Pyles Peak via Cowles Mt. NE Approach
Distance - 7.8
- 2500 ft.
Max Elevation Reached
- 1580 ft.
Trailhead - Link
This hike adds a couple of interesting twists to one of
San Diego's most famous and most crowded hikes. The famous Cowles
hike approaches the summit from the south and involves rubbing
shoulders with several dozens of other health concious San Diegans
along the way. Instead of starting off at the usual trailhead, this
hike starts near the Big Rock Park and approaches the Cowles Mt. summit
from the northeast. After summiting Cowles Mt., the hike continues on
to another mountain, Pyles Peak, further northwest.
The narrow trail ascends the northeast face of the mountain
rather gradually through some thick chaprral and other desert shrubs.
Some distance in to the hike the trail meets the service road heading
up to the Cowles Mt. summit. Turn right and follow this dirt road all
the way to the top. There are some segments that offer surprisingly
steep grades and a serious cardio workout. After a well deserved break
at the summit continue on the service road towards the antenna masts.
The turn to the Pykes peak trail comes up on the left immediately. Take
this narrow and sometimes rather rocky trail down to a saddle and then
ascend again to Pyles Peak from where North and South Fortuna are
Remember to plan for the climb back up to Cowles Mt. as you
retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
Download Google Earth KML - Link
Started from Trailhead - 8:30 am
Reached Pyles Peak - 10:45 am
Started back - 11:15 am
Reached Trailhead - 12:55 pm
Technical Analysis - Link
Notes - It was cloudy throughout. The ground was moist since
it had rained the day before. It
started drizzling slightly just as we completed the hike and entered
our car. I had received my new Garmin eTrex Vista HCx just the previous
night and was eagerly trying its features out for the first time on
this hike. The various GPS plots and links are the result.