Ultra-endurance athlete, outdoor-adventure blogger and social media expert based in San Diego, California.

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Cowles Mountain Hiking Alternatives

Posted by Unknown Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Cowles Mountain trailhead at Golfcrest Drive and Najavo Road is closed through May so here are a few practical alternatives for accessible hikes in San Diego. Now get outside and go enjoy the beautiful scenery and a great workout!


The image above was taken just below the strairway to heaven aka "1,000 steps"

1. North Fortuna: ~4.4 miles r/t
From the Tierrasanta Portobelo trailhead off Santo Rd. 
More info: http://www.benjaminsphotos.com/100-peaks-in-san-diego/135-october-2-2010

2. South Fortuna: ~4.5
From Clairemont Mesa trailhead up the staircase to heaven  
Directions: http://www.mtrp.org/directions.asp?idno=18

3. Kwaay Paay: ~2.2 miles r/t
From Mission Dam parking lot up and down. 
Directions:
http://www.mtrp.org/directions.asp?idno=4
More info: http://100peaks.com/2009/09/02/kwaay-paay-peak-peak-9/

4. Pyles Peak: ~3 miles r/t
Add-on from Cowles Summit. Trail starts by radio tower on Cowles summit
More info: http://www.mountainbikebill.com/cowlesmt.htm

5. Cowles
Here are 2 different ways to get to the top of Cowles that are still open:

Barker Way: ~3.2 r/t
La Mesa side, wide service road
Directions: http://www.mtrp.org/directions.asp?idno=7

Big Rock Park: 
Mission Gorge Rd. Santee side. Winding single track with tunnels of shrubs, partway up it connects to Mesa trail and then connects with Baker Way.

6. Mother Miguel
I haven't done this one yet, but here's some info about it from James Walsh: http://www.strava.com/activities/38640169 

I wrote the corresponding numbers on the map below:
Download here: http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/pdf/missiontrailstrailmap.pdf
I frequent these trails and hope you’ll enjoy them safely and respectfully. All data and descriptions in this post are estimates, which usually means the trail is a bit longer, gains a couple hundred more feet and is rockier than advertised. So be careful out there!

Check out the interactive trail map: http://www.mtrp.org/trail_map/trail_map.asp

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