Help Ukraine 🇺🇦 during the Russian invasion
Here are the best ways to support Ukraine through these challenging times. Read more
Best time to travel to San Diego

Cedar Creek Falls

One of the most popular watefalls in San Diego County


Last updated:
reason default image
See all
See accommodations nearby

Picturesque Cedar Creek Falls is located in Cleveland National Forest of eastern San Diego. The waterfall, which is about 100 feet (30 m) tall, plunges into a large pool, which attracts many swimmers in the summer.

Cedar Creek Falls can be reached by two short trails, both under 5 miles (8 km) and with an elevation gain of about 1000 ft (304 m). The west trailhead at 15519 Thornbush Road can be reached from Ramona, while the east trailhead at the Saddleback Hill can be reached from Julian. Cedar Creek Falls is so popular that Cleveland National Forest has to implement a permit system to keep it from being overcrowded.

When is the best time to visit Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls is highly seasonal. It looks the best during the rainy winter and in early spring. In the drier time of the year, it gets dramatically reduced or even dries out completely. By mid-May, the flow usually gets really weak. Also, in the summer months, it's harder to hike to the falls due to exposure to the sun. Additionally, you can expect larger crowds during warmer months since the pool at the base of the falls is a popular swimming hole.

Things to do at Cedar Creek Falls

Cleveland National Forest offers an array of outdoor activities all year round which includes fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, and hiking. San Diego River Gorge Area and Three Sisters Falls are among the most popular hikes in the area. There are numerous picnic sites and scenic outlooks, like Henshaw Scenic Vista Observation Site.

Where to stay at Cedar Creek Falls

Nearby Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Cleveland National Forest operate a few campgrounds, most of which are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most campsites charge a user fee to stay overnight. The campsites nearest to Cedar Creek Falls are Paso Picacho Campground, Green Valley Campground, and Laguna Campground.

Practical info

How far is the walk to Cedar Creek Falls?

5.4 miles (8.7 km)

Can you swim at Three Sisters Falls?

Both Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Falls are popular with swimmers

Are dogs allowed on Cedar Creek Falls Trail?

Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash

Ask a question