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I had been too late returning from Anza Borrego the previous day to go on a a short hike with Ryan when I got back as we'd planned, so we got up early the next day to get a quickie in before it was time for the long 7hr drive back to San Jose. From San Diego, it is a short drive to Cowles Mtn on the northeast edge of the city, the highest point within the city limits. Pyles Peak is located about 3/4 miles NW of Cowles along an undulating ridgeline connecting the two. The right, or legal way to climb the peak is to use one of the various trailheads for Cowles, climb that peak first, then use the Pyles Peak Trail to reach Pyles Peak. A fourth option is an unofficial trail at the corner of Mission Gorge Rd and Golfcrest Dr, west of the summit. This route, less than a mile in length, is briefly described in the SummitPost description and is the easiest way to reach the summit, and the one Ryan and I used.
It wasn't until we got to the start of the trail that we found a Trail Closed sign. We went up anyway. Though steep in places, the use trail is wide and easy to follow as it makes its way up the chaparral-covered hillside. This trail then intersects the maintained Pyles Peak Trail at a fenced overlook. From there it is less than ten minutes to the summit. Another hiker was heading down with two friendly dogs that we stopped briefly to engage with. He and a few other parties we saw on our visit had all come from Cowles Mtn. Finding no register at the summit to occupy our time, we stayed only briefly to take in the views before heading back down. The whole hike took us just over an hour. Easy as pie!
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Pyles Peak
This page last updated: Tue Jan 19 11:24:21 2010
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