Located roughly 40 miles from San Diego is a town called Ramona. Known for it's wine and thoroughbred horses , Ramona is also home to many hikes, including the infamous Potato Chip Rock, among several others. If you find yourself ready to get on the trail, and the parking lots of the surrounding hikes are jam-packed, look no further than Cedar Creek Falls.
Now, this hike does require a permit- which can be obtained online here . For $10, you can bring a group of up to 5 friends, and they allow a maximum entry of up to 75 hikers per day. Although it seems like a lot, this is the only hike that requires a permit, so just you're donating to the conservation of the earth 😉.
Upon arrival to Cedar Creek Falls, there is ample parking for everyone. Make sure to bring your ID along with your permit to check in at the tent right before the trail, and use the port-o-john if need be. It is recommended to bring at least one gallon of water per person, sunscreen, some snacks, and lightweight clothing as the weather here can creep into triple-digits during summer months. It goes without saying, but exercise precautions as necessary.
The actual trail is 5.2 miles, and begins with an easy stroll on a well maintained path, offering you a chance to get in the rhythm. Over a few miles, the trail gradually declines 1,000 ft. toward the canyon. You will be rewarded with a large, flowing, waterf-- oh, wait: Just kidding!
Unfortunately we missed out on the waterfall part. We went in early September so there wasn't a whole lot to see (go during winter to see when the falls are actually flowing.) After our journey, we relaxed underneath the shade of trees atop a boulder, soaking in the beauty around us. Accompanied by a couple other groups of hikers, we debated whether or not to go for a swim. When a bunch of little kids entered the water we knew we had to, so we stripped down to our shorts and took the plunge. It was well worth it. Now, across the pond there is a rope to swing from, but we wouldn't recommended it because the water around the edges is rather shallow.
After drying off, we headed back up the trail, traversing up the mild incline. We finished right on tine as the heat was definitely increasing, and we were eager to get some grub. Overall, the hike took us around 3 hours total to complete.