Adobe Falls
Photo by Nancy Kirk

When it comes to waterfalls that just happen to be legally off-limits and surrounded by an array of graffiti-ridden boulders, it's hard to top Adobe Falls. While we certainly don't condone seeking out a place posted with "no trespassing" signs (we're all law abiding citizens here), locals seeking a nontraditional oasis confidently ignore the sign. Note: San Diego State University owns the land.

We don't want any trouble, but notice that the likelihood of getting a citation here has been as low as Adobe Falls itself, which looks up at the SDSU campus on the other side of Interstate 8. Getting to the Falls is something of an adventure (a hiker who fell 12 feet this past summer had to be airlifted out). Many smartphone apps won't officially recognize the location so, just like in the days before society depended on GPS, those in search often have to ask a friendly neighbor for help.

"Take a left on College Avenue off the 8 and then a left on Del Cerro Blvd," they might say. "Go down a windy road until you reach a dead end with a sign that says no trespassing."

From there, an identifiable trail winds downward and eventually releases trespassers into one of the only year-round waterfalls in San Diego, which is fed by water from a nearby creek. The waterfall's boulders do occasionally feature obscenities, but there are some attempts at genuine artwork, like the beaming gypsy eye and the colorful and endearing monster that almost beckons visitors to embrace their own inner graffiti artist.

Despite imperfections at Adobe Falls, many find peace and inspiration in the disorderly peaceful escape. It seems strange, but it omits an ironic sense of community—a sort of refuge for the disobedient wanderer who believes in the slightest bit of anarchy.


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