nature trips

The path was well travelled and easy to follow. I did hike past the side trail to the falls because I wasn't paying attention. The granite rock around the falls is beautiful. It is a nice place to rest or eat a snack around the creek and there are plenty of good views along the hike.

Really lovely hike, with lots of different options for various levels. We didn’t make it to the top, since our dog was getting nervous on the granite, but we will be back. We did find several small, dark ticks along the trail, so vigilant checking is advised.

8 days ago

We experienced Many Ticks, so protect yourself accordingly;
Otherwise, this is a peaceful area to explore!

We made it to the cables but had to turn back just past as our dog was unable to continue due to the incline of the scramble; she is an experienced trail dog so if you are headed to the summit - leave your pets behind.

There are many other areas to explore such as the meadow and the ruins around the loop trial if the summit proves too much; this area is great for dogs.

We will be back!

Did this today with my mom it was a nice hike found the falls no problem

This trail is part of the PCT trail so, about the 2 mile mark you need to turn left to go down to the creek. It can easily be missed. The creek was flowing nicely. Very cool area and nice hike to it. Recommend

Nice trail with great views! It was super super windy, and even though there was a wind advisory, we suspect it’s pretty windy anyway. The trail down to the creek is a bit overgrown with aggressive vegetation, so we regret not wearing pants. It’s also a challenge to find the trail back up once you’ve been puttering around on the SLIPPERY rocks by the water. Don’t wear a hat that you don’t want to blow away, bring a wind breaker, and a towel to dry off with. We brought our older dog and he did great. Will definitely come back to hike more of the PCT.

Drove out here 4 days after our first rainfall in January. There was some water in the falls which was perfect for rock scrambling around the falls. I would imagine in the late spring that you would not be able to climb around as much since the falls would be full. We started the hike on the PCT and climbed down some rocks to get to the falls. We continued to go down some boulders and went off trail for a more adventurous route. After bushwhacking our way back up to the ridge for about an hour, we finally made it back to the PCT. Thank God I had long pants on. When we got back on the official trail, we headed back to the small parking lot that we started. The total route we took was about 4 1/2 miles. I would like to go back again after we've had more rain and I get on the official trail the entire way. Beautiful hike!! We were the only ones there on a Sunday in January. Perfect hiking weather with a high of about 69 degrees.
Here's the link to Google Maps on where to park

1 month ago

I completed this hike after two days of heavy rain in the county, and the falls were beautiful! They were not tall, cascading waterfalls; but rather a series of small ones with multiple deep pools in a granite-filled section along Kitchen Creek. The hike itself wasn't my favorite because you can hear the traffic from the I-8 freeway for the majority of it. But once you descend down to the falls, it is quiet and peaceful, and you can sit and listen to the water. I recommend this hike on a warm, sunny day after the rain. Follow the well-maintained PCT until the junction - which I found using the GPS feature on AllTrails - and make a left to the falls. (The PCT continues on to the right.) It is an easy day hike for San Diegans.

Well marked and maintained.

Beautiful hike

2 months ago

There are some misconceptions about this hike. First, let’s start with how to get there. Definitely come in via North (marked as NO) Main Divide Trail (aka Forest Route 3S04, marked as El Cariso Rd) off the 74. Easy flat road. Then, after 10-15 min, you’ll reach a sign for the Blue Jay / Falcon Campground pointing left, or pointing right, to the now dirt NO Main Divide. Park here if your vehicle can’t take 1-2 ft deep pot holes (you need four wheel drive to proceed). If your vehicle can take it, you’ll save 3.4 miles RT off this 5.1-2 mile hike by proceeding 1.7 mile up the now dirt NO Main Divide road / now trail to blue rails which will identify the trail to Los Piños on your left.

*You need an adventure pass* available at the Ortega Candy Store or Country Kitchen. Very visible off the 74.

About the hike: stunning views of all major peaks in SoCal and even the young brother known as Mt Santiago. Piños = pine, yes - but very few trees. You need a hat and plenty of sunscreen, no coverage on this hike. Los Piños peak itself is pretty barren except for some rocks and manzanitas. Beautiful, great, and easy work-out though.

Great views of the lake! No steep ups or downs. There is a mountain lion warning at the beginning of the trail so be prepared. Took me 1.5 hrs to complete. Very peaceful and serene, nobody else was on the trail. Be sure to stop in at the ranger station and check out the little museum, awesome.

3 months ago

A great hike for couples. If after this hike you are still talking to each other you'll probably do OK as a married couple.

Unless you are are into whips and scratches, you'd best be leaving the shorts at home. This ain't no walk in the park... You will be scratched, bruised and likely lose a bit of blood before the rock summit.

This hike has a lot of challenges.

1. The route shown on AllTrails in red is a bit off, so it may seem as though you are on the wrong trail at first. Note the piles of rock you'll pass on the side of the road as you go. Others have learned this lesson...

2. Once you get past the dam west side of the lake, look south-west about 20 yards and you'll find some heavy metal cables (about 4" thick). That's where you'll begin your first bit of climbing up to the butte.

3. From there, go directly south, follow as many of the rock cairns as you can. Though you'll likely end up having to make your own trail through some of the brush before you reach your choice of high point vistas (there are a few to choose from—you'll see...).

[At about this point in the hike, I suspect you'll wish you hadn't worn those sexy walk in the park shorts]

4. You'll have a few high point choices to trek too. The high rocks on your left are the actual Butte, with some nice views of the lake. The high rocks on the right looked more appealing to us at the time, so we chose that view instead. We made it!

Total round trip time was a bit less than 5 hours.

Tally wearing pants:
- bruises between the two of us: 3
- Manzanita branch stab marks: 2
- and noticeable scratches: 8


just tried this one, i had a blast. I have a stock expedition and had no trouble. great views and a nice breeze. when you get to the end, you can turn around or attempt Espinoza trail. I'm not sure about Espinoza trail, looked a little hairy for my Ford.

Sadly there was no water, but it was a cool hike anyway! We parked in the camp grounds where it says “PCT Parking” and followed the road until you cross and continue on the trail. You follow the PCT trail but then veer to the left away from the main trail to a smaller trail that will lead you down to the falls. I had my dog with me and this part was a little difficult, but since he is on the smaller side we were able to carry him over some of the rocks.

Wonderful views at the top but very hard hike. Easy to loose the trail. every once in a while you will see were someone has marked the trail with piles of small rock. The incline up to the top is steep with rock climbing straight up.

not dog friendly on certain spots. vertical rock climbing. def not for the faint of heart but it has a lovely view!!

thru hiked the PCT in 2016 doing it again in 2018

5 months ago

Directions on All Trails are good, leads to a small parking area at trailhead. That being said, you MUST pay attention to red GPS trail in the APP to locate place where you leave the reservoir road trail and head up. The trail is extremely overgrown and very hard to track. We managed to do so ONLY by using the red lines on the map and the rock totems that people had left previously. Very challenging portion basically rock climbing up a cliff is included, so don't do this hike if you don't have solid upper body strength. Trail is VERY overgrown so also wear long pants, we got scratched to bits. Upside is a gorgeous trail, gorgeous views from the butte and all along trail of the lake. Was about 6 miles RT per our GPS tracking. Enjoy!

We did this trail to accompany our friend on the first day of her journey on the PCT. It was a great day hike that got pretty challenging at the end. There was little shade and no water, so be prepared for that. And lots of rattlesnakes.

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