Cowles Mountain

San Diego has some of the most beautiful and temperate weather in the entire country. The weather generally stays between 60 and 80 degrees year round. This temperate and wonderful weather provides for the perfect place to go hiking and enjoy the outdoors. One of the best places to enjoy the San Diego outdoors is at Cowles Mountain. This mountain is perfect for hiking, biking, nature walking, and bird watching on your next San Diego vacation.

What is Cowles Mountain?

Cowles Mountain is the highest point within the City of San Diego. Cowles Mountain San Diego stands at a striking 1592 feet above sea level. Cowles Mountain is located in the San Carlos neighborhood of the city. Its main hiking trail is one of the most popular in the area, with a 360-degree view from the summit. Cowles Mountain was named after George Cowles, an elderly rancher from the area. Many think the mountain is pronounced “cow-ellz,” but it is actually pronounced “coals.”

Is It Part of Mission Trails Park?

Cowles Mountain is located in Mission Trails Park. Mission Trails Regional Park encompasses nearly 5,800 acres of both natural and developed recreational acres. Centrally located and only eight miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park provides a quick, natural escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

Hiking Cowles Mountain

Not only is Cowles Mountain’s hiking trail the most popular in the area, it is also one of the most populated. Though the elevation change of the 1.5 mile main trail is nearly 950 feet, it is relatively easy for adults and children alike. The mountain frequently sees hikers and bikers alike, so you will never feel isolated and help is always close at hand if needed.

The Main Trail at Golfcrest Drive

Most hiking Cowles Mountain take the main trail, with its gradual elevation over 1.5 miles. The trailhead can be reached at Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road. A visitor’s center is located there with information, restrooms and water. Make sure that you properly hydrate before attempted a hike of any difficulty.

Directions to Golfcrest Drive

Take Interstate 8 to the College Avenue exit. Proceed north on College Avenue 1.0 miles to Navajo Road. Turn right and proceed on Navajo Road 1.9 miles to Golfcrest Drive. Turn left on Golfcrest Drive to enter parking lot. This is the location of the visitors’ center and the beginning of the trail.