Tag Archives: Waterfalls

Third Stream Crossing via Middle Fork Trail

SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

CUCAMONGA WILDERNESS

LYTLE CREEK

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

6+ miles, 1,500’ elevation change, four hour duration, rated Hard

Date: 8-16-21

This is an outstanding outing in nature that has just what you are looking for when you are ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. It has grand alpine scenery with a rugged canyon, picturesque peaks, old growth stands of pine and cedar, a babbling brook and a hidden treasure being a three tier 80’ waterfall that is a little hide and go seek in nature.

The first part of the adventure is just getting to the trailhead. By the way, you will need an Adventure Pass for Parking or other suitable pass for the National Forest. There is about three miles of gravel road that sometimes is pretty torn up depending on when it was last worked on. Many people believe that you need a 4×4, but I would say a truck or SUV with descent clearance would do.

Once the trek is underway there is approximately a mile of switch backs to maneuver and the view gets better with every step. This portion of the trail can be steep with some portions that are rather narrow, dusty and rocky.

You will work up to a forested area with some magnificent trees which is much appreciated on a hot summer day. I would suggest an GPS Map App to follow as finding the actual hidden gem of a falls is not easy. It’s off to the left of the main trail at about the 2nd mile or so, across some dry creek beds, off trail, sort of bush whacking your way in hopes that you are going to find the correct finger heading up. I trusted my intuition while verifying my steps with the GPS Map App. This can be frustrating and not everyone finds their way. I soon was on the path, and when I say path it is not much of a path as you are soon doing some creek crossings, log walking, rock hoping, and scrambling along a glorious little stream. There are some little pools collecting along the way of clear cool water until you lay eyes on the main event a gorgeous 3 tier 80’ waterfall cascading down the rock face to a crystal clear reflecting pool. The water is cold even in the summer, but it feels so good after the hike up. Rejuvenation and relaxation is in order as you soak up this treasure’s bounty.

On my way back I made a bit of a loop dropping down off of the main trail to Stone House Camp a rocky area along a stream with wonderful deciduous shade trees for a reprieve of the afternoon heat. There is only a foundation of what must have been a small stone house and you could pitch some tents here, but it is not really a camp, but still it is a scenic and restful spot. From here you reconnect with the main trail once again making your way back to the trailhead.

Most people love this hike, but not all… some complain of bugs, not finding the falls, being worried of the narrow trail with big drop offs, and the condition of the road to the trailhead. Sounds like paradise and adventure all wrapped up in one ball know as attitude and perspective.

A waterfall needs to be seen in motion. Click here for PBTA YouTube Clip
“Grace is finding a waterfall when you were only looking for a stream.”- Vanessa Hunt

Thanks for joining me chasing waterfalls while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. This time I really was chasing waterfalls as the last half mile push was off-trail, traipsing about hoping that I was somewhere in the vicinity of the falls. Thank goodness for GPS mapping or I would probably have turned around. I suppose that it is all part of the adventure of finding this hidden gem. The good part of the difficulty is this special spot has not been destroyed and trashed by graffiti as some of our Inland Empire Waterfalls have. Speaking of Adventure, for more profound outing in nature, with me as your host, please complete the following simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you peruse the menu above you will discover that PBTA ventures to incredible spots all over the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Please stop by and purchase our top quality Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL, such as the shirt on my back. It not only looks great and carries the mantra, but helps support this endeavor.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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