Cedar Creek Falls Trail

Ramona, California

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Here’s one of San Diego County’s hidden treasures, tucked back in a tributary of the upper San Diego River, accessible these days only by non-mechanized means of travel. Before the construction of El Capitan Dam in the early 1930s, the falls were a popular destination for Sunday outings, and could be reached relatively easily on an auto road up the San Diego River valley from Lakeside. This popular hike to Cedar Creek Falls from the east is rated “moderately strenuous.” Though experienced hikers might think that’s judging the route too harshly, inexperienced visitors routinely get into trouble on the return, simply because they forget to bring along plenty of drinking water for the sweaty, uphill climb back to the trailhead in afternoon heat.

Cedar Creek Falls Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Here’s one of San Diego County’s hidden treasures, tucked back in a tributary of the upper San Diego River, accessible these days only by non-mechanized means of travel. Before the construction of El Capitan Dam in the early 1930s, the falls were a popular destination for Sunday outings, and could be reached relatively easily on an auto road up the San Diego River valley from Lakeside. This popular hike to Cedar Creek Falls from the east is rated “moderately strenuous.” Though experienced hikers might think that’s judging the route too harshly, inexperienced visitors routinely get into trouble on the return, simply because they forget to bring along plenty of drinking water for the sweaty, uphill climb back to the trailhead in afternoon heat."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ramona
Distance: 4.5
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 2.5 hours
Season: November through June
Features: Waterfalls
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Palomar Ranger District
Local Maps: USGS Santa Ysabel, Tule Springs
Driving Directions: Directions to Cedar Creek Falls Trail

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