Tag Archives: Things to do in San Diego County

Three Sisters Falls

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

NEAR JULIAN

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

4.5 miles, 985′ elevation gain, 2.5 duration, rated Moderate

The drive into the area is fantastic with all the rugged hills. The last bit of the drive is 5 miles back into the bush, down a bumpy, dusty road that is 4×4 recommended with some washboard and a couple rough areas, but most cars could probably make the journey. That being said, you would mostly likely not want to bring your luxury car there.  You will need an Adventurers Pass or other acceptable pass for the National Forest.

The trail is rock and dirt twisting through the landscape providing nice views of the terrain and far off glimpses of the waterfall.

Upon arrival to the Three Sisters Falls there are three tiers of the falls with little pools collecting at each. I climbed a rope up to the top tier. You could scramble up this area, but the rope makes it much faster and much more doable. Then I made my way across a little smooth rock section that is steeply sloped toward death to a spot that you need hand holds and there are few.  It’s really isn’t that bad, but you certainly want to take heed and this feat is definitely is not for everyone. 

Once on top there is a delightful pool, the best of the three.  I was fortunate in that some teens were most helpful, yelling down instructions where and how to come up. They had braved the chilly heart attack water and were attempting to warm back up stretched out on the sun heated rock. During the Spring time the temperature dips into the low 40’s at night. The teens informed me the deepest spot was about 20 feet. In the summer I believe people jump of a rock that was probably a little less than that height, but you would have to hit just the right spot.

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Three Sisters Falls
“Waterfalls are magical.
When you sit beside one,
you take its solace into yourself,
and it becomes you.
You are tranquil.
You are vapor in the wind.”
-Adventure Dragon.

Thanks for joining me on this fun hike in the San Diego County backcountry, as I was ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Waterfalls even when they are not flowing furiously like in Oregon, are always relaxing and regenerating- just what is needed to rekindle the spirit, and that my friends is what PBTA is all about. There is always much more to come so I invite you to stick with me for more adventure by a few easy tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu you above is set up by location and sometimes by activity, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my hat and shirt you can purchase them at SHOP APPAREL, my line of Adventure Wear is top quality and boldly carries the PBTA Logo and Mantra. I hope that you are enthused enough to start planning your own adventure in nature real soon.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursing Balance Through Adventure

The Slot

ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK

Activity: Day Hike

2.5 miles, 300′ elevation gain, 1 hour duration, rated: Moderate

Date: 3-8-22

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California’s largest State Park at almost 600,000 acres in the Eastern section of San Diego County. Anza-Borrego is a beautiful place filled with all sorts of formations of dirt, sand and rock.

One of the popular hikes in the park is known simply as “The Slot”. It is a tight, winding, short canyon hike. ‘The Slot’ is not far from Borrego Springs and is a couple miles of dirt off of the black top. Although it is 4×4 recommended, any car should make it to the trailhead. There is a $10 parking fee and when we were there last it was being regulated by the Park Service, and when the lot fills they turn people away.

My son Alec and I did the hike counter clockwise, but if we do it again I think that we will try it in the opposite direction, but either way is fine. It could be done as an out and back, but I recommend it as a loop. I always think that seeing something new is a bonus and in this case after you exit the tight canyon it opens up providing other desert views. The climb out on a dusty and steep Jeep Trail provids great views of the canyon and beyond. Super landscapes of open desert and far off mountains are yours to savor.

The hike down into the canyon is steep at first going, and there is a bit of a switch back to maneuver. The route winds through The Slot and there is a bit of a fat man’s squeeze as the walls close in. A tiny bit of scrambling must be traversed that is hardly worth mentioning, but it is all great fun.

A spire seems to have broken away from the wall falling forward forming an arch overhead. Someday it will come down, but for the time being it appears to be secure providing an interesting if not magical formation.

After we made our way through the canyon it opened up into a wash and we headed up the Jeep Trail to the left. We watched in awe some Off-Road Vehicles struggling on the steep incline not having any idea that in the not so distant future we would be joining some 4×4 friends and would take on the “Drop Off” at the Slot.

Thanks for squeezing through ‘The Slot’ with my son Alec and myself as we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in this unique and fascinating section of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There are more adventures in the Park ahead. To ensure that you don’t miss a single exciting outing please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu above you will discover that PBTA travels extensively throughout the West searching meaningful adventures. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. It is important to find time to venture into Nature because it is a great place to unload the stresses and troubles of everyday life and our work a day world. Now that you are inspired to get off the couch, put down the TV clicker, your phone and enjoy Nature you will need Adventure Wear. I invite you to checkout my line at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Borrego Palm Canyon

ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike

3 miles, 462’ elevation gain, 90 minute duration, rated Moderate

Date: 3-7-22

My son, Alec, and I started our Spring Break Adventure to Anza-Borrego California State Park by going to the Visitor Center. On the way to the Visitor Center we spied some of the cool looking metal sculptures that I had heard about. We did the tourist thing and snapped a couple pictures by the Wild Horses and by Big Bird. My understanding is these are the handy work of artist Ricardo Breceda and that there are some 130 of these works of art scattered throughout the desert. We got to checkout a few of them, but perhaps on another trip to Anza-Borrego we will try to search them out. Some are easily assessable to the road others are hidden away further out into the desert.

We made a quick stop to the Visitor Center and talked to the Ranger confirming some of the things we wanted to experience during our visit. The area of the Visitor Center and the nearby hike that we did had a $10 parking fee. One of the hikes that the Ranger suggested was Borrego Palm Canyon.

Borrego Palm Canyon is a short hike. The trail is well maintained and is one of the most popular in the park. We found it to be a really pretty spot with the desert hills and mountains surrounding us. Alec and I really enjoyed this gorgeous area. It really gave us a feel for Anza-Borrego and I would recommended it for the whole family. There were lots of different rocks to scamper on and a trickling stream.

Unfortunately we did not know much about the hike when we were doing it. We entered the trail, which turned out to be a loop, from the exit so we missed all the information that was posted. So we failed to include the oasis, which was a bummer, but as it turns out a fire in 2020 damaged the palm oasis spot so perhaps we didn’t miss anything. We heard that it might be closed for rehabilitation.

Really a beautiful hike that should not be missed. Bring water, a snack, sun tan lotion, and a hat- it’s hot, it’s the desert.

The Sculptures of Anza Borrego are the art work of Ricardo Breceda and there are about a 130 of them scattered throughout the desert. We got to see a few of them, but maybe a 4×4 scavenger hunt is in the future.
“Simplicity is the heart of everything. If you look to the desert, apparently the desert is very simple but it’s full of life, it’s full of hidden places and the beauty is that it looks simple but it’s complex in the way that it expresses the soul of the world or God.” – Paulo Coelho

Thanks for joining Alec and I as we began out vacation in Anza-Borrego State Park by ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in this desert canyon of wonder. There is alway more to come so stay with us by performing a few easy but important exercises: COMMENT, LIKE. FOLLOW and SHARE. We are wearing some PBTA Adventure Wear in the photos get yours at SHOP APPAREL. If you peruse the menu above you will see that the deserts of San Diego are but one type of adventures enjoyed by PBTA. The menu is categorized by location and sometimes by activity each of these locations throughout this great West of ours is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Volcan Mountain Trail

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS PRESERVE

Near Julian

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

6 miles, 5353’ elevation, 1300’ elevation gain, 3 hour duration, rated Moderate

Volcan Mountain is one of the Six Pack of Peaks for the San Diego area, which means for Peak Baggers this mountain is rather significant. I arrived at the location earlier than the 8AM lot opening, but I was informed by hikers that it is fine to park on the road and head on up ahead of the lot’s opening.

The top of the mountain provides wonderful views all the way to the Pacific and even of Catalina Island on a clear day. The other direction has views of Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea. This point was in the 1920’s an Air Beacon for the US Postal Service providing night guidance for pilots. Some of the equipment is still visible.

I took Volcan Mountain Trail up which is a broad road. It ventures through Oaks and Manzanitas making it a lovely trek. On the way back I took the Five Oaks Trails which is single track, narrow and winding, with some switch backs furnishing more of the nature feel that I prefer than a road. It more or less parallels the Volcan Mountain Trail, but it will add on about a mile to your adventure. I will always make it a loop if given the choice.

Besides the lovely trees and vegetation I mentioned, I saw some wildlife that was fun: Wild Turkeys, Bunnies, Vultures and other birds of prey, deer and a lizard. I did not see any of the posted wild life that isn’t fun: Mountain Lion or Rattlesnake.

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I should have more mountains and less stress.

Thanks for Peak Bagging Volcan Mountain with me as I was ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. I hope this episode encourages you to get out and say hello to nature soon, as such an outing can bring the rest of our lives back into the balance that is so important for our well being. Stay with me by doing a few easy tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you care to peruse the menu above you will discover that PBTA ventures all across the West. The menu is divided up mostly by location. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my shirt and beanie they are available for purchase at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Santa Margarita River Trail

Fallbrook California

Activity: Day Hike

Date: June 12, 2019

Distance: 5 miles, 500′ elevation change, 3 hour duration, rated Moderate

This was a delightful hike along the Santa Margarita River Trail. Much of the hike is shaded with wonderful trees along a scenic stream.

The trail will seem to end at a beautiful spot of water tumbling over boulders. The only way to continue on would be some serious bouldering both in and out of the water.

What you can do is backtrack until you see a trail heading up. This trail will seem to take you to a neighborhood on the top of the hill, however you will see a trail to your left that will take you back down toward the river below.

At the farthest portion of the trail you will be out in the open with views of the surrounding hillsides.

At the top I decided to make a loop of it to add some mileage and to see what I could see. The trails I was on at that point were access trails for the homes on the hilltop above to be able to reach the Santa Margarita River Trail. It added maybe a half mile or so to my journey before reconnecting with the Santa Margarita River Trail.

Fantastic hike and I would highly recommend it.

Trail Map of Santa Margarita River Trail

Much of the trail is shaded.

Map of the Fallbrook’s Santa Margarita Preserve

Wildflowers along the trail.

Path along the River.

Trail

Little marshy backwater

Just a delightful hike.

The shade is glorious on a warm summer day.

Wildlife along the way.

If you get hot there are plenty of places to relax and dip your feet in the cool water.

Love the rocks and the reeds.

Peekaboo view of the creek.

The video of the running water is even better.

The river provides the moisture for the flowers even as we move into the dry summer months.

I realize that I have an abundance of the shaded path shots but they it really was wonderful.

As I headed up away from the river I got above the tunnel of trees along the river and could see the surrounding hillsides.

This is near the top and the furthest portion of the marked trail as marked by the trail map

This is one of the few places with a sandy beach and I believe is sought after as I overheard some trail Moms.

On my way back there were some ladies fishing in the stream. I could see the tiny fish that they were attempting to attract. I pointed out to them this dark shape moving along the opposite bank. I said that’s the one you want. They got very excited and started trying to move up the bank.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure is a worthy undertaking. I hope this experience inspires you to seek such solace. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”

-Jawaharlal Nehru

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Santa Margarita Preserve Trail

Fallbrook, California

Activity: Day Hike

Date: June 12, 2019

Distance: 1.2 miles, 40 feet elevation change, less than one hour duration, rated Easy.

What stood out to me on this quick little jaunt was how lush this area was with foliage. I am sure the river keeps everything well irrigated.

This hike is green and lush, at least in early summer. The trail is good, a lot of it sand. It is short enough to be fun and interesting for kids. The end of the trail, at least as it is marked on this map, is the river and it is very nice. A great place to take off your shoes and enjoy the cool water.

It does appear that if you cross the stream there is a trail that continues on the other side beyond what is marked on the map. If you look ever so closely at the picture you will see a cowboy on horse back just entering the picture below. After speaking with him I turned back on his recommendation of an adventure more suited for what I was looking for. He let me know the trail we were on was better for horses and that more serious hikers choose the Santa Margarita River Trail, which is at another location nearby.

Santa Margarita Preserve Trail map

Welcome to the Preserve.

A very lush area along the Santa Margarita Preserve Trail. This looks like a portal into another dimension, and it is if you think about it as we get in touch with nature, and perhaps ourselves while we are at it.

Good information regarding what to do in case of a rattle snake encounter.

Blooms along the trail.

There is always a chance of a bad encounter with nature, but highly unlikely.

Cactus in the Santa Margarita Preserve

Santa Margarita River, I would call this a stream but no one asked me when they named it.

There were no logs, branches, or rocks to help me ford the stream, so off came the boots.

I had just cross the stream barefoot, as I didn’t want to get my hiking boots wet, when a cowboy on horseback moseyed across the stream. He was kind enough to inform me of a hike that I would enjoy even more, the Santa Margarita River Trail, and that it wasn’t far from this location.

Thanks for Pursuing Balance Through Adventure with me in San Diego County. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

– Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Double Peak Trail

Double Peak Trail via Discovery Lake

San Marcos, CA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: June 9, 2019

Distance: 4 miles (Added Cima Dr. Trail 1.5 miles making it closer to 6 miles), elevation change over 1000’, duration 2.5 hours, rated Moderate

This hike had good mileage and elevation change. Double Peak has great views of the entire area, 360-degree sights from the top such as San Maros Peak, Lake San Marcos, San Bernadino Mountains, Mount San Jacinto, Palomar Mountains, Mount Whitney, Volcan Mountains (Julian), and there was some haze from marine layer so it wasn’t clear, but Catalina Island, San Clemente Island, Coronado Islands, and Tijuana.

This loop hike did a good job of feeling the nature aspect, but I have to say there was more urban to this hike then I like.

The hike starts out with a nature feel, but it goes through a couple nice neighborhoods, and when you get to the top you see that you could have driven there as well, and there is urban sprawl in every direction. However, it is a great hike for that area and perhaps to train for other hikes.

Near the end I wanted to add more mileage so I opted to take Cima Drive Trail that had a nature feel, but basically skirted some nice neighborhoods.

Views of mountains, and hillsides covered with chaparral.

Map of hike, back near the end I added the Cima Drive Trail which was another Loop.

The trailhead started out next to Discovery Lake.

Double Peak Trail

The different type of trails were rather diverse. This picture shows wide open almost like a manicured fancy horse trail. Other times it is dirt or rocky, and sometimes you have the option of taking a steep dusty trail with loose rocks or a roadway.

This shows some of the vegetation. The one thing that was a bit of a bummer was there were some annoying flies. I saw some people with a branch with leaves which I discovered they were to swat at the bugs. I suppose it’s all part of nature in the early summer.

Rattlesnake country, but I didn’t see any nor did I meet anyone that had on this day.

Wildflowers

Some of the ridge line.

More wildflowers

Trail and more wildflowers.

Along the trail

Much of the hike was exposed, but there was some shade.

Just a reminder that nature could eat you.

This is stepper than it looks, but I could have taken the roadway as an option to this stretch.

Nice view of the hillsides.

I wanted more mileage so I took the Cima Dr. Trail. It added something like 1-2 miles.

This part was more like a nature walk, but still it was nice.

Thanks for joining me ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Will you favor me with a LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and please FOLLOW me. Until my next adventure here to wishing you find some adventure of your own.