Stomping around San Diego: Cedar Creek Falls


Carson Linxwiler

During spring break Photo Editor Carson Linxwiler ’18 ventures to Ramona, California, where a long, dusty trail leads to Cedar Creek Falls.

Carson Linxwiler , Photo Editor

Descending onto the trail, I found my first encounter with the choke of the soft desert wind. Prevailing from the northwest, the wind brought with it the first tendrils of summer, wrapping me in the heat of the noon day sun.

It was the promise of cool water that drove my friend and me to the western edge of the Cleveland National Forest in Ramona, California. Leaving the cool comforts of Carmel Valley behind us, we ventured east in search of waterfalls, swollen from this year’s historic rainfall.

The watering hole we were questing towards bore the name Cedar Creek Falls, and with our required permit in hand, we set off.

The hike began with a lazy set of switchbacks that wound their way towards the valley floor. On the exposed mountain face, the warm breeze carried dust from the ground below. Every corner featured stunning vistas of the Ramona foothills.

The sides of the valleys were awash with wildflowers, which brought with them the hum of various bees and insects.

Our trek down to the valley floor was short, and it was not long before we had our first encounter with Cedar Creek and our first obstacle.

Coming around a bend in the now sparsely wooded trail, a stark contrast from where we had begun, we heard the rush of a swiftly flowing stream. Playing a game of elaborate hop scotch we made our way across the first of ultimately three streams that we would need to cross.

After our third stream crossing it was not long before we came up upon the falls.

Towering up to what seemed to be almost one hundred feet was a torrent of cascading water which found its way into a large pool. The water was clear and blue and looked inviting after our warm hike. We wasted no time getting in, and a small leap off of a boulder found me swimming right up to the falls.

The water was cool and refreshing and the boulders staggered around the edges of the water provided the perfect area for a relaxing nap. After spending a few hours swimming around, eating lunch, and sunbathing, it was time to begin the grueling uphill hike.

We trudged uphill for what seemed like hours, each step hotter than the first. The weight of our packs was finally beginning to become apparent as we neared the end of the climb.

After a few hundred more steps, dusty and sweaty, we made it back to our car, ready to jump back into the falls.

The Cedar Creek Falls are among one of San Diego’s most beautiful treasures, and to some may seem unfathomable in their existence to its proximity to the city.  San Diego has so many hidden gems that are begging to be explored. This summer, grab a pack and a friend and go hiking!

Happy Hiking,