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.

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!!

So beautiful.!!! I was so apprehensive, because of its reputation of being treacherous and difficult, but it must have been made safe lately, because though it’s tiring on the way back, because on the way TO the falls it’s pretty much downhill, there was nothing dangerous about it. Honestly, the biggest pain to me was the driving there. I had my regular slightly low car, and some of the roads are dirt-ish. Then again, if I’d had my husband’s big truck, I would feel insecure that it was too big because some parts of the road are very slim. Back to the hike, the destination is so gorgeous. Though it’s too cold still to go swimming, we put our feet in and walked around. Two couples went, and I saw the guys going down the small waterfall into the lower pool.Thank goodness they hurt!

The trail has been fixed to make it easier to get to the falls since last summer. No more climbing down an embankment on a rope. The water is flowing good as of today, March 20 2018. It was 65 degrees and I still drank down two gatorades and a water bottle going back up the trail from the falls. Be sure to bring plenty of fluids, especially when warm out. You might want to bring mosquito repellant if you climb to the top fall and stick around a bit. Only small portions of the trail provide shade from the sun.

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.

There was a nice waterfall as of mar 18, 2018. Make sure to leave plenty time to return back.

Beautiful hike!

5 days 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.

nature trips
6 days ago

Great Hike. Not suitable to bring pets or your children coz theres a lot of boulder climbing, steep trails and also we got lost a little bit coz theres no signs anywhere. Advisable to start in the morning when theres plenty of sunlight. It was raining today and it made a great waterfall. Just be careful coming up there coz it gets foggy during this time. Advisable to bring walking sticks too. Going back is harder than we thought it would be. Overall, amazing experience.

Nice little trail, close to my house. The first trail on the left is Dead Horse Trail, it takes you to a creek crossing at about .1 miles. The logs look pretty sturdy, but will probably sink when you step on them if you hike this trail after winter rains like I did (wet left foot for the rest of the hike). Its a nice little climb up the trail from there to a pass between two small peaks. After that, there are some nice meadows that would make a great spot to stop for lunch and possibly see some wildlife. Due to time restraints, I took the Saddle Back trail, which takes you to a second creek crossing which was much wider, but easier to negotiate. This trail intersected the Merigan Fire Rd after about 1.6 miles, after that its easy money back to the trailhead. I tracked my hike to about 7.68 miles. BTW, check for ticks! I came back with two.

it was a great hike well worth the trip. some things to be careful of is the drive there turn in to a dirt road and it could flood out during the rainy time. also on the trail it self there are two ways you can go, you can go straight down a loose dirt clif or you can stay left and do a easier trail it's easy to miss.

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.

Definitely worth the drive! Very nice people on the way up and down! I honestly was sliding on my butt for a lot of the way down. Make sure to bring plenty of water! The photos on the website don't do service to what it feels like to be there. Definitely the hardest hike I've done but I did all of it! I went from 12:30-4:30 during March and it was perfect!

Can’t believe this is in San Diego. A must do!!!

Just beautiful! I would definitely call this a moderate hike. My six year old was able to complete it. Well worth the $10 permit.

This trail was classified as easy. It was all down hill to the lake (elevation change 135 ft) with 92 deep stairs. I did not consider it easy and would not go on this trail again. Also, the sign says no dogs, not even service dogs. No access for disabled.

Beautiful view

Water is flowing decently right now. The weather was great, 50 and overcast with a stiff breeze, a light mist, and heavy clouds around the top of surrounding mountains. I brought two medium size dogs and they loved it also. definable a must do in the area if it's rainy season.

Just got through today, raining during midday has made rocks very slippery but well worth the challenge, waterfall was a great place for some scenic photos.

Love this trail....is the water flowing? I want to hike here tomorrow. Haven't been s since may/July when there was actually water flowing ..anyone been there the past couple days???

The best after a rain!

Can people please indicate if the falls were flowing when they hike 3 Sisters? Thanks

Hiked it on Sunday and it was very hard and kind of scary especially at my age of 66 but I made it. The climb back was the toughest

26 days ago

Nice hike and a beautiful waterfall. Wouldn’t want to do this in the summer. All uphill coming back but worth it.

Plot twist! The workout is in the way back! Getting to the waterfall isn’t too bad, there is a steep area that used to have ropes. Someone who was familiar with the trail mentioned it since they are no longer there. About halfway down there is a second spot that gets tricky, that area thankfully still has two ropes. There is a small parking lot for cars and two porta potties. Would totally recommend this hike.

on Ortega Falls

rock climbing
1 month ago

Great for rock climbing.

Fun and beautiful. But seriously lacks respect! Trash and graffiti everywhere. I will be coordinating a meet up/ clean up on Sunday, February 18. Call or text for more info 619 669 5114. My name is David!

First timer! This was definitely one of the most enjoyable hikes I’ve been on in San Diego. The steep part with the sand was scary on the way down, I ended up just scooting on my butt. There is a bit of rock climbing you will do on the way back up and I recommend going on all fours on the sandy part towards the top. Don’t use the ropes that you see, you don’t need them. The waterfall and creek was beautiful and worth the trip! Wear long pants, hiking shoes and long sleeves so you don’t get scratched up. Also if you have gloves bring those too as you will be using you hands a lot. Bring lots of water and don’t bring your dog!! This is not a hike for dogs.

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