Cowles Mtn

Consensus:    (details)
  4.0 from 4 votes
dblack  Extremely Difficult from 2 votes
Rank: #1 in the San Diego area
#118 in CA, #992 Overall
Views: 1,984. Last 30 days: 155
Featured Ride in the area near Santee,
“This is a tough, technical climb!”
Doug Seybert Jr on May 22, 2013
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5.28.4 milesKilometers 1,280’390 m Ascent 1,584’483 m High 9% Avg Grade (5°)
50% Singletrack -1,286’-392 m Descent 373’114 m Low 24% Max Grade (14°)
Very technical singletrack up to the fire road, a very steep grade up near the top, then an awesome blast to the bottom.
This is one of the toughest, most technical singletrack climbs in San Diego. There are a few harder, but not many. Lots of railroad ties, chunky rock gardens, and steep rutted switchbacks. The best I've ever done on the singletrack is 1 dab, but I'm sure there's lots out there that can do better.

I park on Mesa Road next to Big Rock Park. From there, follow the road south about a half mile, past the gate, and take the right hander down across the wooden bridge over the creek. From here there's just one left hand turn between the trailhead and the fire road.

Once you reach the top of the singletrack, the fun continues. Hang a right on the fire road and follow it to the top as it progressively gets steeper and steeper until it's about a 25-30% grade at the very top. It's not very technical, but it's a TOUGH climb!

Take in some beautiful views of Sand Deigo at the top, and then turn around and bomb back down it, watching for hikers of course. This is a very popular trail with them, so keep your eyes open and be polite.

On the way down, after remembering to hang a left back onto the singletrack, I usually take the left at the split in the singletrack and take the Big Rock trail down. That's what's shown in this ride. Another option is to take the right and ride down Mesa Trail, the same way you climbed up. The Big Rock trail is quite a bit chunkier, whereas the Mesa Trail is more flowy. Both are fun, and I've even done some rides where I do both!
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4.5 (2)
Lilac Miners Peak Loop - This route is 9.1 miles with 2,600 feet of climbing.
near Fairbanks Ranch, CA
4.2 (5)
Great singletrack, technical, and elevation changes.
near Fairbanks Ranch, CA
4.0 (2)
A little bit of everything. Fire road, Singletrack, A couple good climbs, and...
near Poway, CA

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PHOTOS of Cowles Mtn
  3.3 from 3 votes
Chunky downhill! (La Mesa, CA)