San Diego certainly has its share of culture, coasts, and city life! But it also has an abundance of beautiful nature, landscapes and waterfalls. Three Sisters Falls Hike in the Cleveland National Forest is icing on the cake when it comes to fun and unique hiking adventure. Here is a recap of our Spring 2019 excursion into Pine Valley, California to explore this amazing pathway to gorgeous waterfalls.

Three Sisters Falls Trailhead
Three Sisters Falls Trailhead

Getting There

There are a few different ways to get to Three Sisters Falls Hike Trailhead; I will share the route we used. Coming from San Diego area at 78 E reaching Ramona area:

Passing through Ramona, California:
Left on Olive Street
Right on 7th Street
Left on Main
Continue on 78 East  (20.2 miles)
Right on Pine Hills Road
Right on Eagle Park Road
Left on Boulder Creek Road
Turn Right to stay on Boulder Creek Road
Turn Right to stay on Boulder Creek Road  (Dirt gravel roads)

The Trail

This hiking trail is an interesting path that leads up and down eventually taking you to the triad of cascading waterfalls. It is considered a seasonal hiking trail because parts of the year there is very little water flowing in the falls. However, this year in 2019 there has been lots of rainfall so these falls are full!

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Three Sisters Falls

Although this trail has had its share of injuries, emergencies, and even fatalities; it has its challenges, diversity, and tranquility. Which makes it an incredibly fun trail to hike. This trail has been modified recently and a new path is now open. The old trail lead to a steep decline path where ropes were needed to assist the hiker on the route heading down into the gorge area. Also avoiding tons of poison oak.

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Three Sisters Falls Hike

As you are getting close to the waterfalls, you will scramble over some boulders and trek on a rocky trail section and end up coming out near the middle falls. You can carefully walk down to the lower falls for a few photos, and then climb up to the upper falls area.

What To Expect

As you arrive at the parking area for the Three Sisters Falls Trailhead, it is all dirt roads leading into the parking lot, which is also dirt. Drive carefully. There are a couple bathrooms, which are porta potties. Keep in mind since the trail takes you down, you will be climbing on your return.

Parking Lot Three Sisters Falls Trailhead

The trail is about 4.2 miles and is heavily trafficked both in and out. The return incline is about 1000 feet. The path can be rough in some areas; you will also scramble over a few boulders and pass by a flowing creek bed with plentiful small trees, shrubs, and singing birds.

Creek bed below and trees, shrubs, and singing birds

Tips and Safety

This trail can get heavy traffic and I recommend arriving to begin your hike before 11 a.m.

  • Bring plenty of drinking water. The summer can reach high temperatures.
  • Do not bring your pet.
  • Do not bring alcohol; this will dehydrate you.
  • Bring salty snacks.
  • Bring camera
  • Wear shoes with good grip
  • There are porta potties but no water.
  • Rated Moderate to Strenuous. (But with new trail path, could be rated easy).
Three Sisters Falls Hiking San Diego area

Finally, Enjoy Three Sisters Falls!

We hiked this trail in the month of May 2019, so the weather was cooler, and skies were mostly cloudy. But we got lucky and enjoyed the abundance of water flowing in the Three Sisters Falls! Be careful, and be prepared so that you can maximize your experience hiking this beautiful trail.

Maps and Information

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  1. I loved the beautiful photos in the 3 Sisters Falls story & was sorry I couldn’t find a way to include it in an email to some friends & relatives. I tried to notify them via posting on Facebook instead.

    1. Thank you so much Mary! I really appreciate it.

  2. My most recent adventure experience was sharing a drive to the top of Mt. Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii’s highest mountain at 10,023 feet, In mid-June, the snow had melted, but the strong windy climate was a big contrast to the areas at the foot of the mtn. Part-way up the mtn, at the town of Kula, a lavender farm & teahouse, also a botannical garden–both places still tropical-looking–should not be missed, especially if this is a once-in-a-lifetime visit.

    1. The Haleakala hike sounds amazing! We made it to the area of the Seven Sacred Pools and drove the Road to Hana.

  3. Um, fatalities? Ropes? Glad to hear this trail has been modified, since I’d really love to see those gorgeous falls! Wow! Thanks for sharing another fantastic hike.

    1. Yes, I think I like the new trail too. But would have liked to hang from the rope like Indiana Jones, ha ha,,.. well, at least its safer now. Its extremely hot to hike down there during the summer, and the Falls may not have water in them. Best time to go is Spring/Winter. Thanks so much for reading Cynthia!

  4. Very detailed and informative guide. The trail and landscape look amazing. Thanks for Sharing

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It is really beautiful on this trail,.. and it is so cool to see the waterfalls! Thanks for reading!

  5. Hey Shannon! Nice post! My parents live in the area, but I don’t think they know about this. I’ll be sure to pass along the info!

    1. Thank you so much Lannie! Do you visit the area to see your parents often? This is a nice trail, but summertime it can be a little brutal.. must make sure to bring enough fluids. Hope they check it out! Thanks again for reading!

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