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Cedar Creek Falls



5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer out and back
85% Runnable


Ascent: 1,061' 323 m
Descent: -1,061' -324 m
High: 1,952' 595 m
Low: 946' 288 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 17% (9°)


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Trail shared by Matthew Kidd

This is San Diego’s most famous waterfall run.

Matthew Kidd

Features Swimming · Views · Waterfall


Most of this run is on a forest service road that is closed to vehicular traffic. Most runners go for the waterfall as the run to and from the waterfall is stark.

Need to Know

A permit is required since 2014. Take plenty of water. Dogs are permitted but strongly discouraged because several die every year from the heat.

There is very little shade and temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit from May through November. These conditions are clearly indicated at the trailhead where runners are told to carry one gallon of water. Several runners have died on this trail from heat stroke. Keep in mind that your return is a climb and that you'll likely be leaving near the hottest part of the day.

Runner Notes

Beware of heat exhaustion in the summer!


Starting at the trailhead, the trail descends gently along the Eagle Peak Road for roughly 2 miles before turning east and heading to the falls. This descent, while gradual, is exposed. This means that you have some nice views down into the river valley, but it also means that this section can be quite hot and dry.

At just over 2 miles, turn left onto the San Diego River Gorge Trail #2e04. This trail flattens out and winds along Cedar Creek, taking you to Cedar Creek Falls, a nearly 80-ft cascade that drops into a wide pool at the base of the falls. From the falls, visitors can enjoy their towering height and, during wet years, sizable flow.

After enjoying the falls, return to the trailhead the way you came, keeping in mind that the run out will be mostly uphill.

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Feb 24, 2018
Katie Rumsey
Downhill, cross dry San Diego River, straight at junction, cross Cedar Creek twice, falls moderate. Sprinkled rain. 5.6mi

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 10 votes


  4.0 from 10 votes
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in California


153 Views Last Month
3,213 Since Mar 29, 2017



Cedar Creek Falls is both beautiful and can provide some welcome shade depending on the time of day.
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA
The landscape on the way to Cedar Creek Falls is quite stark and dry.
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA
Strong warning to carry plenty of water!
Mar 30, 2017 near San Die…, CA


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