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Pauma Creek Trail is a 0.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pauma Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, fishing, and fly fishing and is accessible year-round.

Length 0.7 mi Elevation gain 820 ft Route type Out & Back
Fishing Hiking Nature trips Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Over grown Rocky Scramble Off trail No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

The trail is primarily used for access to Pauma Creek and is best used from October through May as high summer temperatures make passage difficult. This is a primitive use trail that starts near a turnout on Nate Harrison Grade Rd. The trail descends the steep canyon walls above Pauma Creek through heavy chaparral and poison oak. The trail is extremely faint and footing is loose at times.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (10)
Photos (10)
Recordings (3)
Completed (15)
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Chad Kelsey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 9, 2019
FishingMuddyOver grownRockyScrambleWashed out

Despite the reviews, please please please be careful out there. The "trail" is almost entirely overgrown and very difficult to follow. There are a lot of other paths that people have made trying to find the trail. Follow the ropes down and stay to the right until you see markers tied to the trees. If you go left and hit a dry waterfall, you have gone too far left and are off trail. I did not know this and tried peeking out on a ledge to see if I could find the trail but the ledge gave way after about 15 seconds of standing on it. I slid down about 20' and luckily got caught up on a plant. If I didn't, I would have fallen another 20' straight drop to a boulder garden and gotten seriously injured or died. Please use your highest of caution on this trail. I have about 10 years of backcountry experience and that just goes to show that even with experience, this trail can be dangerous. The river is beautiful though when you reach it...alive.

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Neil Carey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 15, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful destination and well worth the hike. Don’t be fooled by the rating this is an extremely steep trail and offers a challenge regardless of the distance. Didn’t see any fish unfortunately but that doesn’t mean they are not there.

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David Susan
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 10, 2018

Not much of a trail - overgrown and chossy. Poison oak growing every 3 feet or so. Road up is dirt and has a lot of potholes.

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Shawn Ryan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 7, 2018

Very very beautiful hiking. And hard.

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Ritchie Gouk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2017

Great hike, not easy but, beautiful.

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Dane Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2017
Hiking
First to Review

Been going here for years and recently visited in May 2017. Pauma Creek is a hidden gem in the North County, San Diego area and one of the most pristine and undisturbed mountain streams in Southern California. Don't be fooled by how short this trail is. It is ridiculously steep, exposed to the sun most of the way, covered in poison oak, has loose footing from a 2008 forest fire, and if that isn't enough then there are the ticks, biting flies, and occasional rattlesnake that will gladly attack you along the way. For those willing to brave the very unforgiving trail, there is a paradise waiting for you at the bottom. Pauma Creek flows year-round and plunges over 4,000ft down the canyon through a series of pools and waterfalls.

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Christopher Wagner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2019
Off Road Driving
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Michael Halterman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 16, 2019
Hiking
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Robert King
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 13, 2018
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Chris Murphy
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2018
Hiking
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