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Cedar Creek Falls Closes Indefinitely Following Wednesday's Death of a Hiker

Law enforcement will be stationed at the trailhead, due to elevated health and safety concerns, reports the Forest Service.

Cedar Creek Falls hiking area is closed indefinitely following and

"We are looking at the elevated health and safety concerns," Brian Harris, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service told Patch Wednesday night.

Cedar Creek Falls is in Cleveland National Forest, bordering San Diego Country Estates in Ramona. Hundreds of people hike in the area every weekend from throughout San Diego county and beyond. Sheriff's Lt. Julie Sutton of the Ramona substation recently expressed concern about young people partying in the area now that they are on summer vacation.

Saul Villagomez, battalion chief with Ramona Fire Department, echoed that concern in an interview with Patch on Wednesday. See the attached video.

Harris said law enforcement will be stationed at the facilities Thursday morning, and both of the two trailheads will be closed.

He said the Forest Service will need to discuss the closure with its general counsel to determine how long the area will remain shut off to the public.

In Wednesday's accident, an El Cajon teen died after falling from a steep cliff, according to the medical examiner. Another teen was taken to Palomar Medical Center.

It's reported that the teen fell—and did not jump. There have been no indications that he had alcohol in his system.

Villagomez told Patch that some people party with alcohol and then take the plunge, which can cause serious injuries over summer when the water is low.

Cedar Creek Falls is considered one of the most popular hiking locations in San Diego County.

Miriam Raftery July 08, 2011 at 10:51 PM
There's a lot of room between the extremes you describe and doing nothing. Yosemite is a place where people are allowed to hike to the base or top of waterfalls. There is no glass and no fee (other than a basic park entry fee), nor anything commercial other than a trail that's relatively safe and maintained. There are signs warning people about dangers at the top and rails in the most deadly places. I'm bothered by those who think it's wrong to make these beautiful places accessible to more people. San Diego has multiple falls. Why not have one accessible to folks who may be older or don't want to slip and slide down a trail like Three Sisters, while having others remain wilderness experiences for the rugged types? It's elitist to suggest that only the most physically fit and experienced hikers should have a chance to visit falls. As for the kid-bashing, not all teens go there to drink or be daredevils I hiked to the top of my first waterfall (in Yosemite) at 19; what a thrill and feeling of accomplishment. Our young people need more opportunities like that, not less. But we as adults also have a responsibility to make sure teens who go there are informed about the risks and rules, to help keep them safe without taking away the wonderful experience. Having a ranger to enforce rules against those who engage in dangerous activities should be done; a wise idea anyway to be sure no careless cigarette starts another Cedar Fire.
Kevin Hippensteel July 08, 2011 at 11:38 PM
I like Mirianm's post. I've hiked many of the trails in Yosemite and enjoyed them all. But then Yosemite doesn't normally have the yahoo's that sometimes go down to the punch bowl. I would rather pay a few bucks to hike it and have a ranger just keeping things from getting out of hand than close it. ther was a ranger there two weeks ago for about 10 minutes. I asked her for a trash bag so I could pick up cans and she just walked away. Good thing one of the other hikers had a trash bag and with in 5 minutes I had about 95% of the trash picked up.
rkalk July 09, 2011 at 02:35 AM
No one knows if alcohol was involved yet. when it says he was with his family he was with cousins not mom and pops so drinking could have been involved or not. Either way it's bs they are shutting down the hike long term because of this tragedy.
capriedee July 09, 2011 at 09:40 AM
For years I thought that Cedar Creek Falls was Devild Punchbowl. I lived up on Thornbush and took my first hike there a few years back. This was before they did all the work to it. It was certainly not easy to get back up that steep climb, but afterwards I realized why everyone goes down there. Then my Dad found it necessary to burst my bubble when I told him I finally went to Devils punchbowl. Cedar Creek Falls and Devils punchbowl are two different places. Both of them are down in that canyon but the punchbowl is almost twice as far as the Falls. If you look it up in Thomas Bros you can see it. May even show it in google maps. But mostly, its a nice trivia fact to tell all your friends when the "punchbowl" is brought up. More likely than not, more than 90% of the people that think they went to the punchbowl, went to Cedar Creek Falls. (Just thought I should point that out)
Trail Hiker December 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Well now the family is suing the forest service and there is a high likelihood that they will close the whole area indefinitely. After all someone has to be responsible for you when you walk out your front door and do stupid things.

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