Scheduled Hikes for 2009

   Cedar Creek Falls

Date:   April 19, 2009  09:00 AM -  05:00 PM
Hike Group:   San Diego Trail Tramps
Info. URL:   None
Location:   Central San Diego County, San Diego River tributary, SW of Julian. (Cedar Creek runs into the San Diego River east of San Diego Country Estates & Ramona.)

Directions: Drive to Pine Hills Road, which intersects Highway 78 about 1 mile west of Julian, and turn south. After 1.5 miles on Pine Hills Road, bear right on Eagle Peak Road. After 1.4 more miles, veer right again, staying on Eagle Peak Road. Next comes 8.2 miles of progressively poorer dirt road, parts of which become slippery and muddy in wet weather. At the end, you come to the Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead (Adventure Pass (parking permit) required by the US Forest Service on all national forest land. It's $5 for a day pass, $30 for an annual pass and $5 for a 2nd vehicle annual pass. So double up with a buddy and split the $35 so you each get an annual pass. ;^).

 Description:  Hiking distance is 4.5 miles round trip, out and back. Hike time is about 2.5 hrs. round trip, and elevation gain/loss is 1200'/1200'. Dogs are allowed on marked trails and obvious routes, and the terrain is easy to moderate.

Upper tributaries of the San Diego River drain valleys and hillsides around Julian, and the rugged western slopes of the Cuyamaca Mountains, flowing southwest thru canyons to El Capitan Reservoir. Cedar Creek Falls is one of San Diego County's hidden treasures, tucked back in a tributary of the upper San Diego River. Starting from the Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead at the end of Eagle Peak Road (a spot labeled "Saddleback" on the topo map), hike downhill on a former fire road, now the designated trail leading toward the falls. As you descend, look up the canyon to the north (Ritchie Creek Canyon) to see Mildred Falls, the county's highest at more than 100 feet. As the trail winds west and later south, there's a splendid view of the V-shaped upper San Diego River Canyon.

At 1.4 miles into the hike, you can take the spur trail (again, a former fire road) going left (southeast) over a low saddle and down into the Cedar Creek drainage at a point just above the falls. By clambering up the slope to the right of where the water makes its plunge, it's possible to get a good glimpse of the 90' high cascade and the cotton-wood framed "punchbowl" at the bottom.

Many people obviously make the steep traverse down from the ridge toward the pool at the bottom. If you do so, you may find it easier to return to the trailhead by following Cedar Creek to its confluence with the San Diego River. There you can swing to the right and pick up the old roadbed (trail) going uphill to the trailhead at Saddleback.

As usual, we'll meet in Hillcrest at 8:45 am to arrange carpools, then depart at 9 am sharp. The drive out to the hike area is about 1.5 - 2 hrs.

(Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and maps to print out.) .

For those who want more info. on the area, check out Jerry Schad's book "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" © 2007, Chapter 20, Mountains: upper San Diego River, Trip 4: Cedar Creek Falls, pp. 208-209. Map, page 204.

To view some fun videos on Cedar Creek Falls, go to YouTube: