Share:

Cottonwood Creek Falls

San Diego Metro Area, California

Start Exploring
Cottonwood Creek Falls

Share:

Advertisement
  • View to the east from the trail.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • The trail follows Cottonwood Creek to the falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • View to the northeast from the trail.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Cottonwood Creek.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Cottonwood Creek.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • The first cascade at Cottonwood Creek Falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Cottonwood Creek Falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • View of the canyon and Cottonwood Creek.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Cottonwood Creek Falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Cottonwood Creek Falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • View to the south overlooking Cottonwood Creek Falls.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • View of the trail on the way back.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Sugar sumac growing along the trail.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Sugar sumac growing along the trail.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Wild Cucumber Fruit.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
  • Wild Cucumber Fruit.- Cottonwood Creek Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Waterfalls. Swimming holes.
Cons: 
Extreme summer temperatures.
Advertisement
Region:
San Diego Metro Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
4,460.00 ft (1,359.41 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Total elevation gain: 
530.00 ft (161.54 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,460.00 ft (1,359.41 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

Cottonwood Creek Falls is a little-known gem tucked away in the southwestern corner of the Laguna Mountains. Although it is not as visually striking as Cedar Creek Falls or Three Sisters Waterfall, it is still well-worth the trip for the swimming holes and canyon views. The best time to visit is during late winter and early spring, especially after heavy rains. Due to the arid climate, the falls usually dry up during the summer and remain dry through the fall.

The trailhead is located by the eastern turnout on Sunrise Highway between mile-markers 15.3 and 15.4. Follow the overgrown path under the power lines down into the valley, and then turn left at the intersection. Cottonwood Creek Falls are located up the canyon and require some scrambling to reach. The swimming holes, which can be up to 4 feet deep, are a refreshing place to cool off before heading back.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
Become a pioneer and be the first to add this adventure to your Bucket List
Who's Done It
Have you done this adventure? If so, be the first to check this adventure off your list.
Submission by
Sponsored Contributor
60 Adventures Explored
44 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info