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Saddleback and Sweetwater Trail Loop is a 5.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Descanso, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Length 5.2 mi Elevation gain 695 ft Route type Loop
Camping Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Rocky No dogs
Waypoints (0)
Facilities

Green Valley Falls day use fee is $8.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (57)
Photos (207)
Recordings (55)
Completed (120)
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Martin Barnes
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Hiking

Nice trail, little overgrown in a couple of places. Nothing to spectacular about this one in my opinion. Not too many people.

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Courtney Conway
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HikingFee

Really fun, moderately challenging, multi-terrain trail! 1) wear PANTS!!! This trail is not maintained for plant growth and your legs will be much more comfortable not in shorts. 2) this trail had a lot of mud and water on it, so either wear waterproof boots or chacos. 3) the signs are pretty confusing honestly, navigating parts of this trail are challenging. When in doubt, take the path on the right!! We accidentally turned left a couple of times and ended up on a 5 mile there and back detour. Beautiful hiking, but more than we bargained for!! Lovely trail though, would recommend.

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Salvador Ponce
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Hiking

Very very hot water falls help a lot and a lot of people on the falls may be next time come on a midweek instead over all it was nice

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Donna Peterson
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Hiking

Nice hike. A good amount of shade- We added mileage by parking beyond the campground near East Mesa trail and crossed 79 and took the west Mesa trail to the GVF campground. Adds about a mile each way. Some bugs in certain spots but not too bad. There were a few groups of people at the falls but we only saw two other people on the entire trail.

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Ava Kahn
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HikingBugsFee

Not my favorite. Cash fee 10$ if you park in the campground. You have to go through the camp ground to get to the trailhead. You can park up the 79 for free. I went on a sunday yikes. It was busy as hell, the green valley falls are right at the beginning of this trail to the left and they were packed with people. Not one person wearing a mask. Covid 19 petri dish. The trail is gorgeous i mean its a beautiful area so close to san diego but man i don’t like seeing a ton of people when i hike. And no one cares thats there is a contagious virus spreading rapidly so imma pass on this one unless its off season and during a week day.. also, please bring water and at least where a hat. It is hot people. I was asked where the “exit” was on this hike 2 miles in. Insane.

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Elizabeth Panara
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Hiking

Beautiful. We made a small detour to see Green Valley Falls on the way back. The falls are only .04 miles off the trail. This trail was so fun. We only saw one other couple on the loop. It was dry season but there were parts where we crossed water, nothing too deep. Part of the loop is overgrown so pants would be good idea. The weather was a high of 70 I wouldn’t do this hike in a hotter temperature.

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Devin Foster
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

Beautiful and an adventure..... but it’s a horse trail so make sure you have hiking boots/shoes and possibly trekking poles. You cross the river twice but a waterfall give you a way across the one in saddleback and a beaver damn gives you a way across the sweet water trail part. Make sure you allow yourself time to enjoy the falls, they were busy on a Saturday but still worth it!!!

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Jeannie Rash
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HikingOver grownRocky

The trail signs are not 100% so it was a little challenging to figure out the loop

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Katy First
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Hiking

My fiancé and I are avid hikers and we got very lost doing this hike. Not sure where we went wrong but ended up in a field of great brome which are now permanently a part of my hiking boots. Also saw what we think were two bobcats. Probably a pretty easy, enjoyable hike without the 4 mile detour. Would recommend following a map for this one or checking your location throughout just in case.

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Zed Sevcik
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Hiking

Hiked this trail in March and it was already getting a bit warm as there isn’t much shade on the trail. The water was running strong and there were a couple of river crossings where the water was about knee high. There are a number of beautiful waterfalls along the way, and they were raging! Be sure to take a short detour to check out the Dead Horse Falls trail which features a secluded pond and waterfall. I then hiked in a clockwise direction following the Saddleback Trail all the way to Green Valley Falls and back. The only ‘downside’ was that part of this trail is a fire road so it gets a bit boring, but still a great workout without crazy elevation change. Parking in Descanso at the trail head is $10 which goes towards good use I’m sure. I loved this trail and hiking it during the cooler months is highly recommended.

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Jackie Fisk
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Hiking

this hike is actually 7 miles! .9 miles from the trail head to the beginning of the loop. Beautiful !

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Lila Lila Selby
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Hiking

easy to moderate. ..

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Jennifer E
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Hiking

Beautiful! We hiked 4/9/17. Parked at the Green Valley Falls Campground off the 79- $10 parking pass. Hiked Fire Falls to Sweetwater Trail to Saddleback to Californina Riding & Hiking back to Fire Falls. Crossed the river twice (you will get wet. Its deep in some parts. We put some fallen branches & rocks down, but still got wet) we saw a beautiful deer in the meadow. The saddleback trail is hard on the ankles. Wouldn't recommend if you have knee problems. My 5 year old completed this. Its very do-able and the reward was playing in the water at the end

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Thomas Ressa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 27, 2017
Hiking

This trail is a little misleading. The falls are literally .2 miles from the trailhead, but there are several trails that go down into the valley and this one does in fact end up looping back to the same point if you follow this app a bit. There is some decent elevation involved as well as crossing the sweet water river a few times if you decide to do the whole 5-6 mile loop. Bring plenty of water, make sure you have good trail shoes or boots and plenty of food before you make the trip!

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Veronica Osuna
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Nice easy hike.

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Whitney Brandenburg
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Hiking
First to Review

This trail is beautiful and offers great views of valleys, hills, and the Sweetwater River. The falls themselves are reason enough to visit, but the trail is well worth it. The loop is formed by taking four different trails. I was nervous I was going to get lost but I found a map of it on the San Diego Reader website. You start on the Falls Fire Road. There is a section where you can go down to the falls, but once you do you'll have to come back the way you came. If you do go down to the falls, you might not want to leave :) The Falls Fire road meets with the Sweetwater trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trail. You can go either way. If you go down the Sweetwater trail, you will turn right at the Saddleback trail, right at the California Riding and Hiking Trail, and then meet up at the Falls Fire road. The Sweetwater trail is very narrow and I wouldn't recommend it for mountain biking. When you turn onto the Saddleback trail, you might cross some water. When I was there, someone had made a makeshift bridge out of fallen branches and I managed to stay dry. UPDATE: Hours after we got home, my husband discovered he'd been bitten by a tick. This trail is overgrown with grasses, so be careful to check for ticks!

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Amy Hernandez Barnes
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Hiking
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Shannon von Guenthner
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Hiking
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Rosa Fernandez Suarez
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Horseback riding
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Leslie Ortiz
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Hiking
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Raul Laguna
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Hiking
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Daniel Holland
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Hiking
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Daniel Holland
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Hiking
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Doris Orellana
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Hiking
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Gary Johnson
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Hiking
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Marc Whitaker
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Hiking
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