Three Peak Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 1,772' 540 m
Descent: -1,772' -540 m
High: 1,567' 478 m
Low: 669' 204 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 28% (15°)
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“An out-and-back route across Cowles Mountain, Pyles View Peak, and Pyles Peak.”— Elana Stahl
Be cautious of going off trail and keep your eyes open as there are snakes on this trail including the Red Diamond Rattlesnake. You might also spot the California Towhee and Wrentit (voice of the chaparral) in the trees and scampering across the trail. The trail up to Cowles Mountain Trail is well-marked with signs which include mileage. It would be hard to lose your way on this one.
Around mile 1.25, you'll reach the peak of Cowles and turn left; there will be a set of wooden stairs next to an interpretive sign. This will lead you to the junction to Pyles Peak Trail. The terrain is the same as coming up Cowles Mountain except for the next 0.5 miles there is a steady, relatively straight descent.
At mile 2.67, you'll see a sign that points left to go up to the Pyles Peak Viewpoint. The viewpoint is about 0.16 miles out and back. At the end of the viewpoint, there is a wooden fence that overlooks Cowles and Mission Trails Regional Park below. From the Pyles Peak Viewpoint sign, it is another 0.25 miles to the summit. The terrain going up to the summit is similar to the way up to Cowles Mountain albeit a little steeper and the trail is not as wide. You reach the summit at mile 2.91.
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Land Manager: City of San Diego - Parks & Recreation