Cedar Creek Falls Trail

MODERATE 424 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 accessible year-round. 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 will need a permit to hike this area, and only 75 permits are allocated per day. One permit can have up to 5 people on it. 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. 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.

11 hours ago

Easy on ur way down it's coming up u will fell it .. great place to visit

14 hours ago

3 days ago

A few important things to note before taking this hike;
-get a permit in advance (note permits covers only 5 people, we had 6 in our crew)
-go early as it gets very hot & there is no shade
-bring 3 times the water you think you need
-the watering hole is very low on water and covered in slippery algae so bring water shoes if you plan to get in
-Don't get in! There were snakes in the water that terrified our kids.

3 days ago

This trail was much easier than the reviews made it seem! We got started at 630am and were back to the top around 9 and didn't have any problems with the heat. It is a steady downhill to the falls and uphill on the way back. The incline was perfect! We swam when we go to the bottom which was very refreshing! I suggest bringing water shoes! I would defiantly do this hike again!

4 days ago

Decent trek. Not the most epic waterfall, 3 Sisters and even the PQ Canyon falls are more impressive. Worth scratching off the list though. Get that permit and pack that agua!

5 days ago

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8 days ago

If you do this over the summer make sure to bring plenty of water and start early or start late unless you can take the heat.

9 days ago

Fun hike, the waterfall was flowing good when we went, thanks to the rainy winter. We hike to the top of the fall which was a leg burner. Bring enough water.

10 days ago

I complted this hike in mid-May. My favourite So Cal waterfall so far. Typically I'm not a fan of non-shady hikes and this one is not shaded for the first couple miles but once you get to the river crossings it's shady and the waterfall is so magnificent that I forgot all about the first hike down! Great place to swim, relax and eat lunch/snacks and explore. One hot days I definitely suggest taking lots of water. The hike back out was not as difficult as I expected. Definitely will make this a repeat trip!

11 days ago

Found a ring freediving at the falls. Men's ring, titanium with wood inlay. If you can tell me the initials inscribed inside the ring. I'll return it to you.

Dan 5419743904

12 days ago

14 days ago

Cool waterfall, not hard at all!

14 days ago

One of the best trails in San Diego, hands down. The falls and swimming hole at the bottom are incredible!! The hike back up is definitely not as bad as people have made it out to be, although it does get HOT, so be prepared. It's important to note that you need a permit for this hike, so go online and purchase ahead of time.

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