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Three Sisters Falls in San Diego

Enjoy the hike to one of the most beautiful falls in the area

Three Sisters Falls, located in about 30 minutes south of Julian, is one of the premier Southern California waterfalls. This is a remote backcountry destination in San Diego that has become increasingly famous due to social media publicity. With three cascading waterfalls and pools of cool water to swim in, Three Sisters makes a truly alluring destination.

When is the best time to visit Three Sisters Falls

The trail is at its best after a good season of rain. While the area is a splendid spot to explore, remember that it is very steep getting into and out of the canyon. You shouldn't visit if you aren't prepared for a more intense hike. Note that it can get sweltering, be prepared with more than enough water, especially in the summer. Spring and winter are considered to be the best seasons. Morning time will be less crowded and cooler.

Three Sisters Falls facts

This often crowded and challenging hike takes you through numerous ecosystems before leading to the three large waterfalls wedged between tall, rocky mountains—Three Sisters Falls. Until recently, the trail to the falls involved a very steep descent down a heavily eroded hillside, often demanding the use of ropes. However, the US Forest Service has cut a new section of trail. It takes a more comfortable and more environmentally friendly route to the waterfall. The new path is kid and dog friendly. While the area is a spectacular spot to explore, you shouldn’t visit if you aren’t prepared for a more intense hike.

What to do at Three Sisters Falls

Those who are interested in mountain climbing, extreme hiking, or rock traversing will still adore the Three Sisters Falls trail elements, particularly if traversing the rocky bottom or trekking to the third waterfall.

How to get to Three Sisters Falls

From Julian, head west on Julian Road / Highway 79. Then turn left on Pine Hills, right on Eagle Peak, and then left on Boulder Creek Road. This road can become a dirt road for the last 5 miles (8 km) of the drive. It can be easily passible by a two-wheel car but note that it's hardly possible after a good downpour. When you arrive at the trailhead, you will see a gate and cars pulled out along the road. Just show your Adventure Pass and start your hike.

Where to stay around Three Sisters Falls

There are a lot of campgrounds around the Falls in the area. You have a chance to enjoy a comfortable stay at Paso Picacho Campground, Green Valley Campground, or Oakzanita Springs RV Campground.

Practical info

When to visit the trail to Three Sisters Falls?

The best time to hike Three Sisters Falls is either in winter or spring, once the trail gets a good soaking from the rain. Visitors should also go there in the morning to beat the crowds and sweltering heat, bringing plenty of water to hydrate oneself. Show more

What are some noteworthy aspects of Three Sisters Falls?

Three Sisters Falls trail is difficult and heavily crowded, leading hikers through various settings before coming to three big cascades situated between high rocky peaks. In past years, the trail gained a rep for being highly technical and requiring ropes to navigate, but an improved segment is now in place that's accessible to kids and pups alike - courtesy of the US Forest Service. Show more

What activities to do at Three Sisters Falls?

Those who enjoy extreme hiking, rock traversing, and mountain climbing will find Three Sisters Falls trail to be a great match. The falls are lovely, and one can go for a swim in the cool waters that go with them. The third waterfall and the rocky terrain along the bottom make it ideal for adventurous day trips. Show more

How to reach Three Sisters Falls?

To get to Three Sisters Falls, from Julian, one should take Julian Road/Highway 79 westwards. Afterward, take a left turn on Pine Hills, turn right onto Eagle Peak, then left onto Boulder Creek Road. Boulder Creek road may convert into dirt at some point in the last five miles, but 2WD vehicles should be able to handle it. Upon arrival at the trailhead, hikers will see a gate and parked cars along the roadside, where they can display their Adventure Pass and start hiking. Show more

Where can one stay near Three Sisters Falls?

There are many choices for accommodation near Three Sisters Falls, including Oakzanita Springs RV Campground, Green Valley Campground, and Paso Picacho Campground. Many of these campsites have excellent facilities and are close to the falls, promising a memorable experience that gets you immersed in nature's beauty. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva