The (April) hike to Cedar Creek Falls was lined with wildflowers sprouting from the recent rains in March. I could have been happy just walking around to see the colorful variety, but the falls beckoned! The amazing sight has just opened again to visitors, although now you must have a permit.
This is the perfect weather and water flow before it gets hot in June. There is a lot of water coming over the falls now; but there was less rain and snow this year, which will effect the amount of water as we approach summer. If there is rain before your trip, expect the creek below the falls to be higher, cold, and tricky to cross.
But now you'll need to plan ahead for the opportunity. Access is now limited because of past overcrowding and injuries from jumping or falling from the cliffs. Only 75 permits ($6 each) for individuals and/or groups of up to five people are available each day, by reservation, online at www.recreation.gov. I always like mid-week, because there are fewer hikers; but with the new system, it remains to be seen what effect it will have.
There are only 29 parking spots on the trailhead off of Thornbush Road. Cars blocking road and driveway access are towed at owner's expense. The cliffs surrounding the falls are closed to jumping and diving. Swimming is allowed.
The trail to Cedar Creek Falls is not for beginners. It's a 5 1/2 mile hike... with no shade from the sun. Returning is harder, as it's mostly uphill. Taking at least a gallon of drinking water is recommended. Good walking footwear is a must. Leave your dog at home. This trail is not easy on the paws because of sharp rocks and it can get very hot. This area is remote.
Right now, the pool at the bottom of the falls is clear, and cold! The granite boulders on the edges are a great "warm-up" spot, and the tall trees can give a lot of shade.
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