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Cedar Creek Falls

Intermediate/Difficult
  4.3 ( 9 ) Favorite

Trail

5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer out and back
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,061' 323 m
Descent: -1,061' -324 m
High: 1,952' 595 m
Low: 946' 288 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 17% (9°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Matthew Kidd

This is San Diego’s most famous waterfall hike.

Matthew Kidd

Features Swimming · Views · Waterfall

Overview

Most of this hike is on a forest service road that is closed to vehicular traffic. Most hikers go for the waterfall as the hike to and from the waterfall is stark.

Need to Know

A permit is required since 2014. Take plenty of water. Dogs are permitted but strongly discouraged because several die every year from the heat.

There is very little shade and temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit from May through November. These conditions are clearly indicated at the trailhead where hikers are told to carry one gallon of water. Several hikers have died on this trail from heat stroke. Keep in mind that your return is a climb and that you'll likely be leaving near the hottest part of the day.

Description

Starting at the trailhead, the trail descends gently along the Eagle Peak Road for roughly 2 miles before turning east and heading to the falls. This descent, while gradual, is exposed. This means that you have some nice views down into the river valley, but it also means that this section can be quite hot and dry.

At just over 2 miles, turn left onto the San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04. This trail flattens out and winds along Cedar Creek, taking you to Cedar Creek Falls, a nearly 80-ft cascade that drops into a wide pool at the base of the falls. From the falls, visitors can enjoy their towering height and, during wet years, sizable flow.

After enjoying the falls, return to the trailhead the way you came, keeping in mind that the hike out will be mostly uphill.

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Check-Ins

Jun 10, 2019
Taylor French
3mi — 1h 20m
Apr 19, 2019
j lee
Jan 5, 2019
Anibal Leal
Jan 5, 2019
Lydia Reyes
Aug 13, 2018
Phil Tabb
Apr 22, 2018
Pavel Shemyakin
4.6mi
Nov 12, 2017
Dave Spencer
Oct 12, 2017
Thomas W

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 9 votes

#1953

Overall
  4.3 from 9 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
22%
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1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#278

in California

#1,953

Overall
97 Views Last Month
2,487 Since Mar 29, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Cedar Creek Falls is both beautiful and can provide some welcome shade depending on the time of day.
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA
The landscape on the way to Cedar Creek Falls is quite stark and dry.
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA
Strong warning to carry plenty of water!
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA

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