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Cedar Creek Falls Trail is a 4.9 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.

Length 4.9 mi Elevation gain 1,033 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Rocky

No shade

Fee

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

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 National 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 Note: A permit is required to enter the area surrounding the falls and must be purchased prior to hiking at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. Only 75 permits are issued per day and permits are not sold on site, nor is there ample cell signal to make the purchase via mobile device. Permits cost $10 each and can be used for up to 5 people. Permits are limited in quantity and often sell out. Rangers will be checking permits with a valid government issued ID, which must accompany all visitors listed. 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.

Permits can be purchased here: http://www.recreation.gov/ Palomar Ranger District (760) 788-0250 https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cleveland/news-events/?cid=STELPRD3843245

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Reviews (1268)
Photos (490)
Recordings (861)
Completed (2942)
Leslie Hernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Great trail! There was a little bit of mud but there were rocks to step on so that worked out great! Beautiful views!! Its becomes tiring as you’re on your way back because the day is getting hotter but the trail isn’t difficult at all. I started around 6:30am and got to the falls around 8:00am approx., so it was still chilly but the water was SO nice! Spent there about an hour and a half and started my way back at around 10:30am and got to the parking lot at 11:15am and it was so goddamn hot but the view and the falls were so worth it! Only thing, the bathrooms they are a little disgusting but everything else was great!! Loved the trail!! Definitely would go again but way earlier. :)

Michelle Posada
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 10 2020
HikingNo shade

Awesome trail! Not too bad on the way down with a gorgeous view. The waterfall was incredible and the trail and water were very clean. Nothing scary in the water, just small fish. A bit steep on the way back up but we loved it! Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. And if you are bringing a dog on a sunny day maybe put some shoes on him/her and lots of water.

vinod kumar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 10 2020
HikingNo shade

no shade, bring loads of water and sun screen. hiked many places without sun screen with no sun burn, but this one is not recommended with out protection. water fall was really good at the end,

Lonnie Pendilla
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

Good trail 90 percent there is no shade and downhill but that means the way back is 90 percent uphill and no shade. Not much water dropping from the falls but there is a nice water hole to swim. There is also a place to dive even though there are signs that say "No Diving". There is also a rope swing which is cool. Overall Good trail.

View Lonnie's Recording
Jon Michael Domingo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingNo shade
View Jon Michael's Recording
Alex Fazzone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020

I went on a Tuesday morning and started the hike at 7:45am. I know better than to attempt a busy hike on a weekend- any popular San Diego hike will be busy at that time, it’s just to be expected. But going early and on a weekday was perfect. We only saw one other group on the way down. Going back up there were a lot more people. At 7:45am it wasn’t as hot either. But the way up was very hot. There are some patches of shade- some of the other reviews make it seem like there are zero. Maybe mid afternoon there is less, but there were some really nice shaded patches in the morning. The water was nice and refreshing. The waterfall was scarce due to the time of year- I’d like to go back in winter or spring. My only complaint is the amount of trash along the trail and at the water. I am assuming it is left over from July 4th weekend. Such a bummer and so disappointing. Next time I go, I’m planning on bringing a trash bag to pick things up on the way back up. Overall a really nice hike and there is no reason why someone who is in good shape and brings plenty of water shouldn’t be able to do this hike. Water is key because the San Diego gorge is much hotter than surrounding areas- do not underestimate this. Bring more water than you think you’ll need, make a point to keep drinking it often, and maybe even have some more water for you in your car. If you do this (and are in good shape and this isn’t your very first hike), you’ll have a great time. And, as always, bring your trash back with you (though I know anyone who cares about hiking and nature doesn’t litter and therefore those people likely aren’t reading this). P.s. don’t bring your dogs in summer months unless you’re going super early morning. Otherwise it’s too dangerous.

Marie Mitchell
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingFeeNo shade

I’ve done this trail before a year ago. It was nice and it was in feb when there was a waterfall. This time i went July 5th it was super hot and crowded I took my dog which was a huge mistake. We went around 7am thinking we could beat the heat. Along the trail there was poop bags everywhere and empty water bottles. We jumped in the water as soon as we made it to the bottom! There were so many people jumping in and hanging around the water it was hard to find a spot to put our things down. There was so much trash everywhere plastic bottles snack wrappers alcohol bottles I don’t even know how people were drinking alcohol and still hiking in the sun. The sun was beaming we drank a lot of water but we still got heat exhaustion including the dogs! There were so many people stopping in what little shade they could find and had to be rescued. Also not made for kids! People have been posting the falls on social media which is a reason why it’s been so crowded. And DONT BRING YOUR DOGS. It’s not worth going !

Katrina S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike. Recreation.gov is advising hikers as of July 7th, 2020 not to go to Cedar Creek Falls because of the super hot weather right now. If you go this week, I advise to go early or later in the day where there isn’t too much direct sun. Check the weather. Bring lots of water! Stay safe hikers.

Elias Khawaja
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking

I’m not sure what the fuss is about, I did this trail while fasting and when it was hot and it wasn’t all that bad, I might just be built differently, those who had difficulty probably did not say Alhamdulilah prior to starting the hike

Eric Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
HikingNo shade

Hike down is easy enough at 9 AM. It was hot but very doable. The waterfall had barely any water running thru it which sucked but it’s quite a view once you get down there. I decided to hike back at 2 PM and after a mile we took a break cause of the heat, we probably waited for 2 hours and that point it was around 5PM and it was much more doable! We had just about a gallon of water and that lasted us till about 20 min before we finished the hike so thankfully we made it. Honestly idk why I pay $6 for but they should install some shaded roofs around the trial or more water stations. I don’t what my $6 go to? ALSO, idk how precise the Strava app is BUT my GPS off of that app clocked me in at 3.2 miles ONE WAY that would mean this is a 6.4 mile hike not a 4.9

Rahul Dhiman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020

Definitely avoid this hike until they start enforcing permits. waterfall was so crowded which is fine, I guess, -but no one maintained social distancing, -sooo many kids were Driking Alchohol which is even worse because there are so many signs for not using Alcohol - there is litter all around the fall. We went there to have a good experience, but all turned out to be a Noisy PB Night Club party. Not worth it..

Juan Carlos Fernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingFeeNo shade

It gets very hot.. And no shade..You need a lot of water.. 1.5 litters was not enough.. A galón is suggested.. Not recommended for kids.. Not much swimming for them the shallow part is very small.. It's to hot for kids and the way up is hard for them, specially carrying and infant ... The waterfall is beautiful.. The jump in the water is great! Stay hydrated, Ranger told us some horror stories...

View Juan Carlos's Recording
Melena Con
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingFeeNo shade

I went to this trail for the fist time in my life on a 110 degrees. Going down the hill to the fall it was pretty easy and once you get to the fall is very beautiful, it was a bit crowded. On our way up It was a 110 degrees,definitely avoid it if you do not have condition, do not bring kids with you or peeps that do not exercise at all. I had a really bad experience taking my mom and sister we did not have enough water on our way up, they were very slow so i decided to take vantage. I made my way up in 1 hour with about 3 oz of water, the heat was really extreme about 12 noon, I waited for them for like 30 mint and no signs of them. I grabbed the last bottle of water i had in my car and my bf and I end up going back to look for them, they were 1 mile down the hill, i was so worry since the helicopters were rescuing people all over the place due to the heat, on my way down fro the second time I found 2 groups of people laying on the dirt with no water, bleeding from the heat wave, i was desperate. The helicopter was rescuing a person when i was going down thinking about my sister an mom, after that i started to run. like a 100 meters after i saw my sisters and moms face, they were dehydrated about to pass out, i gave them the water and put some of the last water on their neck and head. they couldn't walk for more than 2 mint. my bf and I had to wait for them, they lied down on the dirt, no shade at all, thanks god the fire fighters were coming down the hill with water, my sister was very dizzy and throwing up already, they ended up calling the helicopter to pick my sister up and carrying my mom up the hill.. the worst experience in my life.. this is the first and the last time i take someone to hike with me specially if they do not have condition. I ended up doing almost 9 miles. The top of the hill was full of fire fighters and ambulances about 3 p.m. the worst time of the day. The paramedics told us that a 23 yr old girl die one day before from a heat stroke and my sister was the 6 rescued so far... HORRIBLE, be conscious, do not do the hike during those hours if you take kids or people with Zero condition, if you go take at least a gallon of water per person, you will need it. Specially during summer.

Keith Hoang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

Avoid, avoid, avoid. At least until they start enforcing the parking permits. It was so crowded at the waterfall that it was not enjoyable and made the hike not worth it. Basically a Covid party once you’re there.

Anne Chen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingNo shade

Super crowded! People are supposed to buy a permit online but no one was checking there so it got super crowded! No shades! Do bring extra water!

View Anne's Recording
Rob Andrews
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

Amazing hike all around, but go EARLY to avoid crowd and heat. Left trailhead at 6:30am and it was awesome! Only 2 groups down at the falls and mild heat on the hike back up.

View Rob's Recording
Kenny&Nadia Escobar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

If you’re looking for a tough hike, this is the one. You start by descending 3 miles, pretty easy!!! The tough part is climbing the 3 miles back up. Me and my husband did this hike in over 100 degree temperature. I got heat exhaustion and felt like I needed medical attention. I will never do this hike again in the heat! The water we took was useless on our way back it got hot, felt like we were drinking hot tea, Be careful with this hike!

Dom Gonzalez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingNo shade

Bring extra water almost passed out.

View Dom's Recording
Kait S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingNo shadeWashed out

I highly recommend starting this hike early early in the morning or late in the evening. We started at 730am thinking we were beating the heat, but no, it was so hot outside heading back up the mountain from the falls, and to top it off there was no shade. The falls were gorgeous and packed because of the holiday weekend, but still a great overall hike.

View Kait's Recording
Dave Messina
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Great trail. The app says the trail is 4.5 miles up and back. Actually it is 6 miles. You go down the canyon to the end of the trail where you see the waterfall. Then you hike up the canyon to the trailhead. Very little shade. Wear a hat and bring lots of water.

Madai Villegas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Very nice trail, easy on the way there but challenging on the way back up. Beautiful waterfall, very refreshing water. It can get a little crowded, but there’s plenty of rocks to climb on. Definitely recommend it!

View Madai's Recording
Sana Rowhani
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike! Started at 5pm and the waterfall was perfect. Definitely recommend starting at 5! Bought permits but no one was there to check it. Also bring extra clothes to go swimming!

View Sana's Recording
Marie Mancuso
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 01 2020

Probably the most disappointing time I've had hiking. While it SHOULD have been nice to hang at the falls, it was entirely too crowded, shoulder to shoulder packed. idk why I wasted $ purchasing a permit if they were gonna let 500 people in without 1. Hike down took an hour. full sun hot day at 11am. Stayed maybe 5 mins at the falls to catch our breath didn't even dip our toes and trekked back up. Took about 2 hours up. I saw a lot of younger kids looking cranky and pissed making it up. I don't blame them, it's a hot exposed hike! I saw a lot of unprepared people just drinking a beer, shirtless with a hat on AND THATS IT. Dude you're gonna get heat stroke, at least take a water bottle or something!! overall even if the permits were actually regulated I would never do this hike again. it takes a lot for me to even say that, but the experience was just awful.

Ashley Cao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Is Cedar Creek falls open now? Do you have purchase the permit? Thank you

Kimberly Porter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
HikingBugsFeeNo shade

Great trail and not super difficult. Not easy but not as difficult as I thought it would be when we first viewed where we were going. We finished out and back in about 2 hours and 25 minutes. The falls were pretty crowded so we didn’t stick around long. We stopped at every 1/4 mile trail marker and had a bit of water and didn’t feel bad when we finished. What a nice hike. Started the hike with 5 bottles of water each and had two full bottles at the end.

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