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This was actually 6 miles. No water in the falls, but as everyone else has stated, still worth the hike. It’s just beautiful at the pool!

Challenging, but totally manageable. Bring lots of water. I found it to be a quiet and peaceful trail, saw few others, which I love. Great views, worth the effort.

Good stuff

This is actually a 6 mile loop well maintained trail. The water was barely flowing from the top of the waterfall but the bottom reservoir was full. The landscape of the waterfall was simply beautifully and well worth the hike.

I found the ‘descent’ to be challenging in the 4-3.5 mile return section. Definitely a tough climb but wonderful views and my favorite in the SD area so far.

Trail was well maintained and the folks up front checking permits were so helpful and friendly. It heated up on the way back which was close to noon in December, so bring plenty of water as they recommend. It was more or less a hike through the desert. Overall a good work out. I was told snakes were around, I didn’t see any (amen).

trail running
4 days ago

Great Hike, challenging Run. I’ve been to the top 3 times, this past weekend I opted to go straight at the 3 way intersection at the upper saddle. This brings you to an amazing lookout atop the face. Much more dramatic than the summit. Trail is washed out and difficult to stay on but there is the occasional rock cairn to show the way.

great for learners, or getting back into shape, or just getting better. great view of San Diego, beautiful sunsets. Easily accessible. pleanty of parking, and places the eat nearby. Downfall is it's often crowded, people think theres maintaneance to pick up their already bagged dog poo and bust leave it on the trail (stupid!) theres zero shade (sucks in the summer), and natural vegetation suffers from frequent human activity (comparing to the rest of mission trails, even during the dry season theres still some green, but hardly on Cowels) a pro to that, is less wildlife (snakes in particular)

Definitely a good hike that wears you out on the way up....as long as you hike the side starting at the lake. Will definitely hike again soon.

Good workout! My steepest trail yet in SD. Hiked up with my dog for the sunset and ran (mostly) down.

Great hike! Gets steep between miles 2-4. It can be considered a difficult hike. Bring lots of water! The summit is to the left of the sign and the trail is marked from the sign to the summit. Much harder on the way there than on the way back. Took 4hrs20mins at a moderate pace.

Went early Thanksgiving AM this year. It was drizzling and foggy so there were few others on the trail. It was getting crowded on my way back, with big groups coming through. I recommend doing this early. I’ll go back when there’s better visibility

Nicely managed hiking trail but will have to keep your dog on leash the entire time. Updated note that contradicts the recreation.gov website is that you do not have to bring a print out of your permit if you have the digital version. They accept digital permits, they just haven’t updated their website to reflect the change yet. Happy trails!

This hike is everything it’s said to be and more. This is cardio workout to say the least. Started at 630a and completed the hike by noon. Took a 1 hour much needed break. I easily drank 3 liters of water and it was cold for most of the hike. I saw a few folks starting late...I wouldn’t advise starting the hike after 10am. Enjoy the hike

Nice hike up with combo of mild-moderate inclines, flat areas to recover, and rewarding views at the top. It didn’t feel crowded with people/dogs to the point that it slowed me down. I didn’t bring my dog because of some stories I heard about overheating, wildlife issues, and fights with other dogs. I guess I could see a fight occur where the trail is tighter in spots (same way up/down) and dogs would come in contact with each other. That said, all dogs were well behaved when I was there and the trail was impeccably clean.

monster workout. great views. facilities at the bottom. The description and all trails is incorrect it is closer to 8 Miles not 6.9

An awesome trail for running, and working on steep inclines!

one of the first hikes I've done best hike I've done. easier and easier as I go. running down is always the best. had 1 time where I saw a baby rattlesnake but other than that it was good lots of foot traffic but amazing hike.

at his south trail killed me going up the stairs!!!! someone said to me the stairway to heaven, it was to hell. I was dying my dog made it! he loved it!

Absolutely peaceful, varied, and beautiful trail. Stream, pond, deer, sweeping views. Loved it.

12 days ago

Easy to follow, fire/utility road is main trail. Some good elevation swings make it challenging!

Great hike got lost twice trying to find stairway to heaven.Don’t expect directions to it just follow directions to south Fortuna you will see the Stairs in the distance

The first 3 miles is down hill (easy), but heading back is challenging. I recommend bringing your hiking poles. The waterfall is currently dry, but the bowl still has water. Lots of fresh animal dropping, so be alert and careful. We started at 7:15, started to warm up after that so bring plenty of water and sunblock.

Great view at peak for watching SAN DIEGO’s downtown sunset .

The waterfall is worth it. Pack for a picnic!

hiking
14 days ago

I know I'm biased but this is one of my favorites! Yes it can get busy but nothing like Torrey Pines. The views up top are gorgeous and every time Ive been there everyone is considerate and friendly. Ive been at 6am as well as 10pm. Previous reviewers mention being courteous with head/flash lights because some of us do much better with night hikes in the moon light.

Definitely take water. If you go during sunmy hours there is no shade throughout the hike so plan accordingly (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc). I am definitely a "slow but steady" hiker and it takes me about 1 hr to the top and about 40 mins down.

walking
14 days ago

We went to Sunset Cliffs to take a walk, get out in natural and enjoy the sunset. I knew I wasn't there for a challenging hike. This was a post Thanksgiving recovery hike since I was dealing with many blisters from a previous hike...this was perfect! it provided incredible views and allowed us to climb and explore so we could be kids again for a little bit.

As of Thanksgiving 2018 this trail is still under construction but it did not hinder our experience in any way.

It’s nice to run down the trail and walk back up.

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