Cedar Creek Falls in April 2023

Cedar Creek Falls in the San Diego River Gorge flowing nicely after a winter with well above average rain; Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County, California; April 2023.

It is inevitable: spring calls for a hike to Cedar Creek Falls — no matter how popular and over-visited this place is nowadays, it was the very first hike that Shuwen and I did together in San Diego County: on October 31, 2010, just nine days after my arrival, I saw this lovely little place for the first time. And while I have been back many times since (San Diego River Gorge archive), I realized with some shock that, in the twelve (!) springs that I’ve experienced here in San Diego now, Shuwen had never been back with me! It was high time to change that and she too could see how absolutely beautiful the San Diego River Gorge is, in spring.

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Cedar Creek Falls, March 2022

The waterfall of Cedar Creek in San Diego's back country near Ramona is a tributary to the San Diego River, and a very popular hiking destination on Cleveland National Forest Land. Here it is flowing after winter and spring rain, late in March 2022.

A couple of years ago, my introvert tendencies led to a certain disdain for the Cedar Creek Falls hike — solely due to its popularity with people of course, not because of the scenery. But after March 2015, when I hiked with my friend Joe on a weekday in the early morning and we had the place to ourselves, I switched it to a challenge: go there, and photograph it without people.

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Cedar Creek Falls, April 2019

Cedar Creek Falls, San Diego River Gorge, California. April 2019.

Ever since I hiked to Cedar Creek Falls on a weekday morning with my friend Joe in 2015 and we completely beat the crowds (see A Piece of Eden from March 2015), it has become a bit of a personal challenge or perhaps “tradition” to try and repeat this experience – which is a bit of a reversal of my earlier take on this location. :-)

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