The Sheriff's Department is reminding the public to be safe when exploring caves or hiking in our mountain areas. San Diego County is under a heat advisory through Sunday. If you were thinking of hiking out to Cedar Creek Falls, please read this information carefully.
Permits are required to visit Cedar Creek Falls in the East County. To reserve a permit, visit www.recreation.gov.
There are only 29 parking spots on the trailhead off of Thornbush Road in Ramona. Cars blocking the road and driveway access will be towed at the owner's expense. Bringing or drinking alcohol in the area is not allowed. The cliffs surrounding the falls are closed to jumping and diving.
U.S. Forest Service Rangers and Sheriff's Deputies will strictly enforce the permit requirements and the ban on alcohol and cliff jumping. They will take appropriate law enforcement actions on violations of local, state and federal laws, which can include a citation up to an arrest and fines. County Ordinance 364.1 also allows for the reimbursement of emergency costs up to $12,000. To be clear, the fees only apply to those who break the law, for example rescue operations as a result of illegal drinking.
The trail to Cedar Creek Falls is a challenging five-and-a-half-mile hike with no shade from the sun. It is not for beginners. The return trip is mostly uphill. You will need at least a gallon of water to stay hydrated. Dress appropriately for the hike and know your limits. Leave your dog at home. This trail is not easy on the paws because it's littered with sharp rocks and the surface gets very hot.
Hiking or caving can be challenging and require technical skills of varying levels. Caves are dark, muddy, rocky and sometimes wet. People can become easily disoriented once deep inside. Caves are an easy place to get hurt, and no one will know if you're trapped if no one knows you're there.
Always remember, safety first. Tell someone you are going hiking, your destination and when you expect to return. This is to ensure that if something goes wrong or you don't return on time, a responsible party will know where to begin searching. Here are other safety tips.
• Never go hiking alone
• Know your limitations. Choose trails that match your level of physical fitness and areas where you are not going to get lost.
• Bring ample food, water, sunscreen, flashlight, map, GPS, first aid kit, multi-purpose tool or knife, whistle.
• Cell phone signal may be limited, but it's still good to have a fully charged phone in case you need to call for help.
• Wear proper clothing, boots, sunglasses, hat, gloves, helmet, etc.
The Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer unit. Together, they perform wilderness and urban rescues and search for missing persons. Teams are available 24 hours per day to respond to local, state and federal agency requests. To learn more about SAR, visit www.sdsheriff.net/volunteers.