Two East San Diego County hiking trails close due to heat

RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) - A looming heat wave in San Diego led the U.S. Forest Service to announce Tuesday a closure for two popular East County hiking trails this week.

Three Sisters and Cedar Creek Falls will be closed Thursday, July 5, through Monday, July 9.

The trails are very challenging under normal conditions but become dangerous during extreme heat, officials said.

RELATED: Hiker dies near Three Sisters Falls

Several fatalities occur each year and hundreds of victims require medical aid or air rescues, according to the Forest Service.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90’s this week..

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The Forest Service recently developed the first mile of Three Sisters Trail, giving hikers a more direct route to the falls and allowing them to bypass part of the trail which required rock climbing.

Three Sisters Falls:  With extremely steep slopes, a rugged and eroding trail, this hike is listed as strenuous to extreme and is suggested for those in good physical condition, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. There is no shade, little-to-no cell reception, and rocky, unstable terrain.

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Cedar Creek Falls: This 6.6-mile round trip trail is considered moderate to strenuous, and is recommended for intermediate to advanced hikers.  Since the canyon locks in heat, temperatures at the bottom can exceed 110 degrees while ground temperatures have commonly reached 135 during the summer.  This trail provides no shade or drinkable water sources, and the trek out is almost completely uphill.  Inexperienced hikers, or those looking to hike the trail for the first time, should not attempt it in the summer or on hot days.  

There are specific recommendations from the Sheriff's Department for hiking in the summer.

  • Buddy up - Walk or exercise with a partner.
  • Phone home - Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, and take your phone.
  • Drink up - Stay hydrated!  You'll need at least a gallon of water per person during a hike.
  • Dress for the heat - Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and bring a hat.
  • Take regular breaks - Find some shade where you can stop.
  • Leave your dog at home - Trails are not easy on the paws because they're littered with rocks.
  • Head inside - if the heat seems overwhelming, don't sweat it.
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