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near Highlands Mobile Home Park, California (United States)
This is a very popular hike in San Diego and the views all around are excellent. You also have the opportunity for a great workout and can hike 3 peaks in a fairly short period of time. I didn't quite make it over to Pyles Peak since it was getting dark. However if you zoom in on the map you can see that the trail goes farther. Originally I had planned on starting the hike near Mission Gorge Ave and Golfcrest Drive. However there are now keep out signs near that area that appear to have been posted by the park rangers. You can see clearly that there are some old trails in that area that go down by that section of the road but I chose to respect the signs and we headed over to the more popular starting point at Navajo Drive and Golfcrest Drive. There is a parking lot at that trail head and plenty of street parking for when it overflows and it does overflow often. This is a popular spot for nighttime hikes. The city lights are beautiful on the way down, especially just after dusk. You can also spot a nice silhouette of downtown on a clear night or day. It's a fairly easy hike but the trails are in rough condition due to erosion. It is very rocky and rutty at this point. There are lots of stone steps carved into the trail so I hope that your knees are in good shape if you do this. I see people of all ages hiking this trail so unless you have major health issues many people can do this and there seem to be people passing you every few minutes so it also seems very safe. If you are a beginner hiker who is trying to get in better hiking shape this is a great mountain to get some practice since there are lots of people around and the trail is pretty wide. I don't see how anyone could get lost on this one. Wear good sturdy shoes since there are lots of pointy rocks and ruts and if you have any knee issues take hiking poles. It really helps, especially on the way down.
This is the waypoint at the trailhead at Navajo and Golfcrest Drive.
This is the spot where you turn to go to the viewpoint.
This is a peak between Cowles Peak and Pyles Peak. It's a nice resting stop on the way and good picture taking spot. However the brush is overgrown so you have to climb over the fence to some rocks to really get a good view.