Explore the most popular camping trails in Cleveland National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Fantastic hike this morning! Weather was perfect, clear and sunny and we went early to avoid the brutal east county heat. (even when it's not hot.....it's hot) Snakes are out so keep eyes open. The falls are beautiful, such a marvel of nature.

The falls area gets very crowded, even with limited permits. We were lucky to go early and be able to sit at the falls for a while before a majority of people came in.

Hike is downhill to the falls and all uphill coming back. Bring plenty of water.

Secure your permit before you go and read up on regulations. We added hikers to our permit because a party was over the limit and was about to be turned away. There is a limit to the number in your party.

Gorgeous hike all around and the scenery is amazing. Can't wait for next time!

Take a gallon of water!
Wear lug soles.

Great hike, not crowded, and beautiful hills all around. In mid-May the falls were down to a trickle and pools were green, so probably better in Feb/Mar. It gets hot and there is very little shade cover along the trail. Be sure to bring plenty of water especially if you’re a beginner hiker. The ranger told us that people frequently have to be rescued because they underestimate the hike and the direct sunlight. But if you’re in good shape and hike regularly you should be fine.

Best hike ever

Good fun, nice family hike. Nothing too crazy

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike if planned well. The elevation change is gradual, so you can easily do six miles in two hours. Make sure you buy a pass online or you won’t be able to reach the falls. This hike is almost always monitored by rangers. Go in the winter or spring after it rains, but not after a torrential downpour or you will have a tough time crossing the river. Watch for rattlesnakes. My dog and I almost stepped on one yesterday, and I’ve run across rattlesnakes two of three times I’ve done this hike. The ranger also reported mountain lions on the trail this week. Dogs are allowed as long as the weather is cool and they are on leash.

Great weather! Nice easy decent to the waterfall with a view that totally makes the climb back up worth it. Bring lots of water for the accent because while it’s pretty gradual it has no shade. The rangers recommended about a gallon per person.

Perfect weather to do this. Nice breeze back on the way up. Still a challenge though. Left at 8am at 55 degrees and it was in the mid 70s on the way back up. Enjoy!

hiking
27 days ago

Did the first section including the little loop, around 4 miles total. Beautiful - lots of nice views, interesting plants. Trail is well-worn and easy to follow - note the white double-sided arrows on the ground to keep following the trail when coming to an offshoot, most of which lead to a campground. TONS of lizards, lots of mountain bikers as well, but all friendly. Great time!

hiking
29 days ago

I really liked this hike, great scenery and views getting down to the waterfall and the waterfall/pond was beautiful.

I was the first one on the trail at 6 30 am and passed a lot of people on the return so I would advise going early if you want tranquility.

We started at 6am and got back as it started to warm up. It was the perfect time to go! It was so peaceful to hear the water running and so pretty.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Had a blast, generally the trails were easy however there are moderate to difficult trails off the main loop. keep in mind this trail is in Cleveland National Park several thousand feet above sea level. there's a $5 entry fee (honor system) to enter the park and general parking is not well marked. the trail head sits at the center of a camp ground so I sort of made my own parking spot.

Finally a hike that challenged me. The way to the falls is downhill, so coming back up was brutal. I was the first one on the trail today around 7 am, had my permit printed and the ranger checked for it. I think it’s great that they keep a log of those on the trail and their return. There is a restroom at the small parking lot, but you can park on the curb as well, no parking permit needed. No shade on the trail, so while it was cool in the morning heading down, it was hot and sunny on the way up. The fall itself was SO beautiful! It was so peaceful to be there alone but then everyone else showed up. Lots of wildflowers on the trail, beware of snakes.

Beautiful views, great water fall with fish in the pond. Strenuous hike back to the trailhead. Did it with my 3 small kids. Only my 7 cried. Tough but fun hike.

Ticks- ticks- ticks everywhere!! Overgrown- not much to see until you reach the summit and that’s all. A “been there, done that and never more” for me

The road was open on 4/7/18. Lovely hike down. Plenty of water in the creek. Great camping with no bug issues. The last steep descent to get to the first pool below the little dam seemed too scary at first, but after getting to the little beach by crossing above the dam and fighting through the brush, I found I could climb up the steep section, and so we went back that way. Then we spent a wonderful afternoon down among the cascades. We swam across the big pool next to the little beach down there (not the beach by the dam), and then waded to the drop off and looked down! Cool. I had climbed up the ridge to the right of the dropoff to see if there was a way down and around, but didn't see anything likely. Took us 4 hours to hike out after an active day. My girlfriend's first backpack trip. A success!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, great views

Beautiful waterfall and great hike!

Great hike today! Moderate hike and just under 5 miles round trip. Bring lots of water and hiking shoes. You need a $10 permit and you can buy it online they sell out, only 75 permits per day. Really wish hikers would not play their music loudly! Much more enjoyable to just hear nature! Keep your drones and music at home folks enjoy nature

3.18.18. Well groomed trail. Wonderful hike to a lovely waterfall. Permit required.

Not at all hard

This is another one that I was very apprehensive about , because we were told it was so so hard, but really it was not that difficult. As usual, bring lots of water. So beautiful, and the destination, being what I have heard called Devils Punch bowl, is a beautiful body of water with a waterfall. And all of the squirrels come up to you they are so cute. Apparently they’re used to being fed, which we did not, because I’m sure it’s bad for the squirrels. Wonderful!!

I have done the hike twice. The most recent time being yesterday (3/18/18) and the first time was in August a few years ago. We just had recent rain so this hike was beautiful (5 stars), but if you happen to come during a drier month when there hasn't been much recent precipitation like I did in August this hike is more of a 3 star. It was about 6 miles RT and the hike will take most people 2-3 hours plus the amount of time you care to spend at the falls. A drawback would be needing to go online and purchase a $10 permit. There's a ranger at the trailhead checking for permits and you sign in. The hike is pretty easy for the first 4 miles, but the last 2 miles is a bit steep as you walk up from the falls back to the parking area, but as other reviewers have mentioned it should be rated as Moderate for sure.

Beautiful hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! I can only assume it's classed as a hard hike because I've heard temperatures can get really high. We went on a drizzly overcast day and I would only rate as moderate at most. Bring swim stuff if you want to swim in the waterfall at the end! Don't do anything stupid, you'll have to get airlifted out. There's enough nature and scenery to keep you entertained the whole way through. don't forget to buy your permit! We had to sign in at the beginning of the trail.

mountain biking
2 months ago

Done in March with not many people, not too hard mostly flat but beautiful, nice easy ride on single track.

hiking
2 months ago

Better done on weekdays; On weekends you'll spend most of your time avoiding mountain bikers on the San Juan portion of the loop, and off-roaders on the Main Divide Road section. The Los Pinos Trail section is magnificent. Much appreciated solitude, and awesome views of Lake Elsinore. It is very strenuous, though. Steep ascents and descents with a lot of loose rock. Trekking poles were very helpful.

Definitely not as hard as they make it sound. Moderate at most. Hiked it today in the rain after recovering the last month from surgery and it was fine. A little slippery if you step directly on the rocks. Half of our group swam in the 46 degree water because it was just so beautiful. Recommend bringing change of clothes/towel/etc. there were unfortunately some humans defecating around the waterfall-so watch your step! One member was unlucky to find this out the hard way-gross!!!

Also tons of poison oak-so don’t go off if the trail or let your dog wander.

hiking
2 months ago

An excellent hike for any skill level. I loved the different foliage all around. There are also several geocaches in the area which is fun if you're into that sort of thing.

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