||Heading east on CA-78 out of Santa Ysabel, look for the right-hand (south) turnoff to Pine Hills (Pine Hills Rd.) about 6 miles east of Santa Ysabel (or just about a mile downhill from the intersection with CA-79 in Julian). Follow Pine Hills Rd. for about 1.5 miles until Boulder Creek Rd. splits off to the right. Follow Boulder Creek Rd., past the junction with Eagle Peak Rd. to the right (do not take this road--see below), until it turns to well-graded dirt, about 4 miles after leaving Pine Hills Rd. About another 5 miles on the dirt brings you to a switchback and intersection with Cedar Creek Rd., and the trailhead. On nice weekends, the route towards Julian can be crowded.
THREATENED WITH CLOSURE by the CNF. Learn about the proposed closures and find out how you can help through the local Access Fund Affiliate at www.alliedclimbers.org
You need an Adventure Pass to park at the trailhead, otherwise you'll be purchasing a one-day permit via the forest service's "instant membership" drive when the ranger passes by the parking area. They are diligent in the headwaters.
There's a really convenient Cleveland National Forest Service ranger station on I-8 just on the east side of Alpine. They'll be glad to take your check. I'm not sure about where they are on the north approach, but Ramona is frequently on the way:
Descanso Ranger District
3348 Alpine Boulevard
Alpine, CA 92001
Telephone: (619) 445-6235
Palomar Ranger District
1634 Black Canyon Road
Ramona, CA 92065
Telephone: (619) 788-0250