Cottonwood Creek Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Elevation Gain489ft
Trailhead Elevation4,420ft
Elevation Min/Max3951/4420ft
Elevation Start/End4420/4420ft

Cottonwood Creek Trail

Cottonwood Creek Trail is a hiking trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is 0.7 miles long and begins at 4,420 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 489 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking.

Cottonwood Creek Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"A second set of falls south of the Laguna Mountain crest invites your exploration. Although these falls on Cottonwood Creek are somewhat less spectacular than those on Kitchen Creek, they have the added attraction of swimmable pools."
100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books)
Allen Riedel
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"Upon entering the canyon, the creek assumes a splendid mantle. A lovely wooded arbor sits streamside in the open lower reaches. As the trail progresses upward into an eroded desert chasm, pools appear like oases in this parched and arid landscape. Reeds and other wetland plants grow in and around the larger basins. Gentle cascades have formed all along the stream as it trickles down from the higher elevations of the Laguna Mountains. Some of the falls reach heights of 10 feet or higher."

Cottonwood Creek Trail Trip Reports

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I don't know how long ago this was written, but the "bathing pools" are over grown with reeds and grass. We were disappointed because we were looking forward to a dip. The falls is pretty though. We had to hike through some thick brush and then douse ourselves with "Off" in order to not get eaten alive by the Deer Flies
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This was a short hike but the stream and the waterfall at the midway point are great.

Cottonwood Creek Trail Photos

Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Cleveland National Forest
Descanso Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Descanso
USGS Mount Laguna
Local Maps

Trail Log