Mildred Falls

Cleveland National Forest / Julian, California, USA

About Mildred Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2008-02-16
Date last visited: 2008-02-16

Waterfall Latitude: 33.01394
Waterfall Longitude: -116.71496

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Mildred Falls was an ephemeral waterfall that appeared to have a very short life.

I’ve witnessed this waterfall on two separate occasions.

The first time I showed up was on the second dry day after a freak Valentine’s Day snow storm hit the Julian area in 2008.

Cedar_Creek_Falls_034_02162008 - Mildred Falls when it's flowing
Mildred Falls when it’s flowing

The result is the photo you see above, which I suspect would be at or near peak flow.

On a second visit many years later, we showed up a little over two weeks after some saturation storms hit the area with snow at the start of January in 2016.

In that latter visit, all that was left of the waterfall were streaks on the rock wall where it was supposed to be.

So this wouldn’t be a waterfall I’d go out of my way for, but I tend to think of it as a bonus waterfall on the way to Cedar Creek Falls if coming from the Julian side.

In fact, you can argue that the chance to see Mildred Falls was one of the advantages of favoring the Julian side of the trail as opposed to the Ramona side.

Cedar_Creek_Falls_038_01232016 - Mildred Falls and its ravine when it's not flowing
Mildred Falls and its ravine when it’s not flowing

Anyways, we didn’t need to exert ourselves much to see Mildred Falls because we could see it barely a couple of minutes into the Cedar Creek Falls hike from the Saddleback Trailhead.

Of course, as we hiked further down the Cedar Creek Falls Trail, we could see Mildred Falls at different angles.

We could also follow Mildred Falls’ stream as it continued its descent into the San Diego River basin further below.

I’ve read that this waterfall could be on the order of 200-300ft tall, but there’s also a series of slopes immediately below the main plunge.

So it’s conceivable that this temporary waterfall could be considered to be even taller!


Mildred Falls resides in the Cleveland National Forest near Julian in San Diego County, California. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions and permits, visit their website or Facebook page.

Cedar_Creek_Falls_002_02162008 - Context view of Mildred Falls from the Cedar Creek Falls trailhead
Cedar_Creek_Falls_025_02162008 - More direct context view of Mildred Falls from further along the trail
Cedar_Creek_Falls_027_02162008 - Zoomed in on Mildred Falls
Cedar_Creek_Falls_143_02162008 - Later on the same morning, it seemed to us that Mildred Falls' flow was already starting to slow down, which indicated to me that this waterfall probably wouldn't last more than a few days
Cedar_Creek_Falls_036_02162008 - Context of Mildred Falls as we went further down the Saddleback Trail
Cedar_Creek_Falls_039_02162008 - More focused direct look at a flowing Mildred Falls
Cedar_Creek_Falls_005_01232016 - Just to give you an idea of how temporary Mildred Falls is, here's a contextual look at the falls two dry weeks after the last snow storm
Cedar_Creek_Falls_029_01232016 - Closer look at what was left of Mildred Falls

Since Mildred Falls can be seen at the Cedar Creek Falls trailhead at the end of Eagle Peak Road (i.e. the Julian), see the Cedar Creek Falls page for driving directions.

That said, if you’re trying to time your visit to see this waterfall flowing, it’s worth noting that the access roads from Julian (via Pine Hill Road and Eagle Peak Road) may be a bit on the wet and muddy side, especially after a heavy snow accumulation.

Generally, these roads are passable to passenger cars, but it is something to be aware of under such wetter conditions.

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Tagged with: cleveland, national forest, julian, san diego, southern california, california, waterfall, saddleback trail, temporary, ephemeral

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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