Cedar Creek Falls is an amazing seasonal waterfall and a great hike in the San Diego area. It plunges down 80 feet into a deep swimming hole known as the Devils Punchbowl. The fairly strenuous 3-mile trail winds through the chaparral hills of eastern San Diego County. Heat is always something to consider before doing this hike, no matter the season. As you descend into the valley, expect a 10 degree temperature rise. In the summer, temperatures can exceed 115 degrees!
The hike to the falls is all downhill. There is a shaded, rocky area in front where you can relax and cool off. Although there is no cliff jumping or diving, you are allowed to swim. Watch out for poison oak by the water as well as cacti branches that fall off of the cliff into the water and can be hard to notice. Some other plants you may see in this area include the poisonous poodle dog bush, catclaw acacia, scrub oak, yucca, California buckwheat, and a lot of sage. The riparian area is home to endangered species such as the arroyo toad. Other animals like foxes, quail, mountain lions, and deer use streams and pools for drinking water.
Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunblock. It is recommended that you bring one gallon of water per person. Permits are required to visit the falls, and they must be purchased in advance here.