Cowles Mountain is a hike many local San Diegans take advantage of for a number of reasons!
To start, this hiking trail is in a central location of Santee, CA, which means that it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to arrive at this trail head from Pacific Beach or Downtown. That right there is an appealing trait to have in comparison to Devil's Punch Bowl and Three Sisters that are over an hour away.
The parking here is easy with a designated lot and ample street parking and best of all, no windy mountain roads to get carsick on the way there.
This is an incredibly social hike because of it's convenient location and the fact that almost all fitness levels can conquer this route. You will find that this trail is most populated on the weekends but, in my opinion, it always has a decent amount of people occupying it. College students, families with kids, dogs, and runners frequent this trail which can make it sometimes a very crowded hike but also opens up an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends along the way.
The trail itself is somewhat steep and a bit rocky. However, this does not deter rude cross fitters from running up and down the side of this mountain on a busy day! Where shoes with good grip and are laced tightly to protect you from twisting an ankle on a rock. Upon reaching the top of the mountain there is a beautiful view of San Diego with even a glimmer of the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. It is a great place to gain new perspective, have a snack, and catch up with an old or new friend.
Check out Jared Nelson's view!