Time : 2-3 hours
Distance : A 3.2-mile round trip on out and back trails
Best Time to visit : Spring, Fall and Winter
Nearest Transit Hub : Mast Boulevard
Parking : Available in the parking lot for Old Mission Dam
Pets : Allowed
Restrooms : Yes
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Oak Canyon trail leads to a series of ephemeral cascades flowing through the rocks of San Diego River which separates Kwaay Paay Peak from South Fortuna Mountain. Meandering in 5,700 acres of Mission Trail Regional Park, the Oak Canyon trail is furrowed with magnificent oak and sycamore trees. You can start this reasonably easy hike from the parking lot of this park to find the ruins of the old mission dam constructed in the early 1800s along the San Diego River.
The hiking will require some amount of rock scrambling through slopes blooming with wildflowers. You should visit the trail and the falls between November and May to witness water in the creek beds and falls which usually run dry in summers. As you pass the willow jungle and cottonwood shades, you can spot multiple small cascades spilling from the creek into small grottos. The hike along the creek beds provides the hikers with opportunities to enjoy a cosy picnic under the shade of oak and cottonwoods. The oak canyon trail, one of the best and tranquil trails in the vast park housing mountains and forests, is flourishing with native California coastal vegetation allowing the hikers to enjoy a stunning viewpoint from the top of the waterfalls.