About two weeks ago Erika, Keri, and myself set out on an adventure to Three Sisters Falls. This particular hike was said to be a challenging one, but well worth it. Three sisters was definitely one of our most challenging hikes yet. The hike itself is only 3.9 miles (1223 feet of elevation change), but is very exposed to the sun and in some parts gets very steep. I recommend this hike only to experienced hikers/ fit people (it is exhausting). During summer months it can get extremely hot so this trail is best suited between fall and spring. Also bring lots and lots of water (we did not bring enough and boy did we felt it). Bringing a snack or lunch out would be ideal too (the waterfalls offers a great place for a picnic).
Before we left Pacific Beach we decided to stop and get some floaties for the waterfalls. We went to Vons (a local grocery store) and picked up three floaties (A turtle, killer whale, and a multicolored lizard). Keri and I purchased ours deflated, Erika’s floaty was already blown up (we had to deflate it a little to fit it in the trunk, but it made it). Floaties in hand and not enough water we started the drive to the trailhead.
To get there we just typed “Three sisters Falls Trailhead” into Google Maps. This brings up the address Boulder creek Rd. California 92070. The drive starts off on the 8 (interstate 8) in which you stay on for about 40 miles, then take exit 40. This part turns from highway to a winding, narrow, road (with breathtaking views).
This trailhead does not offer a lot of parking, but there is some. When we arrived there was only about 4 other cars there so we had no issue. We loaded up with our floaties, Lara bars, sunscreen, and water and started trekking.
The trail starts pretty open and flat (this lead us to a false sense of optimism). After walking a little bit the trail turns to the left and starts to descend. At this point in the trail it is almost all downhill until we reached the waterfalls. One of the cool things about this trail is that you can see the waterfalls from a distance for most of the hike.
I mentioned that the trail was mostly descending, there is a part that takes descending to a whole new level. It turns into an almost 75 degree angle. A very nice and thoughtful person placed ropes along this part so you can repel down (this was one of my favorite spots).
There was a portion of this steep area that there were no ropes and the three of us thought that maybe running would be an easier way to get down without slipping, this did not end well. Keri was the brave one that decided to try it out. She made it most of the way down, but then slipped pretty hard the last little turn. She fell really hard right on some rocks and ripped her shorts. It was hilarious and sad at the same time.
Once we made it to the bottom (with some injuries) we found the bottom of the waterfalls. From this part on you can hear the sound of rushing water (which is amazing). Since we were at the bottom of the waterfall stream we had to climb up the waterfalls (there are three waterfalls in succession, which I’m pretty sure where they came up with the Three Sisters name).
We climbed the falls with smiles on our faces. Along the falls we ran into a couple (well they were on the opposite side of the falls as us) that suggested we climb on the other side that we were currently on because it was a little easier. We decided to continue on the side we were on, we were up for the challenge. The side we were on definitely was a little tricky but we made it to the first big waterfall.
We stopped here for a second and took in the amazing views. There was another group of people who were enjoying a snack and the views as well. We had noticed on the way down that the third waterfall (top most fall) was a little difficult to get to, but looked stunning. Sitting by the waterfall we spotted a couple of ropes leading up to the top waterfall on the right side. We decided to try and climb these to get to the top. This was definitely worth it.
When we popped over the edge it opened up to the most beautiful spot. The fresh running water was crystal clear and the pool had a sandy bottom (the fall before had lots of reeds and we spotted a water snake).
We were so happy we decided to climb up this last fall, it was definitely worth it. After deciding this was the spot we started to blow up our floaties. Side note: Erika’s floatie was blown up which meant we carried it down all those ropes and what not. It was tricky but a lot of fun (we traded who carried it most of the way).
After we blew up the floaties we suited up and jumped in the water (well we didn’t exactly jump in, we basically waded in on our floaties). We were all a little scared to start, we thought it was super deep and that the bottom would be a little mucky, but once Keri fell off her floaty we soon realized that is was actually quite shallow and had a nice pebble bottom. We then played under the waterfall and in the pool for a while. This was pure heaven. After spending a while in the water we decided to lay and dry before hiking back down. While laying out we decided we needed a little something in our stomach. I had brought some Lara Bars and apple sauce, so we snacked on that. This helped, but realistically we should have had more to eat (next time). The views from up there were amazing and I didn’t want to leave, but we had to get back (the sun wasnt too far from setting). We reluctantly started our hike back down.
The hike down we decided to check out the other side that the couple had recommended (it was quite a bit easier). We made it back to the ropes part and we were directly exposed to the sunlight again (it was 90 degrees out that day). This part was much easier going up than down, but still tricky and slippery. We made it to the top (exhausted, fatigued, and hungry). Getting in the car was a blessing, we blasted the air conditioning, rolled down the windows, and took a few deep breaths.
This hike was one of my absolute favorites and I definitely will be back. Next time I will be a little more prepared and bring more water and food. For the next time I also want to have more time to play in the waterfall (we spent about an hour up there, I wish it could have been an all day thing). definitely recommend this hike and don’t bring a floaty.
Making a movie about our adventure soon! Lots of footage!