Hiking to the 3-Sisters Falls

San Diego Three Sisters Falls Trailhead

Added by Grant Nyquist

  • Lots of elevation gain and scrambles to make it challenging
  • An amazing waterfall and views once you get there
  • Really cool cliff-jumping as well
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Duration: 2-5hrs. depending on how long you stay

Although this hike is not very long (in terms of distance) it will be a workout nonetheless...as possibly one of the harder hikes in all of San Diego. Start out earlier in the day for a less strenuous trip and be prepared to drink a LOT of water. The path is fairly well marked and at certain points, you will need to use ropes to climb up or down some natural obstacles (the ropes are already there). You will also be scrambling up and down some rock faces, lose dirt and sand, and generally using your whole body to maneuver in and around the trail. So good hiking shoes and the right clothing are paramount.

Once there, and depending on the time of year, you will be able see all 3 Sisters flowing and, at your own risk, you can climb up to the top and jump into the pools below. Again, depending on the time of year, this hike can get crowded and sometimes overrun with inexperienced hikers, but if you chose your day and time wisely you will be pleasantly rewarded. If the water isn't flowing, the views and the challenge are still worth the experience and the muscle fatigue you will feel the next day.

Photos: Steve, Dave Milsom, Andrew Jensen

Pack List

  • Water (bring extra depending on the weather)
  • Good hiking shoes
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Swimsuit (if you plan on jumping in)
  • Snacks
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
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Activities:

Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Cliff Jumping
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

about 16 hours ago

Challenging, Rewarding Hike

This is a great challenge with very steep slopes, a bit of climbing, and a lot to explore. Please wear appropriate shoes! I saw too many people hurt or almost hurt themselves wearing shoes that are not made for this. Also leave your pets behind for this one. I heard one man say he hikes this place a few times a year and lately the hike seemed more difficult do to erosion. Would be interested to know if others agreed. Go challenge yourself and hike this!

about 16 hours ago

9 months ago

Great Hike! Very Challenging!

Awesome hike!!! If you like a challenge, I suggest you give this trail a try!!! PLEASE BRING A LOT OF WATER!!!! The waterfall is pretty amazing!! If you have gloves, bring those too. There's ropes to use in the very steep and loose dirt parts of the trail.

9 months ago

10 months ago

El Niño Is Your Friend

After some rains the falls have some heavy flow. Make sure to bring plenty of water for heavy flow into your mouth and keep some on ice in the car for when you get back. You'll thank yourself.

10 months ago

over 1 year ago

Avoid going mid-summer, unless you're a masochist

This is one of those hikes that people should consider carefully before jumping in (pun intended). The hike in is not nearly as tough as the hike out. You will need every drip of water you take with you, and probably a bit more. Avoid going in the summer. Not only because we are in a drought and you're likely to run into dry falls, as I did, there is no shade on the hike out, which means you're resting in the beating sun. Not fun! This hike is not recommended for people who are out of shape.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Water

Just make sure to have plenty almost anytime of year, it gets hot

over 1 year ago

Added by Grant Nyquist

I'm basically awesome, more basic though

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