Three Sisters Rock via the Pacific Crest Trail

Distance 8 mi
Time 4 hrs
Elevation Gain 1829 ft
Season Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Hike Info Hiker Info

After several days of rain, I was itching to get outside. So, I gathered a group of friends and drove to Acton for an adventure along the iconic Pacific Crest Trail to Three Sisters Rock. While on paper this hike’s length and elevation gain looked challenging, it was surprisingly mellow and cruisy (minus the last little scramble at the end). And with endless mountain views and beautiful scenery all around, this trail is hard to beat.

There is a parking lot across the street just off Indian Canyon Rd. there, you’ll find 11 spots, as well as trash cans, a vault toilet, and a picnic table. Otherwise, there is a small pullout by the trailhead that can hold about three to five cars. Follow the PCT sign on the north side of Soledad Canyon Rd to start your hike.

The PCT Marker signals the start of your hike. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

Your trek starts with a slight downhill to the Santa Clara River. Since it had just rained, we had to navigate several river crossings. The trail here was also washed out, which, according to a Pacific Crest Trail Association volunteer we ran into during our hike, occurred during the unprecedented amount of precipitation Southern California received in 2023. After reaching the other side, we easily found the trail again and continued hiking.

The Santa Clara River after a rainstorm. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

A quarter of a mile in, you cross a railroad and gradually start to climb. Even after the rain, I was impressed with how well-maintained the pathup  was – the perks of hiking on a well-cared-for trail like the PCT. The wind started to pick up the higher we went, forcing us to hold onto our hats so they wouldn’t blow away.

Train tracks cut through the trail. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

Slowly climbing. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

There are few trees on this trail, as the mountainsides are covered with mostly grasses and brush. While you’re exposed to the elements, it’s a dreamy scene, especially during the spring. You can see the trail wind in front of you, and towering around you are the San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona Mountains. We were a little early for wildflowers, but luckily because of the rain, the grass was green and thriving. We did see Tall tumblemustard in bloom, a preview of what this landscape will likely look like in April and May.

The grass-covered mountains. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

Several friends dwarfed by the landscape around them. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

At mile 1.6, the trail levels out, giving you a nice break from your uphill climb. Then, 0.2 miles later, you’ll get close to several interesting sedimentary rock formations that seem to randomly sprout from the mountain surface. It’s fascinating to see smaller pieces of rock embedded into these geological marvels.

One of several rock outcroppings on this hike. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

At mile two, you will reach a fire road. You’ll head left leaving the PCT behind. After walking under powerlines for 0.2 miles, turn right at the next trail junction to head downhill.

Your first view of Three Sisters Rock. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

2.4 miles in, you’ll see Three Sisters Rock for the first time. Continuing onward, you’ll encounter several trail junctions, so pay attention to your map or GPS to make sure you’re going the right way. At mile three, stay straight. Then, at mile 3.2, head right. Finally, at mile 3.6 turn left to leave the fire road and hike toward your destination.

The approach trail to Three Sisters Rock. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

After 0.2 miles, you’ll reach the base of Three Sisters Rock. While not too difficult, you’ll have to be comfortable with class three scrambling to reach the summit. Though if you opt not to climb, the views are still incredible. We decided to scale the middle sister and found a path a few feet to the right of the trail. After about 90 feet of scrambling, we reached the top.

Views atop Three Sisters Rock. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

Standing on the summit of Three Sisters Rock, you’ll have incredible 360 views of the gorgeous landscapes around you, including the rolling, grass-covered hills and canyons that extend in every direction for miles. And when we went, several distant mountain peaks, including Pacifico Mountain, were covered in a dusting of snow. It was a spectacular sight. Without any natural wind breaks the gusts were especially biting, but we were all too busy soaking in the view for the weather to bother us. Finally, we carefully worked our way back down to the trail.

Hiking back to our cars. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

From here, retrace your steps to return to the trailhead and complete your hike.

Both legs of this out-and-back hike are stunning. Shot on FujiFilm Superia X-TRA 400 film.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Accommodations near Three Sisters Rock via the Pacific Crest Trail

Trail Conditions

The first two miles to Three Sisters Rock is a well-groomed and gently graded single track trail along the Pacific Crest Trail. The second two miles follows an equally well-maintained fire road. To reach the top of Three Sisters Rock requires some slight class-three scrambling.

Download GPX

Camping Info

Half of a mile east of the trailhead is the LA RV Resort, which also accommodates tent camping. Amenities are plenty and include a fire ring, pool, outdoor kitchen and sink, Wi-Fi, and Hot Tub, among others. Costs vary depending on campsite choice.


How to Get There

From Los Angeles, take CA-110 N and merge on I-5 N toward Sacramento. Continue for 22 miles and merge onto CA-14 N. After 11 miles take exit 11 toward Soledad Canyon Rd and turn right onto Soledad Canyon Rd. After 7.5 miles, turn right onto Indian Canyon Rd, past the Indian Canyon Trailhead sign and immediately turn right again into the parking lot. Vehicles must display a Forest Adventure Pass ($5 for a daily pass or $30 for an annual pass). Interagency Annual Passes are also honored.

Driving Directions

Use the ModernHiker mobile app to download this map and complete trail description for offline access.

Download Details & Map