Fitness on the Cheap Tuesday: Cowles Mountain

You Made It! Image courtesy of slworkings flickr stream, licensed under the creative commons.

You Made It! Image courtesy of slworking's flickr stream, licensed under the creative commons.

Last week I shared with you one of my favorite urban workouts.  This week I thought I would share one of my favorite trail runs, and surprisingly enough, one needn’t drive out to the back country to get there.

It took me several years of living in San Diego before I stopped and noticed Mission Trails regional park, almost 6k acres of pristine and natural San Diego landscape.  I’m sorry I didn’t discover it sooner!  This is really one of the best places to escape the city when you’re feeling nature’s call.  Today I’ll be taking you to the crown jewel of the park, Cowles Mountain, the highest point within the city limits.

There are several trails that run up the mountain, the trail we’re looking at today is probably the most accessible and is staged on the corner of Navajo Rd and Golfcrest Dr.  You can drive there and park, or take the Greenline Trolley to the SDSU Transit Center and transfer to the 115 headed to the El Cajon Transit center.  From there it’s a quick 15 minute ride to Jackson Dr and Golfcrest Dr and a 5 minute walk North to the staging area.

Navajo Rd & Golfcrest Dr

This is one of the more widely used trails, especially in the morning and evenings as during the Summer it gets pretty hot during mid day.  The trail to the summit runs about a mile and a half with and elevation gain of about 1,000 feet.  The vantage from the top offers one of the best 360 views in the entire city.  On a clear day you can see as far Southwest as Downtown and the Coronado Bridge and as far North as La Jolla.

If after working your legs out on the hike you need a bit more, you can always do my favorite post Cowles routine using the various cement walls and park benches in the staging area as steps:

25x Burpees +
50x Box Jumps+
25x Crunches
Three rounds, resting one minute between rounds

Remember, know your own limits and make sure to bring water with you on the trail.  If you run or jog it, watch your footing.


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