Special Places

 

You'll find many special places on the Cleveland National Forest: Wilderness areas, recreation areas, peaks and popular travel corridors.  This page features places that offer an extraordinary experience.

Highlighted Areas

Pacific Crest Trail - Kitchen Creek Falls

Pacific Crest Trail - Kitchen Creek PCT South to Kitchen Creek Falls

Trail Views

Elevation Gain

750

Distance

3.6 miles roundtrip

Pets Allowed

Yes

Fees

None

Hike/Ride Time

2 to 3 hours

Difficulty

Easy to Moderate

Best Seasons

Fall, Spring, Winter - Not recommended for Summer

Location

 

Ranger District

Descanso Ranger District - (619) 445-6235


This short and easy trail is a great start for beginners or those new to the PCT. With 3.6 miles and total elevation gain of 750, this trail is relatively flat with only moderate incline. Hiking south from the Kitchen Creek parking area, the trail takes travelers to the top of the falls for great views of the valley before descending down a social trail to the bottom. This trail is well-groomed and well marked, taking place almost entirely on maintained grounds unless heading down to the falls. If hikers are looking for a good camping spot, many prefer to setup camp at the bottom. Though this 3 mile round trip is marked as fairly easy, hiking during the summer months is not recommended as this are can get extremely hot. It is recommended that hikers bring enough water (roughly 2 to 3 liters per person) as heat-related rescues are common in this area and deaths have occurred.

For a list of other PCT hikes, please see our designated Pacific Crest Trail page. For a list of other hikes in your area, please see our Recreation Trail Guide.

Link to Map: https://goo.gl/maps/H7sQheioK7n


Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls

Trail Views

Elevation Gain

600

Distance

6.6 miles round trip

Pets Allowed

Yes - with proper supplies

Fees

$10 per permit/up to 5 people; purchase at www.recreation.gov

Hike Time

Up to 6 hours

Difficulty

Moderate; Not recommended for beginners

Best Seasons

Spring and Fall; During the cooler months

Location

Ramona, CA

Ranger District

Palomar Ranger District - (760) 788-0250


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 falls typically do not run during the summer months when the pool at the base of the falls is stagnant and filled with algae

This San Diego landmark location offers much in the way of beautiful scenery, great exercise and a natural watering hole. However, this is not a trail recommended for beginners as it can prove extremely difficult, especially during summer months, with a roundtrip journey that can last up to 6 hours. Those who do not bring enough water and supplies often succumb to heat related illness. It is important to assess physical condition before beginning this or any hike. Please take the time to read our Know Before you Go article for important tips and information. Or for a quick overview, check out our Cedar Creek Infographic.

For a list of more trails to explore in your area, please see our Recreation Trail Guide