Cowles Mountain, San Diego's highest point

On July 5th, 2006 I biked (OK, mostly pushed) up the city of San Diego's highest point, Cowles Mountain (1591'). The peak is located near SDSU, and about 6 miles northeast of downtown. Directions are here.

san diego city high point cowles mountain

The gain from the parking lot is just shy of 1000', and the fact that it's completely exposed to the sun and it was hot out made that a bit uncomfortable. Despite that, there were huge hordes of what appeared to be locals making the hike. In parts it was like a marching column of ants.

For that reason, I very strongly advise against mountain biking on this trail. I frequently hike in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, and even in that urban park I have never seen so many people on one trail. I checked the signs and biking wasn't forbidden, but yielding for hikers every few yards got a bit tiresome.

I also occasionally felt pangs of deja vu as what looked like the same people kept hiking towards me. Could it be that the same people were simply doing the hill twice, or are there basic "San Diego types"? Since that happened several times, I am forced to conclude the latter.

But, wait, there's video too! Since I don't have a helmet cam, I was holding my camera in my right hand, leading to the not unexpected results:

The fact that both of my shoes chose the way up to finally fall apart also played a part however.

I now have the highest points in both the city and county of San Diego, and likewise for Los Angeles and San Francisco. Of course, the last is the same "peak", making that a bit easier.


United States
32° 48' 36" N, 117° 1' 48" W
July 6, 2006 – 9:09pm