Mission Trails 5 Peak Challenge

If We Start The Challenge, We Have To Finish It

We created a YouTube video for those of you who do not wish to read.  The full blog post is located under the video.

When exploring a new place, we always try to find a couple of hikes to accomplish.  It’s good exercise and provides the opportunity to get some much needed time with nature.  While looking for hikes, we came across the Cowles Mountain Hike.  The scenic 2.9 mile trail up Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular trails in San Diego.  The summit offers 360 degree panoramic views of downtown San Diego, Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean.  With a description like that, we knew we had to do it.

Packing plenty of water and sunscreen, we set out for the summit.  Due to the popularity of the hike, we found ourselves hiking along with the masses of San Diego.  The hike is listed as “difficult”.  The meaning of difficult as stated by the Mission Trails system is “Long distance and/or greatest gain and inclines.  May require climbing over boulders.  Suitable only for experience hikers in excellent physical condition.”  We found the hike a tad strenuous, but nothing overpowering if you take it easy and ascend at your own pace and comfort level.

We reached the peak and waited in line to take our picture next to the placard.  While waiting, we overheard a group asking another group if they were completing the hike to count for the 5 Peak Challenge.  We had no idea what this 5 Peak Challenge was. We quickly took our selfie next to the placard and started our decent.  Upon getting back to our vehicle, we started looking up the 5 Peak Challenge.

The Challenge

In order to complete the Mission Trails 5 Peak Challenge, one must hike all 5 peaks listed in the challenge (no hopping over/crawling under fences or cutting switchbacks as a “shortcut”).  You must also take a picture of yourself next to the sign at each summit, making sure to get the peak’s name in the photo.  You can then email your selfie pictures to: 5-peakchallenge@mtrp.org, or stop by the Visitor Center front desk between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to receive your official 5-Peak Challenge certificate and logo pin.

We had already completed Cowles Mountain, so in a silly attempt to show off for our blog and 10’s of followers, we decided to take on the challenge.  The pictures below are separated by peak.  Additional pictures can be found in the YouTube Video posted above.

The Peaks:


Cowles Mountain
Distance to peak: 2.46 mi
Elevation gain/loss:+1463/-252 ft

Pyles Peak
Distance to peak: 2.79 mi
Elevation gain/loss: +1499/-867 ft

Kwaay Paay
Distance to peak: 1.2 mi
Elevation gain/loss: +969/-94 ft

North Fortuna Mountain
Distance to peak: 2.69 mi
Elevation gain/loss:+1194/-224 ft

South Fortuna Mountain
Distance to peak: 2.37 mi
Elevation gain/loss: +994/-537 ft

So what did we receive for completing the challenge?

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