Cedar Creek Falls Trail

HARD 513 reviews
#2 of 105 trails in

Cedar Creek Falls Trail is a 5.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Ramona, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until May.

DISTANCE
5.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
935 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

no shade

no dogs

A popular hike in San Diego County, the trail to Cedar Creek Falls is a challenging pathway through backcountry hills and down an exposed canyon to a spectacular waterfall. Based in eastern San Diego in Cleveland Nationa Forest, Cedar Creek Waterfall can be accessed from the main trailhead at San Diego River Gorge starting in Ramona or via Saddleback Trailhead at the end of Eagle Peak Road in Julian. Please know that a visitor use permit is required to hike from the bottom of the Canyon to the Falls and only 75 permits are allocated per day. One permit can have up to 5 people on it. This hike is not advised for those with health conditions and not recommended in summer months due to extreme heat and the risk of heat stroke. Bring at least one gallon of water per person in summer months. Climbing on and jumping off the cliffs surrounding the waterfall is prohibited. For more information contact the USDA Forest Service.

hiking
1 day ago

Did this hike for the first time it was easier than I thought. It is rated as hard but I think it is moderate it is not too strenuous and not too steep. The elevation is pretty Steep at times it’s a gradual climb up and down the mountain. Took my chance and didn’t get a permit as there is nobody down by the waterfall checking. It is only $10 and the fine is $180 so it makes sense to pay the $10 because they use it for the restoration of the trails anyways. You are allowed To hike the trail but you do have to have a permit to enter the Water Falls area. There are other trails that you can take. The Ranger told me there will be no water and he was right he said go after March when the snow was melting and it’s a better experience.All in all a great hike recommend bringing water going early as it does get hot. Beautiful scenery and beautiful sounds of nature. They must hike for everyone at least once. Happy hiking :)

Not too hard. Assuming it’s a lot harder during the summer. Didn’t get to see the water actually falling since it hasn’t rained but still an awesome sight to see. Totally recommend this hike.

13 days ago

Just a down and up trail. Cool water fall. Remember the way back because it’s up hill the whole time. Bring water for the way up.

hiking
13 days ago

Went in Feb 2017. It was chilly and actually had rained the day before but the trail was still open. You check in with rangers at the trailhead. The hike was hard but well worth the trek! The waterfall was full and rushing at the time I went. Too cold to get in. There is a brief crossing where you’ll have to trek through ankle deep water (depending on the current water levels).

hiking
21 days ago

A lot easier than you think! Great for cardio and endurance training on the way back up but nothing too strenuous. I did this in the spring and got away with not having a permit but don't risk it. It's only like $10. Bathrooms/water fountains at the start of the hike and the waterfall was roaring when I went. It was fun jumping from the cliffs but be very careful. It isn't advised... but it's fun. Don't drink. I know people think it's a great idea to drink swim play some music and have a good time but you have quite a bit of hiking on the way back and it's common that people have been helicoptered out of there. They call it the Devils Punchbowl for a reason kids! There are snakes in the water so be mindful of that. Bring water of course! I suggest going in march when the snow melts! It's gross at the water right now but you still get beautiful views.

1 month ago

I’d recommend saving this trip until you’ve checked conditions to make sure the waterfall is running. And don’t forget your permit! There was a ranger there checking everyone’s. The water is cold, but worth the dive in on a hot day.

hiking
1 month ago

First part is 90% downhill and 10% flat going back is obviously the opposite. Start early if going in the summer and bring lots of water and some kind of snack for energy. Little to no shade and only a couple of places to sit. Also, when I did this hike the “swimming” water was stagnant, had a bunch of fish and I also saw a snake swimming in it. Just a FYI if you plan on swimming in it.

hiking
1 month ago

Hike wasn't too bad, not the most scenic but a good workout. The falls are dry right now and have been for a couple months. I imagine the hike is much more worth it when then falls are flowing. There are rangers that check you in at the trailhead and give your a lot of info about the trail. I was fine with 2L of water for Nov, did the whole hike in about 2-3 hours with a break at the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

It is considered a harder hike because it is downhill going to the waterfall. The hard part is leaving. All incline coming out.

2 months ago

Great hike I would label it moderate
not so hard but keep in mind you are going up on way back but lots of switch backs
-watch for bikers as there are blind corners
-bring lots of water
-lifeflight is very familiar with this trail
-planning yo bring my 11 year old next time

2 months ago

I did struggle with this hike,only because I’m so used to getting the hard part over with at the beginning and this one the hike is on your way back. It’s a good change.

2 months ago

awesome gorgeous hike last I went out took my two children 11& 9 they have done it twice now. No problem as long as have plenty of water. Water is freezing when falls are flowing after melt off of snow in mountains. Very peaceful can be pretty crowded sometimes.
Have to plan this hike in advance cause a permit is required and often sell out of on peek days. Rangers will turn people away without permit.
Always remember to hike out what you take in.

hiking
2 months ago

did 4/23/2010, it had just rained so Mildred Falls was flowing as well. it is on your right at the beginning of this down first hike.

3 months ago

It's a great hike! The way back is uphill so bring plenty of water. No water coming down the falls but we plan on coming back after a nice good rain. My 12 year old daughter and 10 year old son did great even in the heat!

3 months ago

Hard hike but worth the desert heat. once you get to the water fall, its heaven. The suckiest part is the incline one the way OUT.

3 months ago

Loved the hike. My favorite

hiking
3 months ago

Such a beautiful hike! Peaceful and quiet! It gets super hot later in the day, makes the up hill a challenge, but totally manageable.

hiking
4 months ago

The trail is well maintained you need a permit if you want get close to the water fall
But right now there is no water all there is water with algae assuming because of weather. People need to pick up their trash
Is a such a beautiful place lets keep it CLEAN

take lots of water for the way back up is challenging but doable

4 months ago

Beautiful hike!!

4 months ago

Fun drive out to Ramona. Love making this a day hike by packing a lunch and swimming for the day. Be cognizant of the time you head back up though; rattlesnakes are seen frequently when it starts to cool off!

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