San Diego Best Dog Hiking

San Diego Best Dog Hiking

larger Airedale Terriers - San Diego Best Dog Hiking
larger Airedale Terriers Barker Way trail

The Cowles Mountain trail that starts at Barker Way is perhaps the best San Diego dog hiking trail. After being closed since mid-March for the coronavirus, Cowles Mountain hiking trails opened up about two weeks ago.

My two larger Airedale Terriers are also known as Oorang Terriers, larger Airedales, and Mountain Airedales. Now, I’m not quite sure if the Mountain Airedale nickname refers to their size or the fact that they love to go hiking up mountains. But I can attest to the fact that having had five larger Airedale Terriers, all of which have hiked up the Barker Way trail with me numerous times, they just love to get out and hike all the trails around San Diego.

San Diego Best Dog Hiking

Cowles Mountain Barker Way Trail - San Diego Best Dog Hiking
Cowles Mountain Barker Way Trail

My favorite dog hiking trail, here in San Diego, is the Cowles Mountain Barker way trail that comes up the east side of the mountain and is the widest trail going up to the summit. I’m an older guy and taking occasional rest breaks and water breaks for the dogs, it takes me about 50 or 55 minutes to reach the summit.

The beauty of this trail, at least for taking your dogs, is the fact that it’s nice and wide and since the sun always sets in the west, coming up the east side, starting at about 6 PM this time of year, means that the majority of the trail is in shadow and therefore not as grueling or dangerous as taking your dogs up these trails in the midday sun. Now, keep in mind no matter when you go up these trails, always carry extra water for the dogs and have frequent watering stops. Almost all dogs would want to keep up with their masters, and this could easily result in heatstroke for your dog.

Oorang Airedale Terriers - San Diego Best Dog Hiking

If you time it just right, you can get up to the summit and take in some magnificent sunset views over the Pacific and still have plenty of time to get down without needing a headlight.

Cowles Mountain trails were closed to the public due to the coronavirus since mid-March and just about two weeks ago opened up again. Currently, they have some large equipment on the Barker way trail, leveling it out quite a bit. Since the trail reopened, I’ve been going there with my two Airedales and we have been going up about one third of the way. I mentally divide the trail into thirds, and the first third and the last third are the hardest. But, it’s a great way to get in exercise for both you and your pets while taking in the great views and the magnificent sunsets.

Cowles Mountain summit - San Diego Dog Hiking trails
Cowles Mountain summit

Yesterday, was the first time we went to the summit since the trails reopened. Right on the summit, was a pretty large rattlesnake easily visible heading into some of the bushes. As it turns out, this is the second rattlesnake I’ve seen in the last two days hiking with my Airedale Terriers. This is a another reason that I like the Barker Way Trail is because it’s nice and wide and makes it much easier to see the rattlesnakes that are usually at the side of the trails under the shade of the bushes.

Cowles Mountain sunrise - San Diego Best Dog trails

In conclusion let me say if you’re in the San Diego city area and you’re looking for a nice 90 minute hike up and down you should definitely try the Barker Way Trail. Keep in mind, bring a hat, water for your dogs, and a good set of hiking shoes.


He is swift, formidable, graceful, big of brain, an ideal chum and guard. ….To his master he is an adoring pal. To marauders he is a destructive lightning bolt.”


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