Cedar Creek Falls aka Devil’s Punchbowl

I finally made it to Devil’s Punchbowl last Friday. I’ve been putting it off for a while because 1) school takes over a majority of my life, 2) the drive (~50min from where I live), and 3) the rattlesnakes. The trail is about 6 miles round trip. I started from the west entrance (Ramona, CA), and I read online that the east entrance (Julian, CA) seems a little shorter…but don’t quote me on that!
BEFORE YOU GO – make sure you buy a permit online at recreation.gov. It will cost $6 and you can add up to 5 people on the permit. I actually bought it online from home and screenshot the permit on my phone instead of printing. I got there in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful and it wasn’t too hot out (high 60s). I brought a 1 gallon jug of water (shared between my boyfriend and I – although the state recommends bringing 1 gallon per person), some nuts and fruit, and my first aid kit. The hike down to the falls was pretty easy! Mainly flat and/or downhill. About every quarter mile there is a sign letting you know how far it is to Cedar Creek or Ramona. The trail is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. There was one part of the trail that was kind of weird and seemed to go in three directions – when you hit this just keep going straight.
When we reached the “punchbowl” there were already several people hanging out. This one group of men decided to climb the rocks where the water runs down for a group photo, and some of them jumped off the rocks (left side of the pic) into the water and even got their girlfriends to do it. I didn’t test it out myself but everyone said the water was freezing! My boyfriend ended up jumping in as well. I definitely want to come back when it’s warmer and jump in! The hike back up was ok until we reached the hills – any activity that involves moving uphill makes me feel like a fat kid on the inside. I work out regularly (or at least try to with my crazy school schedule) and the hike back up made me feel so out of shape. There was a point where my boyfriend was like, “oh my gosh” and gasped. I thought he was joking with me but then I looked to where he was pointing and saw the tail of a rattlesnake about 3 yards away from us!!! Eeeek! I was frozen…it scared the crap out of me! Luckily it was moving away from the trail but holy moly. I’ve never seen a rattlesnake (or part of a rattlesnake) in real life. I wish I had gotten a pic but I was too scared to move. Other than that, the trail wasn’t bad at all, and the falls is definitely a rewarding end to the hike!
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