Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail

#1 of 30 trails in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

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Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail is a 4 mile out and back trail located near Julian, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing & walking and is accessible from November until June.

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joshua stone (43)

8 Completed1 Reviews

My legs are sooo SORE!

Andrew Hunt (120)

5 Completed5 Reviews

For Southern California this is an adventurous hike. BRING ALOT of WATER. Both times I have explored this trail I have borrowed someone my water. Lots of fun if you go prepared.

Dan Mildbrand (188)

7 Completed5 Reviews

The trail is a fairly heavily used and has some significant terrain changes. There is one section which requires descending and ascending a 10' drop while utilizing a rope. If you decide to climb to the top of the waterfalls there are no real trails and requires some rock climbing and athletic hill climbing. The trail was very crowded on the weekend I hiked it. Several of the hikers were under-equipped for the trek. Many young people were wearing flip flops or various other forms of footwear inappropriate for hiking. There are some portions of the trail which require hand and foot scrambling over very loose sand and rock. Anything except a dedicated hiking shoe should not be worn. Also, The wife and I drank well over a gallon of water on this hike and we are experienced, in-shape hikers. We saw several hikers, which appeared to be novices, carrying little or no water.

James Cocco (617)

13 Completed5 Reviews

This is a great hike if you like to get your blood pumping and your quads barking. I would be careful taking anyone who is not in fairly good shape. I run 30 miles a week and I was sucking wind on the way up. We went in November and the falls were bone dry. The plunge pool had some gnarly water in it, but I'm sure this place is gloriously scenic when the falls are running. I can't wait to come back in the spring after a snowy winter. BRING WATER!!!! LOTS OF WATER!!!!

Henry Marin (150)

7 Completed5 Reviews

Great place. Not well with small children. I took my 10 year old and she did well. But make sure they have hiking shoes instead of tennis shoes

Victor Mendez (106)

5 Completed4 Reviews

Kt his was an awesome hike! But not for people who are not in shape. One of our guys who had no conditioning struggled a lot. This hike has Great views and awesome ways to get to the destination. Brings at least 1 gallon per person. A girl from another group had to be helicoptered back to the top because she didn't have enough water and was really out of shape.

jason berry (42)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Lots of fun but bring a lot of water

Greg Schaefer (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I echo that. Sedan was fine. Two rattlers on trail, falls almost dry. Beautiful country. Go early and bring lots of water!

G Art (56)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Just did this hike and it was 93 degrees, good to heed all the cautions about taking plenty of water. This unofficial trail is a great way to challenge your physical strength. The water is barely a trickle into the top pool right now and each pool is filled with algae. As a caution, we did almost step on a rattlesnake sunning itself on a rock. Since it seems there is some concern over the road, I will say that I was fine driving my sedan up there. Will do it again earlier in the year when the water is flowing, and once I forget how difficult it was :)

Lisa Holme (318)

7 Completed4 Reviews

-Getting there: yes it is a drive, i live in Alpine, Ca. therefore only about a 40 min drive to get to cuyamaca lake, THEN AN ADDITIONAL 30 mins or so down a road that leads to a dirt road. then you park. i'm not sure why people say they can't make it in their cars? i drive a 2008 328i bmw and i made it just fine. buck up.
-The hike itself: difficult but worth it. fun and you won't get bored. these hikes are best. we went and the waterfall was more like a stream do to it being summertime. but still an amazing view and great accomplishment of getting to the top. i will deff be going back flowing falls or not.
-The Difficulty: Depends on your fitness/ age / etc. everyone is different. it is hard but doable. if you have the mindset, enough water, and right gear your good. People have been nice enough to leave ropes and markers (spray paint arrows, orange tape) and many trails which you can follow. i would say probably NOT good for kids, or dogs… do to having to climb down a boulder with a knotted rope, sliding down slopes on your butt, and then clearly having to climb back up on the return.
-Gear: i always bring more than enough water, i packed 3 canteens with ice, caparison and a arizona ice tea for some sugar and drank all. i also always pack enough snacks and a diversity. GLOVES helped a lot with holding onto the ropes, when sliding, or moving some branched from your face. i wore pants with nike pro shorts underneath for when it got hot. in the am from it being chilly pants were great and helped with the sliding down protecting my legs, etc. then when it got hotter and from getting hot from the hike i switched to the shorts which was fine on the way up.
-Recommended Time: i normally start all my hikes early am. to beat the heat. so we woke up at 5am and were parked, stretched and ready to go at 7am-ish. it took us about an hour & a half each way. the hike down is pretty easy 2/3rds of the way down and was shaded at the time, then you get to the sliding down part with soft sand thats hard to stay put in from the decline, then you hit the climbing down a boulder and start your way rock climbing to the falls. (which is going up) we started returning to the car around 9;30ish and took many water stops to catch our breath, by then it was probably 68-75 degrees but felt like 80. just be safe with time and the heat, and remember this hike is all up hill on the return thats what kicks your butt.