Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail

MODERATE 990 reviews
#2 of 131 trails in

Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Descanso, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,040 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

This is a great hike with a fun seasonal waterfall at the end where you can cool off. Start early or late in the day as it gets hot, being lots of water, and use caution as this trail has some loose rocks, involves some ropes, and has some steep sections. Not a great hike for kids of dogs due to these sections.

hiking
1 day ago

Very nice hike enjoyed the water pools didn’t get to see any waterfalls but well worth the hike.

hiking
2 days ago

The new bottom half trail is much easier to follow and it really helps preserve the habitat on the bottom part of the falls. The new trail takes you directly to the second of the 3 falls. There is plenty of water running from the top of the falls. The weather was perfect for this great hike.

hiking
3 days ago

I took the Eagle Peak Trail with my 11 yr old son this weekend. Great hike, views on the peak were more than worth the hike out. planning on falls trail after coming rains. Well worth the drive out.

hiking
5 days ago

Unas vistas hermosas el sendero súper bien. Agua corriendo de las cascadas ,solo si es recomendable llevar zapatos de montaña.
El camino para llegar mucha curva pero vale la pena súper recomendable el lugar.
Fuimos el 1/10/2019

hiking
6 days ago

Hike was great but the road getting there was nerve-wracking! One lane, blind turns on steep cliffs with no guard rails, gravel roads for the last couple miles, through water. Wasn't sure we were going the right way but google maps worked. Bring a four wheel if you have one and get ready for white knuckles on the Russian Roulette road but maybe I"m the only one who felt that way. So glad we made it back. Hike had amazing scenic views!

hiking
8 days ago

Went here Sunday 1/6/2019 for the first time. Pretty easy getting to the falls and a bit winded coming back due to incline. Not hard though. It was so gorgeous and zero people until coming back. Waterfalls were running, I'm curious to see them during Springtime. I was able to see where the other trail was and it definitely would have made for a more difficult trek, this 'new' path was nice. Great views and lovely weather once the sun came out.
One thing that I must add that was a bummer was the amount of trash at the trailhead. There's plenty of trashcans but the wind probably blows it out or animals rummaging. Cans could probably use lids.

9 days ago

I just did this hike. it's much easier on the new trail. I jogged part if the way down and it only took 28 mins. the way back up took me about 38 mins. the falls were flowing pretty good.
Note - you no longer have to buy the Cleveland forest adventure pass to go to this hike.

hiking
10 days ago

Winter/spring is definitely the time to check this one off your list. Beautiful hike, falls were running, not many people out, perfect weather. You are completely exposed during the whole hike, so make sure you are prepared.

We did see a rescue helicopter fly through the canyon, but it didn’t stop here :).

10 days ago

Nice hike. Go in the spring when the falls are running

15 days ago

very cool for a San diego waterfall when they are running good

hiking
21 days ago

This was an awesome experience. This was pretty damn tiring and the terrain was steep to say the least. Not a long hike, but certainly strenuous. Went right after it rained on President’s Day , 2017. The 13 miles of dirt road were muddy, and went through three waterways on the road. Ropes used on the teal to get you down there and back up. The falls were pumping big time. Tried to go up the left side, but was very wet and slippery. Suggest going up the right side. It’s really a picturesque view. Highly recommend, but start early in the day.

24 days ago

I wish I could take old climbing trail!! But new trail was good!

1 month ago

Great hike with beautiful views. Not hard for an active hiker. Have water you will needed especially going back out of the canyon. I went on 12/14/18 it was very nice but would like to make this hike in March or early April to catch the waterfalls in action.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike for the second time today and it is always fun and a really nice view. The first time we went, it was definitely a lot more difficult since the other trail down was much much steeper, but it is permanently closed now. I assume that was for safety reasons, but now the trail is a lot easier so I was a teensy bit bummed out about that. Not a huge deal though, still a wonderful and beautiful hike!

1 month ago

was beautiful can wait till spring hopefully when the water is flowing still so amazing!!

hiking
1 month ago

I went in the morning of Dec 1, 2018 after some good rain. Still no water, but a great time as always. My Garmin watch clocked at 5.09 miles round trip. A bit of bouldering at the falls to get to the top but nothing too hard. The new path around the part where you used to climb down and up the hill made this trail easier in a good way. As always make your own way and be safe.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s an amazing hike is not that hard but take a lot of water with you

1 month ago

Did this in September. It was hotter and harder than expected, but still very fun. It was also completely dry, though we knew that going in. Will go back in the spring when there’s water.

A few warnings: It gets HOT, there’s almost zero shade, and the uphill on the way back is often STEEP/sometimes narrow. I’d say this is definitely NOT a great trail for dogs (several dogs have died on trails recently), and would be hesitant to take kids younger than 12-13 yrs. like everyone is saying— bring lots of water!

hiking
2 months ago

I have been wanting to do this one for a while. There was no water when I went but it was still pretty cool. To get there it is all down hill, that means it is a pretty steep hike on the way back. Every one says it is crowded. I went late afternoon and there were only a handful of people out. Most of the time I was just completely by myself. Cool hike though!

3 months ago

Great trail. Cool off in the pool. Take lots of water!

hiking
3 months ago

Fun, but no water even after heavy rain fall.

hiking
3 months ago

Me and my son did this hike two weeks ago and we really like it the only thing that there was no water but it was breezy and nice, no rope though we were looking forward to use the rope but we did have fun!

hiking
4 months ago

It is about 30 minutes of rough dirt road to get to the trail point. The hike itself fun, there is a point where it gets very steep going down and there are ropes to hold onto but can be very slow as it is a very crowded hike. Luckily the falls had plenty of water flow so I was able to slide down. Heading back is tough and there is not much shade on this hike so be prepared to deal with the sun.

4 months ago

Went on this hike with my girlfriends. started a little after 6am and finished by 8:20am. This hike was not difficult at all for me but I can see how it could be for others. unfortunately there was no water at this time of the year so we decided to come back after it rains a few times. If hiking after 9am I definitely recommend bringing at least 4 bottles of water!

4 months ago

What’s missing in these photos is TONS OF PEOPLE! Usually there are 50 to 100 people hanging out, swimming and cliff jumping. Super fun place to hang out.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. The trail changed. Last visited three sisters a few years ago. There used to be a little bit of sliding on your back to get down to the falls and then some rope climbing involved to go back up. None of that is there now. Just a well defined trail with lots of markers to keep hikers on track. We have a parking lot now. Was a little disappointed that there wasn't any water...so no falls during this visit but that is to be expected during this time of the year (it's early September). But all in all it was still a good hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a great hike - waterfalls are non-existent at the end of a hot, dry summer, but it was a beautiful hike nonetheless. Little shade on the trail. We had 50 ounces of water per person and this was sufficient. You don't need a map to navigate this trail, but near the beginning of the hike you will come to a fork in the road and an unmarked post where you need to turn left. Near the end you will start to see pink ribbons guiding you over a rocky portion of the trail. Very helpful!

4 months ago

Beautiful and serene. Really enjoyed the hike but a few spots on the trail can be a bit steep. Overall beautiful and lovely.

hiking
6 months ago

I highly recommend this hike but read the cautions below.
My fiancé and I went in April and had an amazing time. We are a young and fairly active couple and this trail was not extremely difficult but I can see how it’s difficult for others. I recommend to head out first thing in the morning as the afternoon sun is VERY hot and with the dry heat, it becomes unbearable. There’s barely no shade on the trail so when that sun is blazing, you’re completely exposed to the sun and heat. Come prepared with plenty of water and high energy food. We brought eight bottles of water each and went through 6 easily. The trail is a 1 person wide dirt trail with no barriers and minimal markers. I’m scared of heights and the trail made me uncomfortable at times when it was steep and if I fell I felt like it would be to my death of tumbling down the rocky side with minimal to no shrubs to stop my fall. Other areas of the trail were fine. As we got closer to the waterfalls, there was more shade and trees but larger rocks we had to climb over. We got to a point that we weren’t sure if we were on the right track as there wasn’t a distinct trail to follow nor markers, but then we would randomly find a ribbon on a branch.
At the end of the trail are the waterfalls, they are awesome. I would recommend to bring a swimsuit and a towel, freezing water but a great way to cool off. To get to the top waterfall you have to climb the rocks which are smooth and steep and only have a rope to help you up. Bring good gripping shoes and gloves (if you’re hands are on the sensitive side).
CAUTION!!!
So this trail is completely do able, but be SAFE. On our way we ran into a group in which one of the guys broke his leg and since there’s no signal, they had to carry him back to the car (in which there is still no signal in the parking lot and only signal after an hour drive back towards the highway). If you have a radio, I would recommend to bring a radio with you so you can call for help incase. The man broke his leg going down the old trail in which the rope was removed to prevent people from going down, sever accidents will entail if you try this. Do not rush down the ropes at the waterfall, I saw someone loose balance and almost flew into the tree and stones and would’ve broken his back or head if it wasn’t for his friend saving him from falling to his death. Like I said, be safe, go prepared, don’t be stupid, and you’ll survive without any issues.

6 months ago

Hiking boots, 3 liters of water, hat, and snacks are a good idea. You should be prepared doing this hike. It's very hot, lack of shade, loose trail, unstable ground. This is not a place for kids or dogs. The ground is 110 degrees so this could kill your pup. We had to carry a dog off the mountain before. Lots of dogs die hiking in the heat.
This is one of my favorite hikes. The new trail is as a lot easier, but I prefer the original route with the ropes. There is a total of 5 ropes to help you up and down the steep ledges. I bring gloves because it is rough on my hands.

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