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California Rivers

San Diego River & Cedar Creek

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"Waterfalls" are not usually the first thing that most people think of when they visit the San Diego area, but the mountains and river canyons eastern San Diego County create some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state.

And the upper San Diego River and its tributary, Cedar Creek, offer some of the most scenic cascades in a region of waterfalls. Upstream of El Capitan reservoir (which supplies drinking water to much of San Diego), the San Diego River flows through a rugged and virtually trail-less canyon. The river tumbles over numerous granite ledges, creating spectacular waterfalls and deep pools for those with the wilderness skills and physical stamina to explore them.

Cedar Creek, and its 100 foot-high waterfall, is more popular due to its accessibility via a two mile-long trail (actually a fire road). The best time to visit Cedar Creek Falls is during the Spring, when the flow over the falls is at its peak, and wildflowers dot the ridge-top access trail. The trail provides great views of the inaccessible San Diego River canyon to the north, as well as Cedar Creek to the south.

How To Get There

San Diego River Locator Map

From the town of Julian, drive two miles west on Hwys 78/79, turn left (south) on Pine Hills Road. Proceed 1.5 miles, bear right on Eagle Peak Road. Proceed 1.4 miles, bear right again to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Proceed another 8 miles on partly paved and partly dirt road to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

 

Recreation And Visitor Information
For maps and additional recreation information, contact the Forest Service's Palomar Ranger Station at 1634 Black Canyon Road, Ramona CA 92065, phone: (760) 788-0250.

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