Cedar Creek Falls: Hiking In San Diego (All You Need To Know)

I was in much need of a time amongst nature, it always fuels my soul. After 100% quarantining at home, fresh air truly makes me feel alive and grateful for the wonders that surround us and these hard times have made me appreciate all that even more. Living in Southern California you have too many beautiful places to explore and I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered Cedar Creek Falls, a breathtaking hike in San Diego. But what exactly makes this spot so fascinating? My kids and I decided to find out.

Cedar Creek Falls Trail

If you are looking for Where to go hiking in San Diego, Cedar Creek Falls, is absolutely a must place to go. (Elevation gain 600).

Location: 15519 Thornbush Rd Ramona, CA  92065 United States

A permit is required to enter the area. You need to purchase it prior to your visit at recreation.gov The permit is $6 for up to 5 people. (Price can vary) and you should print it out before your arrival.

We arrived there around 11:00 am in a completely sunny summer day and after drowning ourselves in sunscreen, we were ready for the adventure and of course some great exercise because the round trip is 6 miles so it’s very important to be aware that it’s a long trail so you need to be prepared with good sunscreen because there’s barely any shade. Better to look for one that contains titanium and zinc. Both ingredients when applied topically block the sun’s UVA and UVB radiation from being absorbed into your skin. ( they are broad-spectrum) 

hiking in San Diego
Cedar Creek Falls

What to Bring. Packing list

*Make sure you bring plenty of water. I highly recommend any participant to bring a light backpack with 2 or more litters of water.

*enough sunscreen, a brim hat and appropriate clothing and footwear.

*some easy to eat food, snacks such as energy bars, jerky, etcetera.

*bathing suit to jump into the water. Towel

*Program yourself to be there for at least 6 hours. 

It is such a pleasant experience to hike in this area surrounded by breathtaking views of the hills of eastern San Diego until getting to the marvelous secret spot, “the waterfall.” After a long walk we just wanted to jump into the water to get refreshed. 

What to avoid when visiting Cedar Creek Falls.

  • It’s probably not the best idea to do this trail during the summer to avoid dehydration or any heat- related illness. Temperatures can rise up to 90 degrees or more. We made the mistake to go when the sun was shining the most so that makes the hiking even harder, especially on the way back since it’s mostly uphill. So if you want to go during the summer, consider doing it early in the morning, before the temperature gets extreme.
  • This trail is not considered for beginners, and it requires to be in good physical condition to complete it. Not a good option for the little ones as well as older people or any person with any current or previous health problem.
  • Pets are allowed, however keep in mind that your dog must be phisically active to avoid exhaustion and dehydration.

Here is a short video about my experience.

After walking for 3 miles you will approach the canyon where you can hear the sounds of the waterfall. This was new for us, kind of a “pinch me moment” hiking in Southern California, ending up in a majestic waterfall in front of us! We had a great time swimming and admiring the environment. 

hiking in Southern California
hiking in San Diego

Cedar Creek Falls was definitely The Perfect escape to unplug!

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Cedar Creek Falls