Mission Trails Regional Park Combined Trails Loop

La Mesa, California 91942

Mission Trails Regional Park Combined Trails Loop

Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This nature lovers’ mecca in the middle of suburbia is a favorite of hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers.

From the visitor center parking lot, head east down the sidewalk back to the road, which is Father Junipero Serra Trail, the street you entered on. Go left at the gate, which is where the road divides. A yellow striped curb stretches the distance like a long, lazy snake, keeping cyclists and foot traffic safe on the left-hand side while allowing cars to travel the one-way road on the right."

More Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"A pleasant trek through chaparral and along a stream, punctuated by a final climb to a peak. Cowles Mountain is a favorite of locals seeking an aerobic workout with a view."

Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop Trip Reports

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1/16/2019
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6/10/2012
This was a great hike. The way down to the falls was pretty challenging but not so hard. Its the way back up that kills but it is worth it.
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4/1/2010
Did this hike in the spring and the waterfalls were kickin and the wildflowers were in full bloom. By far the best local hike so far.
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9/21/2009
My girlfriend and I did the hike to the three sisters today, and i must admit it wasn't as hard as i thought it would be after reading these reviews. We hit the trailhead at 9:45am and it was already 79 degrees or so. Don't get me wrong though, this is definitely a challenging hike, and it was even tougher in the heat. It was 92 degrees when we got back to the car. The water level was really low and unfortunately there were no waterfalls to be seen. The pools had a lot of algae and mosquitos, so swimming wasn't an option. It was still a great hike and i can't wait to go back in the fall and see the sisters in all their glory. They were really thirsty today and so were we hiking back up in the heat. We brought two camelbacks full of water, and good thing we did, because we used it all.
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5/1/2009
This is by far the most spectacular waterfall hike in the county. However, know what poison oak looks like because it is everywhere! Also, this trail is very steep and one section is a rope assisted climb down a 15' high rocky face. The trip out is much more challenging than you would assume for such a short hike.
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6/20/2008
This hike is NO JOKE! "Moderately-Strenuous" is the very best you could call it. My boyfriend and I are avid and experienced hikers, but this trail mastered both of us, myself from heat-stroke and he with a severe ligament damage to his ankle. The worst part is that we finally made it to the shady flat creek bed, but I was so sick, that we never made it to the falls for a swim. The temperature reached 105 that day and on a different day we may have had a better experience. As it was, we spent an unplanned overnight there on the canyon floor and hiked out early the next morning. By the time we made it to our car it was only 7:30am, but the temperature was already in the mid 90s. I wouldn't recommend going any later than the end of April and only if you are very very experienced.
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4/28/2008
Probably the best waterfall in San Diego County. Definitely a difficult hike, though. It's best done when it's 30-40 degrees in nearby Julian, that way it'll be comfortable on the trail, 90% of which is exposed. Otherwise hike near dawn/dusk to avoid heat exhaustion.
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4/28/2007
This is an amazing hike, but very dificult. It's best to start out in the morning and plan on spending the day down by the water as hiking out in the heat is very dangerous. The hike down to the falls is very steep and intimidating. But once you see the falls they are beautiful.

The three falls are stacked on top of each other with small pools at the bottom of each. It takes an adventerous person to reach the top fall as there is no real trail and it is very steep, but it is by far the most beautiful of the 3.
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4/3/2006
This large urban park has something for most riders: flat, wide trails through grasslands, water crossings, and hill climbing and descents on three separate peaks. Most of the trails are fire roads, with a smattering of single track. Some of the fire trails are stony and rutted, increasing the skill level needed to ride them. The terrain is pretty and the views from the peaks are worth the effort to reach them. There is a visitor center and ample parking, restrooms and water are available. Trail maps are free at the visitor's center. I am guessing that this trail gets hot during the summer, so an early start would be in order.
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Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop Photos

Trail Information

La Mesa
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
4.2
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy
Skill Level
3 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Mission Trails Regional Park
Local Contacts
Available in the visitor center.
Local Maps

Trail Log