Three Sisters Falls hiking trail is located in Descanso, CA, snuggled in between Julian and Pine Valley. The hiking trail has been one that I have been longing to knock off my bucket list as it promises for a great challenge and a reward of beautiful waterfall and small pool at the end of the trail.
It is advised that you hike this trail early in the day as temperatures can raise to well over 100 degrees in the mid-day in the summer time. We departed Pacific Beach around 9am and arrived at the head trail around 10:30am. The weather was predicted to be a high of 70 degrees that day so we were OK leaving a bit later.
To get to the trail, we took the 8 East to the 79 North. The route is long and windy but, also extremely gorgeous and scenic. On our way up we saw a Blue Jay and small quail right by the edge of the road. Once we got way up in to the mountains we were the only car on the road for a very long time, which was a good thing because of how narrow the street was!
The last 7 miles of the road are not paved which is something worth mentioning. If you have a Jeep or a car that is better suited for off-roading, I highly recommend taking it on this trip. We were in a new luxury car that also happened to be washed the day before. Needless to say, our car was filthy by the time we reached the head of the trail after 30 minutes of driving painfully slow along the dirt road carved in to the side of the mountain.
There were about 10 other cars parked outside of the trail along the dirt road when we approached the trail head. After gathering our snacks, water, and slathering on some sunscreen, we were ready to take on this beast of a hike.
As we walked up to the start of the trail we read numerous nerve-racking signs that read along the lines of, " STOP! Rescue may not be possible!" and " More deaths occur hear than anywhere else in the county!" As if that wasn't enough to deter us from the hike, these signs were covered in a handful of bullet holes as someone seemed to think it would be fun to drive all the way out here and take target practice. The trail is blocked off by a large, ungrudging bronze fence and the parts that you can sneak through have barbwire all over. It is clear the county doesn't want people hiking this...
Being the rebels we are, we slipped through and were on our way, immediately being followed by the constant buzzing of what seemed like hundreds of flies. After, walking about a quarter mile, we came across a sign pointing us to, what I would consider the real trail start. Up until this point, we were walking a long a wide dirt road but, now were were entering in to a whole new terrain of brush and steep slope down hill!
The trail is somewhat overgrown in this first descent down hill but, it is still clear where you are supposed to go. The flies buzzing and the beetles hissing followed us all the way down to where we met our next adventure.
Ropes dangling off the mountain side were to be used to cascade down this giant sandy slide. This is also where we first saw people on the trail, laying down looking exhausted stuck half way up the hill. It was extremely nerve racking to entrust your life in to these ropes that have been tied around the base of plant but, we did because we had to.
Once we reached the bottom of the sand slide, we were suddenly in a different environment again. This one cooler in temperature, more shaded, and more green. We had reached the valley of the mountain and were climbing up and over large boulders hoping we were heading in the right direction. Occasionally, we would see a rock spray painted with a white arrow pointing us the right way.
We began to hear the sound of a babbling brook and eventually ran in to the creek.
However, we were still in the valley.
The sandy slide we had just came down meant only one thing. That we were going to have to climb to the top on the other side. I am not sure if the sand was harder to maneuver through or if the insane rock climbing we did was scarier. As we escalated to the waterfall we clung to the side of the mountain as we made extremely calculated moves to the next rock. As we got closer to the top, we came across some more people who seemed to be cheerful that they had made up the waterfall but were cursing the trek they had to back to the car.
I tried not to think about it yet.
Some more rope/rock climbing was in front of us. This time staked in to the rock, so it felt some what more secure than those that had been tied around trees or roots.
Finally, we reached our destination and came to the Three Sisters Falls. It was absolutely breath taking. Three falls were clearly visible. The biggest fall at the top had a fairly large pool of water beneath it that was cascading down the rock creating a natural born water slide down in to the next pool, and another smaller side down in to the creek.
The water was chilly. Probably around 68 degrees or so. We had the spot to ourselves for about ten minutes and then another group of people arrived and went in to the actual pool to cool off. We were not dying of heat so did not partake in jumping in. Plus, the hike back up the mountain would not be quite as "fun" soaking wet.
Overall, this hike was certainly and experience and one to remember! We are so glad we finally got to check it off our list and see what the hype was all about! It was a lot fun and a great challenge with three majorly different environments that you pass through. Not for the faint of heart!
Look at the amazing site you'll see at the end of this hike! Thanks @2211videoproductions
-AN ALREADY DIRTY CAR ;)