrong. The correct pronunciation is actual like the word coal. The peak of Cowles Mountain is the tallest peak within the San Diego City limit at 1,593 feet.
There are a few different ways to get to the peak of Cowles Mountain but for the sake of this article, I’ll be focusing on the Golfcrest Drive trail head. Cowles Mountain has become incredibly popular over the years. The views and accessibility to the peak make this a great hike
for those new to San Diego, visiting the area, or those new to hiking. The trail is also popular for people to hike during the night.
One A Personal Note:
I personally think the views of this hike
are great for how close to the city this trail is. However, because of the ease of accessibility, it’s my personal opinion that Cowles Mountain is ridiculously overcrowded. There’s also a large amount of inconsiderate people filling the air with whatever music they’re listening to on their speakers. The crowds have unfortunately also become an opportunity for the scum of the earth to prey on all the parked vehicles in the area. The parking lot and Golfcrest Street is littered with broken car glass from those whose cars have been broken into. Make sure you keep all important things out of view or better yet, take them with you or leave them at home.Despite the negatives, Cowles Mountain is still a fun hike
Have you recently done this hike
? Please post your photos in or leave an update to the trail conditions in the comments section.