One of the best things about California is that you can explore beautiful hikes year-round. While the east coast is getting a super cold winter, Cali locals are sitting pretty. If you’re in the mood for adventure, we’ve found a 150-foot-tall waterfall near San Diego. It’s honestly the perfect hidden gem. 

Three Sisters Waterfall Hike is a 4.5-mile hike with an elevation gain of 997 feet. You’ll find the falls near San Diego, in the city of Descanso. You can find full directions on how to reach the hike here.

The waterfall cascades in three tiers, varying in length and pours into a beautiful swimming hole. According to World of Waterfalls, the first plunge is about 20-30 feet, the middle fall is the most impressive at 50 feet, and the bottom fall cascades at about 30 feet into the pool.

The hiking trail is steep and rated moderate for the difficulty and has lots of loose rocks. So make sure to wear hiking shoes with good traction and to bring plenty of water.

We recommend starting the hike early in the day since it can get pretty hot outside most of the year in southern California. (moved this up here for better flow).

Since the trail is pet-friendly, you can even bring your dog as long as it is kept on a leash! Afterall, hikes are always better with a furry friend on the trail.

Some of the trails involve ropes and has some steep sections. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to bring your dog along. 

Since the trail has recently been rerouted and improved, most of the ropes are no longer needed. The road leading to the trailhead is pretty rocky, too, so make sure to bring an appropriate vehicle.

It’s about a 10-mile drive along an unpaved road to get to the trailhead. Since Three Sisters Falls is a seasonal hike, the best time to go is during the early spring or right after heavy rainfall.

This is when the waterfalls will be flowing the best and are stunning to see! When you reach the falls, you can even go swimming in the pools below. It’s a great place to cool off and take a dip since the water is very cold.

Three Sisters Waterfall Hike

Price: Free

Location: Three Sisters Falls Trail, Boulder Creek Rd, Santa Ysabel, California

Why You Should Go: This hike is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in southern California. You can also swim in them!


Editor’s Note: This trail has poison oak. Be careful of what plants you touch and wear long cotton clothing if you can.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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