Hiking recently became a hobby of mine. I never hiked while living in Pittsburgh so it wasn't something I thought I'd be into. I'm happy to say that I proved myself wrong. Not to mention it gets me out of bed early (If you know me, you know I love my sleep). All I can say is, once I started, I didn't want to stop.
My first hike was at Iron Mountain in Ramona, which was an uphill battle for me. Seriously, don't know why I couldn't put two and two together - Iron Mountain is an actual mountain... you tend to go uphill on mountains... yeah, it just wasn't clicking. But I couldn't tell you how relieved I was when I read about Cedar Creek Falls!
Click here to read reviews.
Apparently there are different ways to this hike, including several trails. I'm not entirely sure which side we took, but I believe we went on the Julian side.
The trail starts off over 1,000 ft. down hill with an overall 6 mile round trip hike. Once you reach the bottom of the hill, you walk straight to the falls. Which is pretty breathtaking when the fall actually has water (We got lucky).
The hike does require a permit that you can purchase online at recreation.gov; you can put multiple names on the permit at one time which is nice for groups. Remember to bring a gallon of water per person. It is a long hike down and in all honesty - bring a knife you're easily scared like me.
A quick little story...
One of the rangers working there said, "We saw some fresh paw prints on the trails this morning. Looked like mountain lion prints." (We got there around 7). I decided to laugh it off out of nervousness - this was only my second hike, mind you - and she quickly shut me up, "I'm not joking".
I was about to turn + say nuh uh, f that! But Evette assured me the lady was kidding, so we went through with the hike. Not going to lie, I was scared shitless. Like legitimately, every crack/noise I heard, I pictured this mountain lion stalking us two girls, getting ready to attack. I gripped my GoPole like it was some weapon of mass destruction... like TRY ME! Jk.
Anyways... So I quit freaking out and started enjoying the view - which looked like we were in Jurassic Park - the mountains, valleys, landscape.... all of it was something I've never seen before and I instantly felt happy. I mean, this was one of the reasons I moved to Calfornia. Deserts, mountains, the ocean... Califronia has it all + I was seeing something for the first time. I felt so grateful. [Just look at my face in the pics, I'm so happy lol].
Now back to the hike.
Once you get to the falls it's a giant pond with rocks and the waterfall encompassing the "bowl" - This area was given the name Devil's Punchbowl - there's a tree in the back right corner. Someone was nice enough to hang a rope from it so you can throw yourself into the water; you can swim or bring inflatables (thinking of which, why I didn't I have a swan floatie at the time?!)
My daredevil of a friend, Evette, wanted to get up on the rocks and take pictures; so of course I did the same. "Live a little!" is what I kept telling myself. And I'm so glad we did. The thrill of doing something slightly scary (considering I'm clumsy AF... imagining myself slipping and falling into the water) was worth it, especially since we captured it all on my GoPro ;)
All-in-all the hike wasn't too difficult. Going back up was the hardest part (obviously) - especially because there is no shade for half of the hike. Be sure to bring sunscreen, water and loose clothing and go during the winter/spring time.
I encourage you to go outside more and enjoy what's around you :)