Hiking Poway: Goat Mountain

Picture of Goat Mountain Summit

Goat Mountain is a challenging hike away from all the crowds with great views. Located in Poway, this hiking trail starts at the end of a cul-de-sac in one of the neighborhoods and takes you up 1,100 ft to the rocky summit. Even for the veteran hiker, this is a challenge.

Don’t let the short distance fool you. Goat Mountain is one of the more challenging hikes in San Diego. The rocky terrain, overgrown path, and elevation gain will have you sweating at the summit. If you’re looking for a challenge you found it!

Here Are The Deets

Goat Mountain trailhead
  • Trailhead: 32.961152, -116.996763
  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Parking: in the neighborhood
  • All Trails Map

Pro tip: Wear some long hiking pants to get through the overgrown sections a lot more comfortably.

The trailhead is right next to one of the houses. There’s a large peace sign in the yard. Soon after starting the hike, you’ll leave the neighborhood behind.

Know Before You Go

I hiked this during the middle of the day on a cooler day in San Diego. I did come across a small rattle snake on this hiking trail. At first I thought it was dead, because it was so still. But when that rattle shook, I knew it was very much alive! Keep your eyes peeled and educate yourself on these dangerous animals before hitting the trail.

Picture of Rocky Terrain at Goat Mountain

After passing the rattle snake, I continued on to the summit. There’s multiple sections that require some rock scrambling. Expect to get your hands dirty. I cannot recommend good hiking shoes enough, especially for this hike! Regular tennis shoes won’t cut it for Goat Mountain.

Goat Mountain Summit

Views at Goat Mountain
The man behind the camera: Gavin with Go Surfing San Diego

Once you reach the top of Goat Mountain you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of San Diego. You can see Iron Mountain, Mount Woodson/ Potato Chip, Black Mountain Summit, and so many other peaks. We only came across two other hiking groups on this hike. We were the first on the trail around noon so we had the peak to ourself.

Goat Mountain Vs Iron Mountain

Another popular hiking trail in Poway, Iron Mountain is only 5.5 miles away from Goat Mountain. Although the two hiking trails are located close to each other, they differ in distance, terrain, and difficulty level.

Iron Mountain is a 6 mile moderate hike. Double the distance of Goat Mountain. It’s a well marked trail with signs to guide hikers to the summit. It’s well maintained, and a lot more popular than Goat Mountain. You’ll come across a lot of people here. The views are just as amazing.

For the average hiker, I would recommend Iron Mountain over Goat Mountain. If you’re looking for a challenge and some more solitude then hit Goat Mountain. Come prepared with a map and long hiking pants because the trail is overgrown.

For another challenging hike, check out Viejas Mountain in Alpine.

Post Hike Brews

The Hop Stop Burgers and Beer

The Hop Stop is only 5 minutes away in Old Poway, and offers great burgers and beers. After this challenging hike, I finished my double decker burger no problem! They have a large outdoor seating area to adhere to current COVID restrictions.

You can check out their food and beer menu on their website. If beer isn’t your thing, right next door there’s a local winery.

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