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Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This triple set of waterfalls in Boulder Creek, dubbed the “Three Sisters,” is an amazing San Diego County feature not many have seen. In full flood these cascades put on a show reminiscent of Yosemite’s show stoppers—except at a reduced scale. Since some of the upstream drainage of Boulder Creek comes from Cuyamaca Reservoir, regulation of water there can affect the flow over the falls. During late summer and early fall, there may be almost none."
--Jerry Schad, Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press).
This hike would be moderately strenuous if you could do an Iron Man. Other than that consider it strenuous for most people. Consider this you drop 500 feet in about 1000 feet, one section you scale a rope to get down and from there it doesn't get any easier getting up to the falls. There's poison oak everywhere, I don't typically get poison oak and I was pretty careful and I still got some on the back of my leg. It was about 80 degrees when I went and I would not suggest going when it's much hotter. Bring plenty of water. You wouldn't think you need much on a short hike like this but I went through 1.5L and I generally carry 2L just to be safe.
Note: The guide says this trail is suitable for backpacking but there are much better places to backpack. Again unless you are Iron Man then I wouldn't consider this a good backpacking trip.
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. 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.
Although this hike doesn't have a lot of length, it will still give you a good workout - and the waterfalls are awesome. It was 94 degrees at the start of the hike but the water at the end cooled us off perfectly.
I prefer hikes that are more out of the way and this one fit the bill, however it will take you some time to get to the trailhead - 13 miles on Boulder Creek Road. Other than that, this hike was excellent.
It's 90% downhill on the way ther
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