Weather :

Distance : 0.33-mile on out and back trails

Hiking Time : 30 minutes

Nearest Transit Hub :  Highway 74

Permit :  Cleveland National Forest Adventure Permit

Parking : Side of the road

Best time to visit : Spring and Winter

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Ortega Falls, San Diego Overview

Situated just off the Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains, this ephemeral cascade flows from a height of about 35 ft into a beautiful swimming hole. Protected by the Cleveland National Forest, this gorgeous mountain has a rock amphitheatre which encloses this white cascade providing a beautiful backdrop for the scenery. Plan your visit after an adequate amount of rainfall received in the area to enjoy a calm swim at the base of the waterfall as the falls run dry in summers making the swimming hole stagnant and parched.

You can explore further downstream of the main cascade through multiple unmarked trails to find a series of three small waterfalls. Begin your hike from the trailhead just off the highway keeping open to small key landmarks like a candy store and an ‘S’ shaped turn to reach the trailhead to this otherwise eluded waterfall. You can easily see a part of the falls at the start of your hike and can follow the trail leading up to it through the long bushes. A popular rock-climbing spot during off-seasons, this waterfall because of its easy hike is an ideal picnic and gateway spot for its visitors.

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