1,591 ft / 484 m


991 ft / 302 m


103 summits

Top climbing months

November   12%

October   12%

February   9%

Most climbed route

Cowles Mtn Trail from Navajo Rd.

Class 1


  • Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the City of San Diego at 1,593'.
  • However, many peaks in the county as a whole are much higher.
  • This is a popular first time peak for many visitors and locals alike
"This is a popular San Diego area hike. It didn't help me much that I arrived at about noon on a Sunday. I took my place in the line of hikers that climbed to the summit. After reaching the top I continued on to Peak 1380 and Pyles Peak, where I was able to claim three peaks on a single hike. Hiking totals for all three peaks: 6.5 miles with 1,650 feet of elevation gain." - Peak-Conquistador, Sep 10, 2017
"This is a great hike for beginners. It’s kind of urban, but hey, it’s in San Diego. This route takes an route with less crowds and easier parking. The views are incredible! I have a full trip report and turn by turn directions on my blog here: https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/cowles-mountain-hike-san-diego-highest-point/" - HikingGuy, Nov 18, 2015
"We went up. Then down. Missed our trail and went a bit out of our way. Very cloudy and foggy so no good views or photos. But I'll post one anyway - a panorama. And a miracle smiley face on my wife's back :)" - rickbrenner, Oct 12, 2014
"3rd peak of 3-peak traverse Pyles-1380-Cowles; 1 mile ascent w/375' gain, 175' loss from Point 1380. Lots of people at the summit, most popular San Diego peak I've hiked, hundreds hike the Cowles trail daily. Descended on the Cowles Mtn Trail to Golfcrest Drive, 2.6 miles w/1,180' loss from summit back to my car at Mission Gorge. " - BradStemm, Mar 16, 2014
"Started hiking about 10pm. Followed the freeway-wide service road with my brother and my dog. The marine layer shortened most of the views, but we still found lots of spiders! A great way to spend a Friday night." - benjineer, Apr 13, 2013



Nearest peaks