Cowles Mountain – Mission Trails Regional Park

On Wednesday (18 Nov), the meeting I was at got out earlier than expected, and a work friend and I decided to hike Cowles Mountain (it’s pronounced “coals”). Cowles is a part of San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park. We got to the Park about 1515, and headed right up.

Cowle's Mountain Trailhead

Most of the hike is a series of switchbacks. It starts out quite steep. About half way up, you go around a sub-summit and walk a forty yards or so along a saddle. There were a ton of people on the trail, I’ll bet there were a couple hundred on the mountain while we were there. We took a couple breaks on the way up. Some of the breaks were for short rests, but a couple times we managed to miss the trail for a short bit, and we found ourselves in uncharted territory for a minute or so.

Most of the trail looks more like this:

In a fairly short time, we were at the top! The view up there is spectacular. Cowles is the tallest point in the city of San Diego. I took a panorama that I will post when I get it stitched together. This is the view off to the ENE, towards El Capitan:

This is the view to the south. That’s Lake Murray, where a couple of us took a hike last week:

While at the top we read the various signs pointing out the terrain around the area, and went over and checked out the antenna tower (hey, a couple comm guys, we have to check out comm towers or we lose our union card…). Eventually we headed down. There was a breeze blowing and the temperature was pleasantly cool.

We got to the bottom right at 1715. There were still people headed up the trail! So for a two-hour hike, we ended up doing a bit more than 3 miles round trip, and about 933 ft of altitude gain.

This was a fun hike, and a great way to spend a couple hours after work. I am really impressed by Mission Trails park. Congrats to San Diego for creating it.

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One Response to “Cowles Mountain – Mission Trails Regional Park”

  1. Hiking Iron Mountain, Poway, CA « Bill Hensley’s Random Blog Says:

    […] of the mountain. The mountains to the left are Mission Trail Regional Park (the tallest one is Cowles Peak), and moving right you see downtown, San Diego Bay, and Point […]

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