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Espinosa Trail is a 3.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Alpine, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 3.3 mi Elevation gain 498 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Running Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
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Contact
Tips
Getting There

This is a short hike down to a small swimming hole surrounded by rocks. There is some shade on the trail, but not much. The hike starts from a parking lot, down a dirt road and then you make a right onto the trail that takes you down about 400 ft to the water. Be sure to bring water for the hike out, as there is little shade and it's all up. As soon as you feel like you've had enough, you're already at the top and it's a flat walk back to the car.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Water water water - bring lots!

Directions from Alpine, CA: Travel east on Interstate 8 then head south on Japatul Valley Road. At the fork bear right onto Lyons Valley Road to reach Horsethief Trailhead / Secret Canyon Trail. Just beyond the trailhead is Japatul Fire Station where more info. can be found.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (328)
Photos (331)
Recordings (271)
Completed (561)
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Andriana Fragola
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Hiking

Fun and quick hike! The water has dried up but still gorgeous and low traffic!

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Carie Long
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Hiking

Nice trail. Quiet, easy to follow. Getting a bit overgrown.

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Ariana Lielasus
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HikingBugsOver grown

Had a great time, but if you’re afraid of bees and bugs proceed with caution! Plenty of “bee bushes” to go around. This time of year there wasn’t any water in the swimming hole but still a nice walk about. The entrance was obscured. Look for a trail sign when walking down the main path! A bit of an incline hiking back up to the car though. Would hike again, but earlier in the morning or cooler day. Best time: spring, fall, or after a good rain.

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joanna keen
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Hiking

Great trail but zero water in the swimming hole right now :(

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Austin Kinard
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Hiking

No water at all anywhere

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Thomas Bamburg
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HikingRocky

Good uphill workout on return, but a bit exposed and rocky.

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Jeremiah Shultz
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Hiking

Amazing!!! But hot

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Rebecca Dayton
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Hiking

The earlier, the better! Route was beautiful, but we had a hard time finding the end. My sister, who is 10 made it all the way up but w a few stops on the way, so so proud of her! Weather was as good as it’ll get, slight breeze and about 80 degrees by noon. Dogs are exhausted so make sure to bring plenty of water! Overall a great experience.

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Joe Pathuis
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Hiking

This place rules.

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Douglas Herman
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Hiking

The parking lot and trail were open this morning, but being a weekday, we only saw a handful of hikers after our 0830 start. First time on this trail for my hiking buddy and me. We've hiked pretty much all of the local mountains and this trail was not difficult. First timers need to know that it's an out and back trail that starts high and ends low (a little over 450 feet according to my GPS) which means a downhill walk going out and a steady climb coming back to the trail head. In places the grade is similar to that of the top end of the Cowles Mountain service road. A pleasant hike on a decent trail. Suggest wearing long pants; there's a fair amount of poison oak in spots and you'll want the protection.

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Mark Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2020
Hiking

I enjoyed this trail. The incline is steep, so good shoes help. In midday heat the trip out is steep. Bring plenty of water. I saw a small rattlesnake on the trail. So be alert, especially keep track of your dogs and kids

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Wendy Lutz
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BugsRocky

Hello, I was new to this trail. You must pay attention to the sign (~5 min walk to from main trail) that is on the right side of the main trail to get to the water. The trail is sandy and rocky in some areas. It has plenty of shady areas. I went with my husband and 2 kids ( 5 and 10 years olds), and it was easy for them going down. They enjoyed a splash in the water. Going back was a challenge because of the incline and terrain. Overall fun experience! We encountered: some trash, a red tick, poison oak, two water snakes, and small frogs. Remninder be prepared with snacks, plenty of fluids, and small first-aid kit.

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Marlene Ashley
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Hiking

Saw two snakes, but overall great trail with a swimming hole at the end.

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Madyson Grieve
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HikingBugsOver grownRocky
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Nancy Bentivegna
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 10, 2020
Hiking

We missed the entrance at the beggining but we saw a couple poops and mountain lion prints! we also heard a growl (very scary....) not sure if there has been sightseeings but be warned!

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Felix Miranda
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Running

Very fun! Bit of a crowd! Creek was refreshing , pretty easy hike. Incline on the way back. Would do it again !

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Bud Valley
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Hiking

Rare San Diego trail that actually offers shade, running water, and green! Beautiful trail, but an unfortunate amount of trash and abandoned tents at the swimming hole from trash people.

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Jocelin Lizarraga
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HikingMuddyOff trailRocky

A beautiful green trail! Not too hard and not too long. Went early in the morning and got caught in some showers but overall not too bad. Beautiful out and back trail , definitely recommend and will return (:

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Arely Reyes
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HikingNo shadeOver grownRocky

Great Hike! We started at 8am and was not crowded at all. Going to the falls is pretty easy but coming back it's a pretty good leg work out. Water was warm and some areas where deep. We saw squirrels, rabbits, lizards and a frog but no snakes or wild animals. Really worth it !!

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Edith Zamora
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Hiking

We went looking for the trail that takes you to the water but we didn’t find it. We will definitely come back. Nice views with wide trail that makes it easy for walking or running.

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Veronica Elizarraraz
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HikingBugs

Short trail but super nice views

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Gerald Henderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 2, 2020
HikingBugs

NOTE: the trailhead says “ESPINOSA Trail.” even the map used to on this app has it labeled as “Espinosa,” so it would help to update this site for searching purposes. 4 of us went, and only 1 of us had spotty phone services. Any trail with a swimming hole is gonna get bonus points from me. Did this trail, took a wrong turn, but found an alternate route. It’s really easy to miss if you’re distracted. About 1.5 miles to the bottom, all downhill. Not very steep and relatively well maintained. Be warned, the hike out is uphill, and slightly more challenging. This is a shorter, and easier hike than The Three Sisters. Lots of wildflowers, dragonflies, horseflies (biting types), ticks, and more trees than some of the other hikes in the area, but being in a valley, you won’t get the good long distance pano views. Did see a non-poisonous snake, but expected to see more. Overall, as long as there’s water I will do this hike more frequently.

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