1,591 ft / 485 m


991 ft / 302 m


107 summits

Top climbing months

October   11%

November   11%

September  10%

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
"Get there before the sun comes up if you're a hiker that enjoys peace and quiet. I got here about 6:30 and the nearest parking was a few blocks down..Had my 3 year old daughter with me and I can't count the number of times she almost got ran into by joggers with zero etiquette. Switchbacks all the way up made for an easy climb. So easy in fact we continued onto Pyles peak. " - spr_kween, Sep 1, 2018
"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



Nearest peaks