Cedar Creek Falls
Distance - 4.3
- 1100 ft.
Max Elevation Reached
- 1835 ft.
Trailhead - Link
Download Google Earth KML - Link
Download GPX - Link
Who would believe that a place as dry as San Diego could have
a 100 foot high waterfall! But it is true. There is a pretty awesome
waterfall very close to the city. Whether or not it is a 100 footer is
debatable. Nonetheless it is high enough to impress you.
There are atleast two trails (that I know of) that lead to
the Cedar Creek Falls on San Diego River. You can take the east approach
from Eagle Peak Rd. or take the west approach from San Diego Estates.
This page describes the latter. I personally prefer the west approach
because this lets you drive all the way to the trailhead on paved
roads. On the other hand, the east approach requires you to drive some
eight miles on unpaved roads to get to the trailhead.
Unlike most trails in San Diego, and much like most canyon
hikes, this trail involves going downhill on your way in and uphill on
your way out. So be prepared to spend twice as much time and energy and
water on your way back. While the hike is not demanding in itself, the
unusual presentation of hike difficulty (take a look at the elevation
profile below) can impact you if you are unprepared and unfit.
There are several trails that lead you from the trailhead to
the river. Most of them are visible right from the top. Pick one and head
generally downhill towards the river. You can use the tracks included
in the description as one guaranteed path to the falls. Once you cross
the river there is pretty much just the one path to the falls.
The trail is pretty well maintained given the high traffic
this destination receives. When you get to the falls, don't be
surprised to find people swimming in the pool below the falls. Also, be
prepared to find more trash than you are used to on any other trail in
San Diego ... especially right at the falls. But don't be put off by
this, the falls are still naturally pretty and very much worth the
effort of getting there by foot.
As one would expect, the falls and the San Diego river are
more interesting late spring. If possible, go right after a few days of
rainfall. Not only does that enhance the appeal of the falls, it also
makes the river crossings (two of them) more interesting.
Started from Trailhead - 3:30 pm
Reached the falls - 5:00 pm
Started back - 5:30 pm
Reached Trailhead - 7:15 pm
Tech Analysis - Link
Photos - Link
This hike was slightly different from all of my previous
hikes. Not only were we going downhill first before climbing uphill on
our return, we were also starting late in the afternoon instead of
early in the morning. We managed to get back just before sunset.
Found a bunch of young people hanging out at the falls -
swimming, smoking, drinking ... generally having a gala time. Also
spotted a couple camping and collecting firewood just before the falls.
Not sure if it is legal (most likely it isn't) but it sure sounds fun.
I tried out my new Canon Powershot A590IS for the first time
on this hike.