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Cowles Mountain Trail

Intermediate

Trail

1.4 mile 2.2 kilometer point to point
68% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 900' 274 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 1,568' 478 m
Low: 668' 204 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Phil Steffek

The tallest mountain in the city of San Diego and the most popular.

Phil Steffek

Features Views · Wildflowers

Description

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.

The small parking lot on Golfcrest Avenue has bathrooms with running water and drinking fountains. If the parking lot is full, find a spot on Golfcrest Ave.

The trail is well marked and uses a series of switchbacks to keep it accessible to anyone with a decent supply of energy (One of the local elementary schools uses this trail to get a class of 1st graders to the top). After a mile or so, you'll pass the intersection with Barker Way Trail on the right, continue straight to reach the summit.

The trail can be crowded, so plan to take your time and enjoy the views along the way. Signs at the summit help you identify surrounding peaks and you can easily see the Pacific Ocean, the Coronados Islands, and south into Mexico.

To return, simply retrace your steps back to the Golfcrest Trailhead.

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Check-Ins

Oct 3, 2018
Miles Outlaw
0h 18m
Mar 21, 2017
MikeyC Clemons
Lots of vertical on this trail but really amazing views from the top!!! 5.3mi

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 14 votes

#6645

Overall
  3.9 from 14 votes
5 Star
36%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
21%
2 Star
14%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#659

in California

#6,645

Overall
31 Views Last Month
1,542 Since May 6, 2015
Intermediate

0%
46%
31%
23%
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Photos

Looking North East from the top of Cowles Mountain. The trail that can be seen is the service road.
Jun 29, 2015 near La Mesa, CA
View from Cowles Mountain
May 5, 2015 near La Mesa, CA
San Diego morning - get above the smog!
May 12, 2015 near La Mesa, CA
Cowles Mountain Trail.
May 12, 2015 near La Mesa, CA

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