If you are looking for a workout, hike Cowles Mountain Trail and enjoy beautiful views and be close to the nature. The trail is located in the Mission Trails Regional Park near La Mesa, California. The out and back trail is 4.6 kilometers in length and it has a total elevation of 275 m.
The most popular hike in San Diego is often crowded so it is recommended to hike early in the morning if you don’t want many hikers around you. The hike is easily accessible and it’s well maintained and it takes you to the highest point in the city. There are a few ways to reach the top but the trail starting from Golfcrest Drive is the most popular.
If you want some alone time with nature, then this hike is not for you, as you will be surrounded by many other hikers and runners. Finding a good parking spot is also very difficult, especially at peak times. This trail is very popular, so much so that the officials have created a challenge to encourage people to see other areas of the park. Though crowded, it’s a wonderful hike that offers great views and a workout opportunity.
The trail has several switchbacks, which you can use if you want to ease your hiking effort. The trail is quite exposed and there is only a small shaded section. A footbridge and wooden steps would help you with your climb.
While hiking, you can see the mountain and after a short distance, you can also see the Cuyamaca Peak. Soon, you will get on the wide dirt road that you have to follow till you reach the summit. There are side trails as well, make sure to not follow them and stay on the main road. When you get to the top, you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views.
The trail is rated as moderate and you can take your dogs with you as well, but make sure to keep them on leash. It’s also kid-friendly, so it’s a good idea to take your kids with you and give them the experience of summiting a mountain.