Story and photos by Billy Ortiz
February 17, 2012 (Kitchen Creek) -- The name Kitchen Creek brings up many thoughts of times gone by. One can only imagine gold miners giving this creek its name.
My friends and I came to the falls in mid-May 2011. We had some good rains earlier in the year and we wanted to wait for the waters to be calm and clear. I think we timed it just right. The hot dusty trail soon gave way to the sound of water rushing over the smoothly polished gray rock in a tranquil and serene setting. Although it is high desert, the steep rocky mountains side give way to a lush oasis along the creek bed.
The trail comes down to the calm waters of Kitchen Creek, but soon you discover the 150 foot plus drop off that is the Kitchen Creek Falls. This time of year the water was calm, but you can imagine the roar it must make after a few good rains.
Later, we found ourselves heading upstream from the falls where we were greeted by several pools of clear refreshing water one of which we decided to splash around in and cool off a bit before we headed home.
I look forward to visiting Kitchen Creek again--but next time it will be hopefully after a rain storm when the waters are rushing down the falls.
You can easily find Kitchen Creek Falls by following the Pacific Crest Trail. The staging area for this hike is 1 1/2 miles east of the Buckman Springs turn off on Old Highway 80, about 50 miles east of San Diego. The hike from staging area to the falls is about an hour and a half walk; terrain is mild moderate easily negotiated by even the little ones.