XEROX Mountaineering & Backpacking Club

Cedar Creek Falls Exploratory* Dayhike June 10th, 1989

What: Dayhike to one of San Diego’s hidden treasures, Cedar Creek Falls.

When: Saturday June 10th, start time 10:00am ( if enough people are interested, we could meet for breakfast in Julian beforehand.

Statistics: Rating Moderate. elevation gain 1,200 ft ; 4.5 miles round trip ; Hiking Time: Approx 2.5 hrs Trail conditions unknown between top of falls down to pool. Could be steep & rough. (An easier alternate route is available; to be decided upon, once we reach that spot.)

Route and highlights: From Parking area, go west on the road that leads along the edge of the canyon containing Ritchie Creek. Mildred Falls, beautifully visible up the canyon is arguably San Diego County’s highest, at more than 100 feet. Unfortunately, it’s often little more than a dark stain on an orange-tinted cliff. Several small reservoirs upstream squelch the flow to a trickle most of the time. In flood, however, it is a truely awesome sight. The road winds farther west, offering a splendid view of the upper San Diego River canyon, then turns south on a long descent to the river bed. At 1.0 mile a severe washout, which has gone unrepaired for several years, blocks vehicle traffic. At 1.4 miles (1270’), Take the spur road that goes to the left (southeast) over a low saddle into the Cedar Creek drainage. Descend to the bank of the creek and follow to the road’s end. A few flat spots provide possible camping areas. The brink of the fall lies just below. Be extremely cautious, and don’t peer over the top from the slippery rock in the creek bed. Longtime San diego hiker Uel Fisk remembers quite vividly watching one of his classmates fall to her death from this brink in 1926. You can work your way with some difficulty over the north wall of the canyon and drop down to the bottom of the falls. A large, flat topped rock outcrop along the way gives a dizzying view of the 90 foot high cascade of water, the deep pool, and the cottonwoods below. The punchbowl at the bottom is perhaps 50 feet across and 20 feet deep.

Helix Water District controls land below the 995 foot contour in the San Diego River drainage north of El Capitan Reservoir, including the lower reaches of Cedar Creek. The area is well posted with NO TRESPASSING signs. Curiously, the boundary of this withdrawal within the national forest was to have coincided with the level of El Capitan Reservoir at maximum storage. The original plans for the dam were scaled down, and today the maximum level stands at only 750 feet. Since the 995 foot contour passes just below the deep pool at Cedar Creek Falls, the only legal access to the pool and falls is from above.

Topo Map: USGS 7.5 min Santa Ysabel, Tule Springs

Reference: "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County", 1986, Jerry Schad, p.98.

Bring: "Ten essentials" (ask if ??), jackets, lunch, water (qt), insect repellent, bathing suit, towel, etc..

Driving Details: Take Interstate 5 south until you reach 78 E (south of Oceanside) (approx 90 miles), take this east through Ramona towards Santa Ysabel and Julian ( Approx 70 miles) . Six miles east of Santa Ysabel and one mile short of (west of) Julian turn south on Pine Hills Road. After 1.5 miles, bear to the right on Eagle Peak Road. After 1.4 more miles, veer right on Eagle Peak Road (Boulder Creek Road goes left). Now you face 8.2 miles of progressively poorer dirt road (watch for other members here - if the road’s really bad, we’ll carpool in whatever’s best suited) At 7.7 miles, you come to a eucalyptus grove and a cattle grate. Proceed down hill another 0.5 mile to "Saddleback," a four way junction of roads on national forest land. Park here.

Allow 3 hours minimum driving time from the South Bay. Please be at trail head by 10 am.

Leaders: Jack Cook: W:(213)333-5214, H:(213)371-2706, E-Mail: JCook:El Segundo; Charysse Sweet: w:(619)695-7890,.H:(619)491-0648. E-Mail:CSWEE:SDDTP

Miscellany: Write or call a leader if you plan to come; then you can be kept informed of last minute changes. Let us help if you need a ride or can offer a ride. Bad weather will cancel. Call about children. Dogs should be ok with possible exception of section between top of falls & bottom. Swimming may be possible.

See you there!!!

* "Exploratory" means we have little or no first-hand knowledge of the hike conditions. We believe it should be as described; however, there is a greater possibility of unexpected conditions. which could alter the nature of the outing Therefore, these trips are recommended principally for the more adventurous.