Hike to the Los Penasquitos Waterfall

Park Village Trailhead, San Diego, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

This awesome hike will take about. 1 hour+ with a super easy flat straight path. There's plenty of wildlife to see, it's dog and family friendly and leads to a calm waterfall.

The Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfall is a hidden gem of San Diego and a popular spot for locals within the area. The hike to the waterfall lies within a preserve of approximately 4,000 acres. There are many different trailheads that lead to the waterfall all offering a unique experience. I always start at the Park Village Park trailhead because there is always plenty of parking and it is a fairly short and easy hike from this point.

This is a very easy straight and flat trail. It is very well maintained making it safe for dogs and families. It is important to make note that there are ticks present in this area so upon finishing the trail always check your dogs and children for ticks. There is also poison oak and rattlesnakes among this trail to be aware of.

The waterfall is hard to miss as you will continuously see signs leading you to it. Once arrived at the waterfall the trail begins to get narrow and rocky. There are conveniently stairs that lead down to the top of the waterfall. This is where the water is calm. If you make your way down you will find the actual waterfall. The top of the waterfall is a nice place for you to wade in or just enjoy a nice snack. When you're finished enjoying this spot you can continue hiking further where you'll find yourself under the old freeway. If you decide to turn around and go back you can stop at Carols crossing. Carols crossing is a bridge running through a beautiful array of sycamore trees & the creek underneath. You'll be able to spot fishes and tiny frogs in this creek.

This trail is not limited to just hiking but is also a very popular mountain biking trail as well. There are trails specifically for biking and foot traffic so there is no need to worry about traffic congestions along the way. Definitely a great spot to check out and can occasionally spot wildlife such as deer, bobcat, coyote, rattlesnakes, and a variety of aquatic birds.

Pack List

  • Sunblock
  • Water
  • Snacks/Lunch
  • Bug Spray
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Reviews

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It is an easy hike/stroll in the dirt that leads to a nice little waterfall. There are multiple trails that lead to the main pathway. The trail nearest the tree line is nicer since bits of it are in the shade compared to being out in the sun. Overall it was pretty cool. I would do it again and there was water flowing even in the middle of summer.

8 months ago
8 months ago

This was a pleasant hike, mostly flat and very easy. I started at the trailhead at Camino del Sur and Park Village Rd. The hike from the parking area on the North Trail was flat and mostly straight along the creek for the first 2 miles. Once you approach the waterfalls, there is a slight elevation gain and a chance for some rock scrambling…but be careful because the rocks are rather smooth and slippery. Continuing on for another half mile or so, you will come to Carson's Crossing, at which point you can cross the creek and head back via the South Trail. You will experience more of an elevation gain along this side as you hike back up to the waterfall for a viewing from the other side. After that, take the singletrack trail along the creek and cross back over at Carson's Crossing and use the North Trail to get back to the trailhead. This hike got me about 10,000 steps, just over 5 miles, and took just over an hour and a half. It's a good hike to do on your own for some solo time, or to chat with a friend.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Did this hike on a week day and there was a handful of people there. Beautiful hike that makes you forget you're in San Diego! There is a main trail and then small trails that wonder through the trees but eventually meet up with the main trail again. Much better experience walking through the trees. Take lots of water and sunscreen. Hike takes a while because there is a lot to see along the way. Well worth it! Waterfall was beautiful and fresh.

10 months ago
10 months ago

This is a super mellow gem in North County. Bring some water and hopefully the falls are falling, because this is a great hike for people of all ages and skill levels.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Hike mostly in the sun if you park by the trail head next to the park, bring sunscreen. Many bikers and the falls are small but its a great local hike if you need some exercise for the afternoon.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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