Explore the most popular no dogs 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.

I was slightly worried after reading online reviews that it’s highly dangerous - but don’t let these perturb you. The hike is gentle down and back up, fine for me just 3 months after knee surgery - the greater concern is the temperature on the return because it’s hot (even at 71 degrees it felt warm!) so bring water, a hat and sunscreen and you’ll be fine.

The falls were trickling yesterday so next time I’ll come earlier in the year to see some more water. But otherwise a really pretty and satisfying hike, and the trail wasn’t busy at all on a Thursday afternoon.

Get your permit at recreation.gov in advance. Just screenshot it on your mobile, no need to print.

Probably my favorite hike in San Diego county so far. Took us about 1.5 hours round trip from the parking area. We jogged a good portion of it so probably a 2 hour hike for the average person. Some things to know:

-There is poison oak on the trail and the trail is super narrow in the area with the most poison oak so be careful.
-There are places to do some rock climbing and bouldering.
-There are spots to swim and cliff jump although, I would do that second one with caution.
-Mostly downhill on the way in and up hill on the way out.

Will definitely do again.

Pretty long trail with a decent amount of elevation gain. Didn’t make it to the top so plan on taking a few hours to go out and back. Don’t go on a hot day, there’s not a whole lot of shade. Still very pretty.

lots of fun, beautiful end. bring water not for the walk down but for the walk back. difficult when comes to climbing but well worth it. be careful if you bring dogs. again part of the stuff is rocky.

beautiful place and a great workout. you'll need lots of water.

Very challenging but well worth it! Trail to Gaskill Peak was over grown and could walk off trail easily. We missed the entrance and had to back track. Left a cairn to signal future hikers. A lot of scrambling and rock climbing. We hit up Lawson peak on the way back. Go early it gets warm. 2 liters water was good it was 76 degrees today. Cover up the brush is sharp. We left scraped up and bleeding. Still worth it! Bringing rope if you’re alone. We had to help pull each other up on some parts.

Entertaining trail! I don’t think it’s really hard, my wife enjoyed it as well and she’s newer to hiking. Good first “Hard” trail to complete. Beautiful views though Lots of mountain bikers on very narrow trails, who caught us of guard pretty often. Nothing really exciting at the turn around point, it’s really just an intersection of different hike. Overall, I enjoyed the hike!

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.

I went May 2018 and there was no water in the creek or very little water in the creek. The trail is overgrown if you could even call it a trail but if you’re willing to go down the Rocky Creek bed it is some of the most amazing views. It is worth the trip but don’t do it alone like I did.

Nice little trail to get away from it all for a few hours.. I plan on going back at night my next time around

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.

May 13th 2018 Mother's Day. The weather was perfect nice and cool. We left about 8:45 a.m. There seems to be some discrepancy about the length. Some of the other reviewers agree that it's longer than 3.5. It seems closer to 4.5 miles. The first two to three miles are very gentle and well-groomed. However there is lots of poison oak. The last mile gets very narrow very and Rocky with a steep drop off you get to use your hands. the best part was being able to descend down to the creek floor and hike around on the big smooth boulders. There are multiple places to descend. This area is before any of the falls. there are ways to travel up to the falls while being right down at the water's edge. Getting to the second Falls is easily done but we were not on a path we were climbing on rocks and boulders. Clearly many before us have done this. the only section that is very steep is the portion to get from the second falls to the third Falls. This did require crossing over the water and using some ropes that have been kindly placed by previous hikers thank you. coming back we stayed on the trail that is higher up the slope on the east side of the creek. This path is tremendously narrow and only can be used single file. There were many slippery points. You Are Climbing over rocks and you get to use your hands. overall it was a nice hike. I should mention the eight miles on Boulder Creek Road that is dirt in either direction. That was an adventure in itself.

Tough hike in and out. But worth it just for the waterfalls and red salamanders. Bring lots of water the for the trip uphill back out. Choose a cool & cloudy day. Beautiful views of the SD mountains.

Best hike ever

Great hike. Start out walking to the far side of the parking lot and the trail begins there. You’ll turn left when you hit a lone post and you’ll be able to see the falls in the distance (seems closer than it actually is!) As you hike along, you’ll notice a drop off about a mile or so toward the falls. You can either go down this way or continue around on the trail that is cut into the side of the mountain. I went down on the way there and it was a lot of fun. A little hairy getting down to the bottom of the valley and a couple of butt slides to get down safely. Once you’re down at the bottom, you can hop along the boulders that the creek from the waterfall runs under (probably my favorite part.) A couple easy rope climbs (the slope is just a little steep and the ropes assist you in keeping your footing,) and you’re at the waterfall! If you don’t jump in your a sissy. I walked along the easier trail that I mentioned earlier that cut into the mountain side on the way out and it was very gradual and much easier to traverse than the original way I went down.

All in all, great hike. Would recommend to anyone staying in the area for a few days.

I almost died on this hike lol. Got there about 8:30 am, got to the falls about 2 hours later (got confused because there is an arrow on a rock pointing a different direction so we thought we took a wrong turn but it was right). Spent time at each fall, climbing the first rope was a little challenging but the second rope was easy. It was very sunny so it got hot, not a lot of shade. Leaving the falls is where we got lost because when you climb over the boulders to get back to the path, it’s not really clear which way to return so we ended up down in unmarked forest while we could see the trail way above our heads. Had to climb through bushes and trees to find our way back. Ran out of water and the heat made us pan a little. Pay attention to the path you take when you leave. But we survived! Definitely the most challenging hike I’ve been on.

hiking
20 days ago

Tad bit of water at the falls. Not enough to rinse my hands. Seen lots of lizards .heard a growl from a large critter.

hiking
21 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.

Trail can be difficult to follow towards the top.
Started at 5:30am, went climbing 2 pitches, was at the car at 11am.
The brush created a narrow path.
Saw 2 rattlesnakes near path, wouldn't recommend hiking this one until Fall.

My first time hiking this trail. Recommend checking the weather as this week is a great time to go. So glad the ropes were there as I made it to the second falls. I saw a few kids hiking ahead of their parents and I thought they were too young to be doing that. Some of the trail is right at the edge of the drop off so I had the kids climb the rocks and wait for their folks. Way too dangerous as the the kids were between the ages of 5-8yrs old. Not sure when they empty the trash cans but people were just dumping trash on the ground as the cans were overflowing. Take your trash with you.

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!

The trail was easy. I wished I could have done the old trail for a better challenging workout. We started about 8:30 am. Weather was nice and cool. When we hiked back our if was a bit warmer. Heard some rattle snakes so be careful! Overall, great hike for anyone and kids no younger than 9-10 years of age.

I've heard various levels of difficulty about this trail, since apparently there used to be an alternative route to the falls. going down, I followed the blue ribbons placed along the trail to help you stay on it. a few points where it became rocks/ climbing, I had to look and for the trail, but for the most part it was pretty easy to follow. a lot of the trail is right on the edge of a drop-off, so I wouldn't recommend bringing children. I was the only person when I got to the falls. slipped off my Dusty shoes and socks and enjoyed the water, and got to lay down on the rocks by the water, just enjoying the sound of the falls. on the way back up- which is steep in some parts, I passed 3 people. I brought 3L of water, drank 2.

on the way down I had complete shade, trek back was maybe 25% shaded. beautiful change in scenery throughout the hike. A few areas I had to slow down and focus on my steps.

Great hike! The falls were beautiful! I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new trail. My 11 year old son came along and made it. Coming out was a little difficult and made many stops. It was also pretty warm, about 80 degrees and only had an occasional breeze in the canyon.

Heard some rattle snakes right off the trail in the rocks so be on the look out this time of year.

Over all it was a great hike, taking us about an hour to get to the falls and about 1 1/2 - 2 hours coming out.

Pack water and a snack and start early and your sure to have some fun!

Not a ton of elevation to fight. Light amount of scrambling. Lots of newts! Too much poison oak

hiking
1 month ago

Very magical trail. Mother nature loves showing off in here! Take pants, long sleeve and grip gloves. Went in April and there were loads of poison oak, poison Ivy & thorny bushes.

hiking
1 month 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.

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