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This is San Diego’s most famous waterfall hike.


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Map Key

5.3

Miles

8.6

KM

Out and Back

1,952' 595 m

High

946' 288 m

Low

1,061' 323 m

Up

1,061' 324 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

17%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matthew Kidd

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 12 votes

#2707

Overall
  4.2 from 12 votes
5 Star
58%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
8%
Recommended Route Rankings

#341

in California

#2,707

Overall
7 Views Last Month
8,379 Since Mar 29, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult 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
Strong warning to carry plenty of water!
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

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