Added by Alex Seger
The most difficult, yet most alluring path to the antenna station at the peak of Cowles Mountain. With rewarding 360 views from San Diego all the way to Mexico, this hike definitely makes the list!
Start by plugging 8125 Arlette St, Santee, CA into your GPS. This takes you to Big Rock Park, a convenient parking spot for the Cowles Hike. From here you want to walk through the park, and around the right side of the tennis court. This will take you to the fenced entrance to the hike. Head south for about a half mile( residential houses will be on your left for this small stretch) then link up with the trail that officially starts your hike. The trail is fairly well maintained, and easy to navigate, but the route is steep, rocky, and depending on the time of year you go, hot! The flora regrowing along the trail provides much needed shade at times, so take advantage of these areas for breaks!
Continue following the trail for roughly 1.5 miles until you get to a service road. Turn right, and enjoy a beautiful, less strenuous mile or so hike up to the antenna station. Once at the top, rocks and boulders lining the edges double as natural chairs to sit back and enjoy the scenery. You have views of every single peak and mountain range in San Diego from this vantage point, so take some time to soak it all in! Once you've had your fill, head back down the service road(easier going down than up! ), and turn left back onto the Big Rock Trail which will take you back the way you came. Be mindful of the time, as the trail will get dark shortly after sunset, and more difficult to descend.
- Hiking Shoes
- LOTS of Water
- Trekking Poles (optional but beneficial)
- Headlamp (evening hikes)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Catch a Sunset at Fonts Point
San Diego / Fonts Point Trailhead
The best time to go to Fonts point is right before the sun sets. It is located in the desert, so be sure to dress warmly and bring a blanket or two.
Visit the Rice Shoe Fence
San Diego / Rice Shoe Fence
If you're traveling on CA-62, keep an eye out on the south side of the road for the enormous shrine of retired footwear from passers by.