Cedar Creek Falls Hike (5 photos)

This is an archive post, written in 2015 and dated back to the original date of the hike and the photos. The photos have been re-evaluated and re-processed for this post.

My first hike in Southern California, on the last day of October. Cedar Creek Falls is one of the few waterfalls in San Diego County. Cedar Creek jumps down over granitic rock about 80 feet, into a little pool surrounded by granite cliffs. It can be reached from either the Saddleback trailhead (closer to Julian) or the San Diego County Estates trailhead (south of Ramona).

Since this is an archive post, I might as well add this right away: after the Forest Service improved the trail from the San Diego County Estates area, this hike and the waterfall have become insanely popular. Unprepared people had to be rescued, young folks hurt themselves jumping from the cliffs into the small pool below the falls, pets died of dehydration. It all came to a halt when a person died. The Forest Service closed the trailhead and trail, and only after a long wait finally established a permit system, complete ban of alcohol, made the cliffs surrounding the pool off limits, and cleaned the rocks from graffiti. It’s a shame.

I last attempted to hike the area in 2013, but even on a weekday in the afternoon, there were six cars at the Saddleback trailhead. I haven’t been back since. The photos below are from October 2010 on a weekend. There were others on the trail of course, and some young folks were jumping off the cliffs, but it wasn’t the crazy zoo it would become in later years.

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