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Espinosa Trail

Difficult
 4.8 (4)

This trail leads from beautiful vistas to carved stone waterfalls.


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Map Key

3.4

Miles

5.5

KM

Point to Point

2,964' 903 m

High

1,980' 604 m

Low

986' 301 m

Up

436' 133 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Poison oak is prevalent here, and I'd suggest winter or early spring for your hike if you want to avoid the worst of it.

Description

From the parking lot, pass the gate and start off on an old forest service road for a short distance until you see a trail heading downhill to the right. Barrel downhill for 3/4 of a mile until you meet up with the creek. Enjoy the lowlands along a tributary of Pine Valley Creek for another mile until you arrive at Horsethief Canyon.

The area ranges from a healthy waterfall and swimming hole to a dry dirt lowland with some fetid water. Cross the creek and pass the Secret Canyon trail cutting off to your left. Head precipitously uphill through some switchbacks and intense climbs for another mile until the trail slowly eases up. Another mile on more comfortable terrain leaves you on the Corte Madera Road, where you can turn back or catch a hike.

Flora & Fauna

Live oak, snakes, lizards, manzanita, deer, mountain lion.

Contacts

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes

#5622

Overall
  4.8 from 4 votes
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#449

in California

#5,622

Overall
11 Views Last Month
2,262 Since May 16, 2017
Difficult

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Photos

Above the Horsethief Falls.
May 22, 2017 near Descanso, CA
Looking back down onto the Espinosa Trail.
May 22, 2017 near Descanso, CA
Perfectly round depressions on this boulder may have been a spot where the Kumeyaay Indians ground acorns from the nearby live Oaks.
May 22, 2017 near Descanso, CA
Seasonal swimming hole and waterfall at the south end.
Mar 7, 2016 near Descanso, CA
Espinosa Trail leading to into Pine Creek Wilderness. October 18, 2017.
Oct 24, 2017 near Descanso, CA

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Check-Ins

Jun 7, 2020
Duke Nguyen
8.4mi — 3h 30m
Mar 3, 2019
Anthony S
River crossing is deep with all the recent rain. Lots of mud as expected but most importantly, fantastic hike with beautiful scenery! 3.4mi
Aug 16, 2015
Sophia Estudante