Cowles Mountain Trail

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Trail Distance: 2.9 miles
Time Estimate: 1 hr 30 min+
Elevation Gain: 912 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: Free
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description
Cowles Mountain Trail is one of the most pawpular dog-friendly hikes in the northeastern part of San Diego, California to complete with your canine. Because the trail can become extremely hot in the Californian heat, make sure to go early in the morning. The Cowles Mountain Trailhead (West access) is located on the corner of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road in the San Carlos neighborhood. This is the ruff-ly 2.9-mile hike featured here. However, there is also an East access from the opposite side of Cowles Mountain which is a much longer and more difficult hike.


From the Cowles Mountain Trailhead, you will find a small roundabout and parking, with restrooms and picnic tables provided on-site. From here, begin your gradual ascent up the trail. The terrain is dirt, but is fairly compact. However, it's wise to wear non-slip hiking shoes as it is loose terrain. As you can see via satellite map, there is little to no shade on the trail, apart from the thick shrubs lining the pathway. Make sure to take breaks, catch your breath, and drink plenty of fluids. The trail begins to zig-zag up to the summit and parts will become steeper. Just watch your step and let faster hikers pass in front of you on sections of the trail that are narrower. Don't forget to look around you every now and then to take in woofderful views! On clear days, this trail offers magnificent vista views of Cowles Mountain and of downtown San Diego. 

This out-and-back trail will be a breeze to complete with your pup, with proper gear. The trail does get congested, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Pet owners are encouraged to respect the rules and properly dispose of dog poop. Remember to be a courteous hiker so that everypawdy can enjoy their day hiking the Cowles Mountain Trail!

Trail Features
Steep Inclines, Mountains, Desert, Loose Terrain
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
Parking is free, but it tends to fill up spots quickly; make sure to arrive early! The trail can become muddy when wet, as it's mainly a dirt trail. Bring plenty of water, as none is available along the trail. Remember your hiking manners!
Address
7007 Golfcrest Drive
San Diego, CA 92119
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
7007 Golfcrest Drive
San Diego, CA 92119
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset