Cedar Creek Falls Trail

MODERATE 306 reviews

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 moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.2 miles 1102 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers

You need a permit to hike, and only 75 permits are allocated per day. One permit can have up to 5 people on it. Get your permit here: http://www.recreation.gov/ Be careful - children have slipped off the rocks to their death. Also - be sure to bring a lot of water, the trail can be very hot and dry! This hike is not recommended in summer months, as temperatures on the trail are frequently 25F higher than temperatures in San Diego. There is no shade on the last 2.5 miles of uphill in this hike. If you are attempting this hike in warmer months, bring at least ONE GALLON of water per person and per pet and hike in the cooler parts of the day (very early morning or late afternoon). During warm months dogs should not be brought on this trail, and there have been canine fatalities due to heat. There is a permit required to enter the area surrounding the waterfall, permits must be purchased at recreation.gov prior to hiking. There are rangers checking permits. Climbing on and jumping off the cliffs surrounding the waterfall is prohibited. There are two trails to Cedar Creek Waterfall. The main trailhead is the San Diego River Gorge Trailhead starting from Ramona. The trailhead has tap water, pit latrines and shade shelters. This trail is 2.5 Miles each way, it begins high in the canyon and descends 1000 feet with no shade or water along the way. At the bottom of the canyon there is an intersection and from this point a permit is required. Continue straight across the small clearing to the short, shaded walk to the waterfall. Cedar Creek Falls only flows after rains and is frequently dry or a small trickle. Save water for the strenuous and hot walk back out. Note: the water at the falls is not drinkable. The alternate trailhead is from the Julian side, at the end of Eagle Peak Road, starting at Saddleback Trailhead.

1 minute ago

It's a really nice hike. The trail is very well maintained and when there's enough water the waterfall looks incredible. There's no shade for most of the hike so take a hat and plenty of water. Keep in mind that they way back is uphill and it's a little bit more challenging.

21 hours ago

23 hours ago

1 day ago

One of the best hiking place especially during spring. It starts with down Trail and ends with an up Trail. The entire path is filled with colorful flowers and greenary. We started the hike at 6:30am and came back by 10:00am. Hike can be completed in a much shorter period provided you don't relax much at the waterfall. We had to cross 3 small streams to reach the beautiful falls. It is advisable to carry a pair of slippers (helps crossing the stream) and sufficient quantity of water.

1 day ago

Great hike with amazing wildflower bloom on the way. Beautiful waterfall at the end!

1 day ago

Get your permit ahead of time! Visited on MLK 2017 after recent rain to ensure an active waterfall. Easy trek down to the falls- clear obvious path, jogged most of it. The falls took my breath away! Lucky to have caught them eagerly roaring. Shout out to the folks who fearlessly jumped into the ice bath. A definite next time for me. The hike up was a real rear kicker; don't stop for an optimal workout. Bring tons of water! With little to no shade and a steady incline, you'll need it.

2 days ago

4 days ago

Pretty easy trail. Uphill on the return must explain the "strenuous" rating I've seen given. We had to cross three fast moving rivers with no shoes and socks which added something different. The waterfall at the end was incredible.

6 days ago

BUY YOUR PERMIT AHEAD OF TIME! ($5) This was a cool hike, I can't lie the downhill way there is really casual, but the hike back up gets old quick at a pretty descent grade. The falls are really cool, there was a lady with a dog there playing fetch into the pool. Go after a nice rain, and PLEASE don't be the douche bag blaring Bruno Mars from a Bluetooth speaker. Use headphones...some people are there to hear nature not your taste in music

7 days ago

beautiful falls...worth it when the falls are flowing...but you have to cross 3 rivers before you get to the falls so feet get wet!!

10 days ago

11 days ago

Great hike.

14 days ago

Such a great hike! It's definitely better to go when the weather isn't too hot because you're in direct sunlight. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, and wear the right clothes for the weather. You need a permit in order to go on the trail so try to purchase that in advance on line because although they are sold on site, they sell out on busy days. There is a tent you have to check in through to start the hike and rangers patrolling throughout the area, as well. Dogs are allowed but make sure they can make it the 5-6 mile round trip. The view while on the path is a gorgeous panorama of the surrounding hills that makes you feel like you're on a tropical island.

It's a few miles in to the sign that points you towards Cedar Creek Falls so just continue in that direction and follow the stream (that you'll have to wade through a few times) up towards Devil's Punchbowl. There is an area surrounding the pool of the waterfall filled with rocks to sit around on and rocks that can be scaled without too much effort to reach the point to cliff jump. It's so much fun and not too high of a drop, as so many young children do it. You can swim through the pool of water towards a gathering of rocks that allow you to hang out right next to the falls. The rope swing hanging above here doesn't look that sturdy or long enough to sustain jumping off so I wouldn't suggest trying it. The hike is downhill the whole way into the valley and uphill on the way back so make sure to save some of your water!

15 days ago

16 days ago

16 days ago

Great short hike. My new favorite under 6 miles

26 days ago

Great Sunday afternoon hike, 3 creeks to cross, water is super cold.

28 days ago

very well maintained with beautiful views. you must buy a pass for $6.00 up to 5 people. best to go during the week in the morning so you can enjoy it with less people. pack a lunch to eat at the falls but take your trash home. no trash cans or bathrooms along the way only at entrance. 1st 3 down hill while water is flowing you need to cross creeks. the 3 back is the way you came so all up hill. Bring water. have fun!