5 Peaks of Mission Trails

I used to live in Tierrasanta, and Mission Trails was my go-to place to hike. When the twins were little, I would do a loop with them in the jogging stroller. There are five summit-able peaks in Mission Trails: Cowles, Pyles, North Fortuna, South Fortuna, and Kwaay Paay. I summited these peaks again as part of the park’s 5 Peak Challenge. The first set of summits was the Fortunas. These will give you a nice workout, especially up the stairs to South Fortuna.

Fortuna Loop from Tierrasanta side

I bagged Kwaay Paay after work. This peak is a great little summit, as it gets a lot less traffic than the other four.

Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in town. So, I opted to approach it from the backside to avoid some of the crowds. Once at the summit, Pyles is a short hike from it, and the crowds drop away as you head toward it.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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