Friday, April 26, 2013

My Top 4 San Diego Hike: Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls, San Diego River Canyon
San Diego River Canyon is one of San Diego County's hidden treasures. There are several waterfalls along the river gorge, one of them is Cedar Creek Falls, which is a spectacular waterfall plunging 80 feet into a large pool of water surrounded by rock walls.
Cedar Creek Waterfall
Why I like this hike: It is like a nearby escape from civilization, where the trails are tucked back in the backcountry hills of eastern San Diego. Aside of course from the waterfall, I can't get enough of the views of the surrounding mountains hugged by low lying clouds.

Cedar Creek Falls Trail
Me, Beside a Huge Rock Along The Trail
During spring, the trails are beautifully adorned by wildflowers.
Yellow Mustard and Surrounding Mountains @ San Diego River Canyon
Owls Clover
Lupines @ The Bottom of Canyon
These sights may look very un-San Diego to the visitors, since a lot of people visiting San Diego comes for the ocean, not for its backcountry trails. I can't blame them, since actually 2 in the remaining top 3 of my top San Diego hikes are trails along the ocean.   

Now, for some basics of this hike:

 Trailheads (permit area hike, click here for permit requirements )
option 1,  from the west: 15531 Thornbush Road Ramona, CA 92065 
Hike From Ramona
option 2, from the east: off Eagle Peak Rd, Julian, CA 
Mildred Falls ( near the trailhead from Eagle Peaks Rd, Julian )
The Hike: This is a reverse hike that starts from higher elevation. Distance to the swimming hole- about 4.5 miles round trip, 1200 ft change in elevation. 
Swimming Hole @ Cedar Creek Falls 
( swimming is allowed, but the cliffs surrounding the falls are closed to diving and jumping )

Distance to the top of the falls- about 6 miles round trip, total of 1400 ft change in elevation.
wildflower and waterfall ( between the swimming hole and top of waterfall )
Cedar Creek Falls from the Top
Best Time to Hike: spring ( not only there are wildflowers, but spring is also the time of the year where the waterfall is at its fullest )

Some Hiking Info: the trail would require at least 3 stream crossings.
One of the Stream Crossings in the Trail
The following would be helpful but not necessarily a must have ( just good if you have them ):
1. Hiking Pole - helps in determining the depth of water when you cross the stream, haha! Actually, helps in balancing when crossing the streams.
2. Waterproof Hiking Shoes- if the water levels are not really that deep, it's a lot easier crossing the stream with shoes since it helps alot in balancing on slippery rocks.
3. Waterproof Sandals - I do change to waterproof sandals with good traction at the bottom of the canyon when the water is deep since water would enter shoes from above. However, I am not comfortable hiking with sandals all the way, so I wear my hiking shoes back once we start uphill back to the trailhead.

It's always a joy to be OUT.

No nature's beauty is too far if you have the energy, the time, the health, and the will power. This applies to achieving your dreams as well.

~ Betchai ~
Facebook Twitter StumbleUpon Digg Delicious Reddit Technorati Mixx Linkedin


  1. Simply breathtaking and true, not very San Diego like. Wish I have the stamina to do this. It would be a great accomplishment for me. Next spring, I will be more prepared.

    Your photos speak for themselves, as I see them.

  2. thats a lovely, gracious water fall...

  3. What a beautiful waterfall and I love the mountain views and that huge rock along the way!

  4. Wow! The place is beautiful, I love the waterfall, I can't wait the number.LOL! I agree spring is always nice to go hiking,I can't wait my daughter to walk for many miles so we can go hiking again.

  5. Wow i love how you capture the water fall can you share what aperture and shutter speed is, i always wanted to take a perfect water shots by i always failed :( thanks for sharing this!

  6. awwwwww...what a beauty of nature...those waterfall photos are beyond amazing!

  7. Those Falls are just spectacular. You are so blessed Ate to see those natural beauties.

  8. Awesome photos of a very fascinating waterfall. Sarap sigurong maligo dyan.

  9. I like your water proof hiking shoes. When we had a river tricking with friends some years ago. We all got wet feet. But anyway, we ended up swimming at the bottom of the river.

  10. I didn't realize earlier that those hiking shoes are waterproof :) love your captures as always and the waterfalls and the flower shots make me smile hugely! gee I really wish I could hike with you there one sweet day! :)

  11. ...I have to add...can't wait for the next top hikes!

  12. Incredibly amazing captures, Te Betchai. Puede ng pang-postcard cover. Beautiful cascading falls. I can't wait to know the 3 remaining top adventures in your list :-)