101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert
by Jerry Schad and David Money Harris (Wilderness Press)
© 2013 Jerry Schad and David Money Harris/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
Got to the trail head and it was closed. No explanation just directions to some other trailhead down some 13 mile dirt road...
First let me say that I am just getting reconditioned to hiking, I am 42 and quite heavy. I did this on memorial day and the week prior to memorial day. The difference in temperature between the two hikes was about 20 degrees, which made a huge difference. I actually come from the Ramona Oaks side, which is 1000 feet elevation change in about 1.25 miles. Both the descent and ascent are intense. At 60 degrees it was tough but not a real problem for me. At 80 degrees it was quite strenuous and required many breaks. I brought 2 litres of water and used it all as well as the 1/2 litre a kid gave me near the end. Thanks kid!! The falls are awesome. I went to the top pools which were much less populated. Had the place to myself for a good 45 minutes. The bottom had an average of about 50 people the whole time. Total trip time was 6 hours, total hike time 4.25 hours. 100% worth the trip. I will definately take more water and possibly try to get out there later in the day to avoid the intense sushine. There is very little shade along the route unless you are willing to crawl under a rock or bush. something my dog was quite good at.
Nice hike with a great reward, although if you come from the Julian side it is a long climb back out. It was hot the day we went so we consumed all of our water by the time we got back to our vehicle. There was still a small flow of water at the falls, and there was a decent crowd once we were leaving. Due to is popularity it does have some trash present, not too much to make it feel really dirty though.
Steep mountains with spectacular views of chaparral. Despite the trail--an old jeep road--this area still has the feel of wilderness. I set out about 9:30 with my two boys, ages 2 and 4, from Saddleback junction at the end of Eagle Peak Road. As there were no trailhead markers and not a soul for the last 8 miles of dirt road, I wasn't altogether sure we were even on the right trail. It's a steady not-too-steep descent about 1000 feet to trail that spurs off to the left and down to Cedar Creek. It was a bit cold and the rain started coming down when we arrived at the creek, just in time to eat lunch under one of the many oak trees in the bottom of the canyon. There we saw our first person of the day. Fortunately, we didn't find the dead person that another hiker found just a couple hundred yards upstream from our picnic. (Heart attack? Hypothermia? Cold rain for two days and he wasn't wearing winter clothes). Made for a really creepy feeling for the rest of the day and we headed back up soon after. Before that, fortunately, we scrambled out over a few rocks for a spectacular view of the top of the falls, about a 100-foot drop. Kept close watch on my boys. My youngest too was inexplicably unwilling to hike (he's usually the opposite and refuses to be carried) and whining and crying a lot. Turns out he was spiking a fever, but I didn't know til I got home. So, I'd like to return when circumstances were better, but still a good outing and good to get the boys out into the "wild." They ate it up. My youngest, through his tears of discomfort, still insisted he was having fun and liked the trail.
This is a great little hike but make sure take plenty of water if you are hiking during July or Aug. The trail does not have any shade so the heat gets very intense. The small water pools at the falls are great for the kids.
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