Summits: 1380

October 28, 2010

Cowles (SDC #94, 1593′) • mapdirections

Pyles (SDC #93, 1379′) • w/Cowles

Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak are two of the five main summits within Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles being the highest of the five. Cowles Mountain is easily the most popular summit in San Diego, which is probably why I haven’t hiked it in several years. Even on a weekday, it can see 50 or even 100 hikers or more on its popular 1.5 mile trail off of Golfcrest Drive, most of whom are there during the evening rush hour. Pyles Peak is a mountain most commonly accessed by an additional 1.5 mile trail from the summit of Cowles, and sees a fraction of the traffic that Cowles does.

Anna and I cruised up Cowles Mountain after work on a Thursday, making the easy summit shortly after dark. From the summit of Cowles, we left the crowd and quickly dropped 350+ feet down the north side, following the signs pointing the way to Pyles Peak and utilizing a steep use trail the final 100 feet to the top of Pyles. The trail is extremely easy to follow so I’ll spare any attempt at a route description. More trail info can be found here.


Photos taken via cell phone.


Sunset from Cowles Mountain



Pyles summit

Nighttime San Diego


Cowles/Pyles loop stats: 6.0 miles roundtrip, 2000 feet gain/loss