Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail

MODERATE 1039 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 offers a number of activity options 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

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

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
8 days ago

Great trail for all levels. It’s fairly easy trail to the falls, after which you can decide to brave some rock climbing or just chill by one of the bottom pools. I suggest that if you’re already there, just keep climbing to the top. The right side definitely has more footing than the left, just be careful of some loose gravel. I did this trail at 10am in early February and it was perfect temperature. It did end up sprinkling at 1pm, just as I ended the hike so overall perfect weather for me. Bring water for the way back which is more uphill than down.

Awesome trail!!! Waterfall had a great flow and the dogs loved it. Would advise you to be careful when going to the top. Almost fell to my death. If you do go to top hike on the right side of falls and not the left.

hiking
18 days ago

good little hike

hiking
20 days ago

I came a couple weeks ago, and the trail felt a bit crowded. Decided to keep going forward instead of turning left at the three sisters sign. Came back today to see the falls, and it is phenomenal. Only 2 other cars when I pulled up, so only a couple people on the trail and had the waterfall to myself (on a Wednesday). Can't recommend this trail enough!

Notes for dogs and other things: this was a great trail for my pup. Older dogs, hoomans, or young kids might not do well with it. The trail is narrow throughout most of it, so it would have been difficult to pull of to the side with my dog to let other people/dogs pass. I think 'moderate' is a pretty accurate rating; all downhill on the way in and all uphill on the way out. Oh also, the road in is a bumpy one! Most cars should do fine, though (I drive a prius).

Warning: 8 mile dirt road to get to trailhead. Steep parts not suitable for unaccustomed children who aren’t used to hiking. Great payoff for the waterfall view. Bring lots of water, hats/sun protection.

hiking
no shade
23 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

Hands down one of the most peaceful and beautiful views in San Diego county. Almost makes me forget it’s so close to the city! For anyone who has hiked before this is a breeze, just go in the morning so you beat the heat or go in the winter (especially after a good rain so the falls are flowing) just bring water and wear good hiking shoes / boots because the incline up is great fun! Would recommend this to anyone, great hike for San Diego 10/10

hiking
28 days ago

Such a good hike! I recommend doing this hike in the fall spring or winter. Sometime after it rains so the falls are running! Bring a bottle of water per person for the hike back up!

hiking
29 days ago

Great hike! The falls were really flowing with the recent rainfall. The way down is a bit narrow next to the canyon, but overall manageable to navigate. The only real downside is the drive in particularly with people who are carsick. We had a great time. Perfect spot to go right after heavy rain. We also brought two dogs along on leashes with no issues. parking lot was closed due to government shutdown.

hiking
29 days ago

The Water Falls are flowing good today. It's not all that bad of a hike Going to the fall was mostly down hill. Going back up wasn't all that bad. The view of the mountains were very nice. The drive to the Trail head was interesting. Drive slow is all I'm going to say. lol

Great hike. Probably my favorite day hike in SD county. The water falls were eally flowing today. It's a great winter hike, very exposed and bring lots of water. I recommend good hiking shoes because it gets very slippery at the falls. We saw lots of people falling in trainers.

hiking
no shade
29 days ago

Great easy/moderate. With the new path the hike isn't as hard as it used to be but still remember that there is hardly any shade. Make sure to take lots of water and don't hike it in the middle of the day!
The parking lot is also closed due to the government shutdown.

hiking
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Parking lot was closed probably due to washout

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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 :).

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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

2 months 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
2 months 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!

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

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