Sweetwater River Loop Trail

MODERATE 24 reviews
#53 of 105 trails in

Sweetwater River Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Descanso, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

7.6 miles
1085 feet



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

2 months ago

Not as colorful as I️ like to see, but a good day hike. Leaves of three...let them be...when you get don to the lower elevations it was a bit wet and very green!

7 months ago

So the hike it's self is firm two stars - either overgrown and muddy or a fine powder sand full of fire ants and all on the same day. Bring good company or you'll hate your life. The river at the end makes it all worth it though - cool your feet and pick all burrs from all over your body! Enjoy!

8 months ago

If you want to enjoy swimming at water hole, this place is good. We were planning to go for loop but water was blocking the trail, so we couldn't go. Also, many horse trekkings were ongoing and the road was soft and sandy. Not so good for hikers.

9 months ago

great place. very green in late March not too many Ani.als although we did see a fox, turkey garter snake and mule deer a good day hiking with my brother Jeff

9 months ago

This is a very pretty moderate trail that you can get some miles in fairly easily. There are a few sustained hills but nothing gigantic. We were unprepared for the level of water right now and thus made in out and back of about 6 miles. The water level at the northern crossing was about waist deep and the southern crossing a bit lower.

Gorgeous views of boulders, the creek, waterfalls, prairies, etc.

Parking is $10 per vehicle, cash or check.

10 months ago

Good hike. Racked up 10.33 RT miles and 1,446 ft. elevation gain that included lower Green Valley Falls (added 1.8 RT miles). Crossed the ice river twice; the first about knee deep and the 2nd about waist/stomach deep. The 2nd crossing was a debate, we weren't sure how deep the crossing was, but we did it after throwing our hiking shoes over to the other side. A few parts of the trail we had to hike the muddy terrain, next to the flow of the river. Awesome view of Cuyamaca Peak.

10 months ago

While the normally brown and dry San Diego mountains were very green with all of the precipitation the area has seen, making it very beautiful; the river was higher than we wanted to ford, so we had to turn back just a bit under half way. We'll try again in warmer climes and ready to cross a high stream.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

What an adventure! We went after a lot of rain so crossing the river wasn't easy but it wasn't dangerous. The landscape was ever changing from rocks to meadows to forest. The fee to park is now $10. Would definitely do this hike again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Love this trail. The Saddleback portion is my favorite, especially in the spring.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hiked the Dead Horse trail on a cooler day and there is plenty of shade in the early morning. This ended up being just under 8 miles. Once the sun gets higher there is limited shade so I would recommend hiking on cooler days. The trail is narrow but easy to follow with great signage. There is a lot of foxtails encroaching on the path and I spent a bit of time getting those out of my socks. There is an $8 fee for parking if you don't have the Adventure Pass or Federal equivalent. Also there was a sign forbidding dogs on the trail at the trail head.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I used Francisco Leal trail. It was easy to follow and it also took me to Green Valley Falls even though there was no water but it was nice to see. I did a total of 10.4 miles. Be prepared to bring snacks and water because it took me 3:40. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Great trail with a variety of terrain.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nice easy trail. Well maintained and easy to follow. Some steep inclines and declines so not really stroller acceptable. Limited shade in some portions so go early and bring water.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Beautiful, easy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beginning of trail near bridge needs a little clearing it's getting quite over grown and I have seen rattlesnakes there. I prefer to start it via the maintenance road to the right then catch up with it at the wooden bridge which is a nice option if you want to skip the over grown weeds. Trail gets pretty once you get to the water a few miles in.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nice Hike! The first mile is pretty uneventful, but as you continue you see no houses and hear nothing, but silence. This is very peaceful place to go to if you need to simply unplug and get away from all of the distractions of life. I highly recommend this trail during the spring!

horseback riding
19 days ago

6 months ago

9 months ago

9 months ago

Load More