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It is good, less people on the Pyle trail

12 days ago

Rock climbers loops was amazing as well as thrilling. Perfect if you're trying to increase your endurance. Wonderful park, with a hike for any age group.

Quite an intense hike. Great for beginners. Rock climbing is an add-on feature of the hike.

Finished it on a not so hot day. 2/5 five peaks challenge finished

I highly recommend this hike but read the cautions below.
My fiancé and I went in April and had an amazing time. We are a young and fairly active couple and this trail was not extremely difficult but I can see how it’s difficult for others. I recommend to head out first thing in the morning as the afternoon sun is VERY hot and with the dry heat, it becomes unbearable. There’s barely no shade on the trail so when that sun is blazing, you’re completely exposed to the sun and heat. Come prepared with plenty of water and high energy food. We brought eight bottles of water each and went through 6 easily. The trail is a 1 person wide dirt trail with no barriers and minimal markers. I’m scared of heights and the trail made me uncomfortable at times when it was steep and if I fell I felt like it would be to my death of tumbling down the rocky side with minimal to no shrubs to stop my fall. Other areas of the trail were fine. As we got closer to the waterfalls, there was more shade and trees but larger rocks we had to climb over. We got to a point that we weren’t sure if we were on the right track as there wasn’t a distinct trail to follow nor markers, but then we would randomly find a ribbon on a branch.
At the end of the trail are the waterfalls, they are awesome. I would recommend to bring a swimsuit and a towel, freezing water but a great way to cool off. To get to the top waterfall you have to climb the rocks which are smooth and steep and only have a rope to help you up. Bring good gripping shoes and gloves (if you’re hands are on the sensitive side).
So this trail is completely do able, but be SAFE. On our way we ran into a group in which one of the guys broke his leg and since there’s no signal, they had to carry him back to the car (in which there is still no signal in the parking lot and only signal after an hour drive back towards the highway). If you have a radio, I would recommend to bring a radio with you so you can call for help incase. The man broke his leg going down the old trail in which the rope was removed to prevent people from going down, sever accidents will entail if you try this. Do not rush down the ropes at the waterfall, I saw someone loose balance and almost flew into the tree and stones and would’ve broken his back or head if it wasn’t for his friend saving him from falling to his death. Like I said, be safe, go prepared, don’t be stupid, and you’ll survive without any issues.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Went blind on this trail looking for a challenging ride out of William Heise campgrounds. Very tough climb lots of melon sized rocks, couple of fallen trees along the way.
This trail is probably hardly ridden or hiked. No foot prints, no sign of any activity on the trail what so ever!
Had a blast, very tough, remote, beautiful, for biking this definitely black diamond.
Bring lot's of water!

Hiking boots, 3 liters of water, hat, and snacks are a good idea. You should be prepared doing this hike. It's very hot, lack of shade, loose trail, unstable ground. This is not a place for kids or dogs. The ground is 110 degrees so this could kill your pup. We had to carry a dog off the mountain before. Lots of dogs die hiking in the heat.
This is one of my favorite hikes. The new trail is as a lot easier, but I prefer the original route with the ropes. There is a total of 5 ropes to help you up and down the steep ledges. I bring gloves because it is rough on my hands.

I am just starting to hike and agree it is a moderate hike. Only downside was the heat, can get really hot so make sure you take lots of water and are hydrated before. On our way down to waterfall sun was out so I was pretty drained getting there, but on our way back up sun wasn't as strong and I was able to make it up easily. Took us a little under 2 hours both ways. Good hike overall.

March 26th 2018 the waterfalls were flowing and gorgeous everything green and birds are chirping

trail running
1 month ago

Great run/hike from the visitor’s center parking lot. Took my dogs with me but it was a little harder than I thought it would be for them (my doberman had a blast but my medium-sized lab mix struggled in a couple spots). We stuck to the trail for the sake of safety. Nice views at the top of the trail.

love this trail. nice, quick, challenging hike.

We started at the Equestrian Circle and hit both South and North Fortuna, then came back along the perimeter trail next to the 52. That section was extremely steep and gravely. Least favorite part for sure. Hiking shoes are a must, and watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw one right in the middle of our path. Our whole route was about 8 miles round trip and took about 3 hours to complete.

I'm a newbie when it comes to hiking but this is my favorite trail so far. We took the old way to the waterfalls because we thought there would be ropes going down the hill but I guess they took most of the ropes off. We were still able to navigate it though. I really navigating through the rocks and streams but you could tell that few people had gone through the old trail. on the way back we took the newer trail which seemed safer but not as fun. Bring lots of water just in case. it can get hot really fast.

Great hike, do not do this hike on a hot day.

Great hike! Make sure to bring lots of water. Definitely use the ropes to climb up to the next waterfall. You will be glad you did!

Absolutely beautiful hike with views in every direction. Parking is crappy with room for only 5 or so cars so go early. there is tremendous variety of terrain from boulders to forrest overhang. it's definitely the prettiest hike I have done yet. we passed a few people but we were the only ones at the top, I actually cried! bring a lot of water. I have a 1.5l pack and it wasn't enough. I was happy that my husband had a 3l. be super careful if you are on the path in what I have now deemed "snake o'clock". when we turned the corner from behind a boulder there was one that was half in the path. we backed away and went over another boulder to avoid it. we warned everyone that we saw on the way down but there was a deaf couple on the hike heading in when we were heading out....I was scared for them. all in all it was very scenic and definitely challenging even just in the length alone. highly recommend!

Warning: several hikers have died of heatstroke here. There's almost no shade. it gets hot.

Not many bugs. That's about as far as it goes for good points. This unremitting slog down to an unremarkable falls, followed by an even less remarkable slog back up the exact same trail you just walked down, is free of agreeable views, shade, or, really, any reason to set foot on it. I don't know who built it, and I really don't know why, but I'd like my afternoon back please. Negative 1.21 Gigastars.

Skip It.

We timed it so we'd be descending back down Cowles at sunset. It's too hot otherwise. Fun hike! Beautiful little micro climates along the trail.

Long drive, very nice hike. The forest service has cut a new trail that delivers you to middle sister. Please use this and not the old "trail". I.e. don't cross the pink line across the edge of trail. Those random routes straight down the slope have caused a scar that will take a decade or more to recover IF it remains unused and people don't cause more erosion. When on the new trail, as you get near the falls/stream bed the trail becomes difficult to follow. Look for pink ribbons tied on shrubs that indicate trail. I climbed to middle fall (rope is there but not necessary). Good swimming in that one. Stream is still moving but just barely above a dribble really.

Please at least pack out everything you bring in. If you can pick up something and leave it cleaner than you found it! I found a pile of trash hidden behind a tree. Packed them out too:)

Loved this hike. Seems easier than Cedar Creek. The water level was low and we didn’t climb to the top falls, but it was beautiful!

The last part of the trail really difficult. I recommend it just for Strong Guys;)

This is our fav hike in San Diego county. We’ve done it a few times. We brought our mini-husky to this hike last time, and she didn’t have any trouble with it. We always climb to the top of the third sister because the view from there is spectacular. There were ropes in parts of the trail, but the ropes were missing last time we were there. The trail is doable without the ropes, but it does make it easier. Overall, this hike is great for any level of experience in hiking.

I did this hike for the first time on 5/27/18 and REALLY enjoyed the hike. This is definitely not a "Hard" hike and should be considered "Moderate" since there are some steep parts but there are just as many level or mild incline parts so it doesn't kick your butt too much. I did this as part of the Tardigrade Tough 8 Challenge which comprises 8 of the hardest hikes in the San Diego area. If you are interested follow @tt8challenge and/or @resilientsquad on Instagram.

Here are the main details of the hike:
Name: Corte Madera in Alpine, CA (east of San Diego)
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
Elevation at Peak: 4,657 ft.
Duration: 3-4 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate

*I used the directions from the All Trails App...basically the 8 East to Exit 51 Buckman Springs Rd, turn right and in 3.3 miles you will turn right on a small side road named Morena Stokes Valley Rd which is a narrow somewhat paved/dirt bumpy road and in 4.8 miles you will see a green metal gate with a red cross on it...parking for about 5 or 6 cars on the left of the road and the hike starts at the metal gate

We arrived at 6:15 am and we were the first to park in the parking area. We saw no one on our way to the peak and saw less than 10 people on our return from the peak. I really enjoy hikes where there are little to no people and there are no sounds of cars or noises except for nature.

For the first .7 miles of the hike you are on an access road lined with oaks provided cover until you reach a metal garbage can with a wooden sign that says Espinosa Trail on the left, this is the way you need to go and you will now be on a narrow single file trail.

At 1.5 miles you will come to an official metal sign which indicates Los Pinos Peak to the left and Espinosa Trail straight, just below this sign is a handmade looking wooden sign with "Corte Madera Mt" and an arrow pointing to the right...follow this sign.

At 1.9 miles you will see an official sign indicating you are entering a nesting area for birds of prey with a wooden handmade sign pointing the way to "CM" and an arrow...follow this sign.

At about 2.6 miles you will see the destination off to your left and you will see why it is called by some the San Diego Half Dome. The final .9 miles to the peak will curve around to the left and you will make a half circle to the peak when you reach about 3.4 to 3.5 total miles. There was no sign at the peak but there was a green metal container with the name and elevation on it.

There is a variation to the scenery on this trail with some shaded and some exposed areas and some cool rocks and there was a nice variety of colors (green, yellow, and violet), but most importantly were the great views at the top. On the day we hiked it was misting in the beginning and lots of fog/low clouds, but by the time we got within a mile from the top we had hiked high enough to be above the clouds and it was clear and beautiful up there. It is definitely worth the drive to do this hike and I highly recommend it.

By far the best hike I've done in San Diego! Great views, lots of flowers butterflies and birds. And most of all very few people. I highly recommend it.

Did the hike in on 5/26/18. 63 degrees. Took us 2.5 hours and that included a 30 minute rest at the pools. Takes 40 minutes down and about an hour and twenty minutes back up. Only 3.18 miles round trip. Had my wife, 11 year old son and 14 year old daughter with me. Although it pushed us, We all finished it no problem. 8 miles of dirt road, FYI. But definitely don’t need a 4WD. Super cool hike.

It’s a long but beautiful hike. It’s super green and clear. I’m going to say this is a moderate hike only because it’s long but to be honest it wasn’t difficult at all. The views are amazing!!! Prob my fav hike thus far!!!!

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