Tag Archives: Cleveland National Forest

Tenaja Falls

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

Cleveland National Forest

Near Murrieta, CA

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

1.5 miles, 311’ elevation change, rated Easy

Date: 2-2-21

Last 2.5 miles of the drive, known as Cleveland in National Forest Road, is on single lane very windy road with pot holes. When you do meet a truck going the opposite way you have to back down to a spot wide enough, not only is there no shoulders, but there are drop offs. 

As you start out there are trails scampering all about, so it helps to have GPS to stay on track, however I would think all of these little paths are going to the same place, but just in case. Also hiking boots would be a essential footware despite this is an Easy hike as the trail is rocky.

As you make your way towards the falls off in the distance you will spy Tenaja Falls twinkling in the sunshine like a ribbon of light as it tumbles down the rock face. That view from a distance shows a good amount of the falls, but the falls twists such that you can’t see all 150’ of it. Even when you hike up to the top you can only see a section of it. 

I decided to add a little more adventure into my outing, because I really wanted to see ALL of the falls. The only way to do that is by performing some rather daring rock scrambling down the side. This brings this trek to a whole new level and it goes from Easy to Hard. If you really want to see the falls that is the only way, but it is not for the faint of heart.  Some of the rock is so smooth that it is slippery, sometimes you may have to go up to go down, trying a different route. But if you are careful, take your time and search around it can be done and you will see the several different levels of this falls. 

This falls is a seasonal waterfall meaning in the summer or fall it may just be a tiny trickle.  The best time to see it would be in the Spring and even then right after a rainfall.  I have seen pictures of the fall where it looked all but dry, and conversely I have seen it flowing much harder than what I experienced just after some winter rain.  So keep in mind this is not the Pacific Northwest this is the dry desert of Southern California when you view this falls.  

I decided to continue being adventurous and instead of climbing back up the waterfall I started bushwhacking off trail down the creek. While bushwhacking down stream sometimes I was hopping from rock to rock in the brook, other times it was dry creek bed and I was maneuvering my way through the rocks. When I wasn’t in the creek bed I found myself traipsing along a bushy over grown trail of some type. My trip took 2.5 hours including enjoying falls, since I added an extra mile by including the bouldering down the waterfall and bushwhacking down the creek. 

Tenaja Falls twinkling in the sunshine like a ribbon of light as it tumbles down the rock face.

Be sure to checkout the YouTube clip, water always looks better when it moves. Pretty much like Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid when he misses the target just standing there, but when he suggests drawing his trusty six-gun and moving he puts on quite a show.
“Grace be a waterfall in the wild of my mind.” – Morgan Harper Nichols

Chasing Waterfalls is a favorite passion when ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. What better place to relax, reload, renew, or reinvent then sitting quietly, listening to water trickling down a smooth rock face, spellbound by how the sun is gleaming off the tranquil collecting pool. That being said, PBTA is about bold experiences in nature, so that is where the rock scrambling came in to explore the full 150’ of Tenaja Falls which otherwise couldn’t really be fully appreciated. There is more pursuing to be had so be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Get a PBTA shirt or hat such as those pictured at SHOP APPAREL, which not only looks great and helps get the word out, but helps support this site. Speaking of which, if you look at the menu above there are many sites to explore each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

San Mateo Peak

THE HARD WAY…

SAN MATEO CANYON WILDERNESS

Activity: Hiking, Peak Bagging

9.5 miles, approximately 1,750’ elevation gain, 6 hour duration, rated Hard

After almost a mile through a lovely oak grove and among boulders, I began a trek through heavy brush. After awhile I decided to check my GPS. I hadn’t before as it seemed like a nice trail and it was no problem following it- only to discover to my dismay that I was way off course and on a totally different trail! Rather than double back. I decided to go from the planned medium length difficult hike graduating to a very long difficult hike. 

The red line on the trail map was my expected route. The Blue dot is where I was when I discovered that things had gone awry. Instead of bailing, or retracing my steps and starting over I hung the first left and made a loop of it heading towards where you see the compass in the upper right hand corner.

At the top of the map of my newly planned loop- I had been hiking 2.5 hours mostly descending in altitude, so now it is going to be a long arduous climb to San Mateo Peak, and on a trail that is now more like animal path. 

Turns out my mistake was that there was a obscured trail that fed into the track near the registration box. It came in at an angle such that it wasn’t easy to see and there wasn’t any marker to identify it. So I didn’t check my GPS until way down the trail, since it seemed pretty straightforward. Obviously not.  It’s all good- as I enjoyed my 2.5 times more hike.  I got to see a lot more country, and got a lot more exercise. My travels took me on a journey through more varied terrain, and thus I experienced a lot more adventure, and a lot more balance was being pursued, lol.

It is a great area, the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. I love the oak grove section, and the sprinkled boulders throughout the hilly chaparral covered countryside is amazing. When I was on top of the peak I took a moment to admire the views that spilled out before me. But only a moment mind you, as the winds were howling at about Gale Force with the possibility of Hurricane Force gusts. Checkout my video. On top of that there was a rain storm coming in faster than expected so taking a longer than anticipated hike meant that I really needed to hoof it back to my car.

It’s just all in a days work for an Adventure Blogger when you find yourself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

“Sometimes you find adventure, and sometimes adventure finds you!” – Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel
There were a few of these dinosaur markers. I am sure this makes it fun for any kids on this hike.
If you’re not lost, you’re not much of an explorer.

‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ what a lovely phrase… My gosh be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. That is the life blood of a blogger and there are so many more adventures to come. PBTA Inland Empire Hiking is but one of my blogs if you go to the menu you will see there are many places from which to choose your own adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Come on outside, get your boots a little dirty! If you like my shirt then please go to SHOP APPAREL my adventure wear is not only top quality, but it carries the mantra to bring everything into balance, so spread the word from the mountain tops, to the deep canyons.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure