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part ofCleveland National Forest, US Forest Service


A visitor use permit is required to visit the Cedar Creek Falls Visitor Use Permit Area. Cedar Creek Falls is a spectacular waterfall plunging 80 feet into a large pool of water. The trails to Cedar Creek Falls lead hikers through the beautiful backcountry hills of eastern San Diego. The chaparral plant community provides habitat for bird watching. Water levels at the falls vary substantially throughout the year. The falls typically do not run during the summer months when the pool at the base of the falls is stagnant and filled with algae.

Know Before You Go

Visitors must have proof of permit in their possession while in the visitor permit area. All visitors must be listed on the visitor use permit and must carry government issued photo identification (except dependent minors whose parents are present).

  • ALL CLIFF AREAS AROUND THE FALLS ARE CLOSED (No climbing, jumping, or diving anywhere along the cliffs adjacent to or near the falls).
  • No alcohol is allowed in the Cedar Creek Falls area, including at the trailheads and along the trails.
  • Campfires are prohibited throughout this area.
  • It strongly recommended that visitors bring a printed copy of the permit for their visit. Failure to provide proof of permit while in permit area will result in a citation. USDA Forest Service is not responsible for failure of mobile devices and there is no cell signal at or near the falls area.

Local Weather Conditions: Summer temperatures in this area frequently exceed 115° Fahrenheit. Bring a minimum of one gallon of water per person to avoid dehydration and heat-related illness.

The Hike to Cedar Creek Falls: The hike to Cedar Creek Falls is a challenging six miles round-trip. Visitors on their way to the falls travel downhill on a trail with no shade. The strenuous hike from Cedar Creek Falls back up to both trailheads requires more than two miles of consistent, challenging uphill hiking.

This hike is not advised for those who are not regularly active or anyone with previous health conditions that can be aggravated by heat or intense physical activity.

Dogs are not advised in this area due to the high number of canine deaths caused by heat stroke each year. Heat stroke is a life threating emergency for dogs. Conditions that lead to heat stroke in dogs include exercising in hot weather in areas without shade.

Contact Information

Palomar Ranger District Office
1634 Black Canyon Road
Ramona, CA 92065
Ph: 760-788-0250
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