Explore the most popular forest trails in San Mateo Canyon Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I would wear more sturdy shoes as the rocks were taxing AND the trail was beautiful. provided for a great work out! sooo quiet for the most part. would have liked more written on trail markers than"stay on trail".

Super fun hike, way there is cake but the way back can be a little more strenuous in my opinion. Not too difficult though, a lot to explore.

trail running
2 months ago

Nice trail. Great for trail running. Love the variety of terrain and ecosystems.

Nice trail with lots of wild flowers.

Great hike. Hiked it this morning.

3 months ago

One of my favorites, very quiet and doesn't have much traffic.

loved it , I've been back 3 times trying different trails ,each one is exciting

I would rate this on the more difficult side of moderate (length you should actually figure there and back, which I tracked at about 7 miles, plus elevation gain at some points are super steep, with super narrow trail). Trail was overgrown in many areas, and also incredibly (dangerously) narrow in some areas with what would be a very steep tumble only a trip/stumble away. Luckily not a crowded trail or I would have had to turn back, since navigating that trail with two leashed dogs + competing foot traffic would have been a no-go. Definitely could be marked more frequently/clearly. The only trail markers were all the way at fisherman's camp, which didn't even point us in the direction of the falls, so we had to turn back. A couple sections of the trail (crossing over some rocks) it would have been nice to have markers indicating where the trail reconnects after the crossing. We made it to fisherman's camp (someone stopped me on the way back asking how they get there, as it was their second attempt at trying to find it), but then unfortunately couldn't determine which way to go for the falls. I would rate this on the more difficult side of moderate.
After the first 1/4 mile or so the trail is mostly shaded; good for escaping the sun. There are some good vantage points for nice views, but mostly a very quiet hike where it would be easy to zone out and clear your mind if it weren't for having to so closely monitor your footing.

Also, at the trailhead it is posted that a pass is required to enter and must be displayed on your vehicle left at the lot.

I would go again if only to try to get all the way to the falls.

The pictures and other people’s reviews are somewhat deceiving. The Fisherman’s Camp Trail vía Tenaja Falls splits about a hundred feet from the trail head. Fisherman’s Camp is to the left and the falls are to the right. The trail that is 4.5 miles is the one headed to Fisherman’s Camp and while the river runs along this trail, you will not find any falls.

The trail is lightly traveled. You will find about a mile in that the trail splits into a lower and higher trail. You can choose to hike either trail because they both join up later in the hike. There are a lot of overgrown bushes and grass. So expect to move these out of the way. Which is why i gave it a 3 star rating. However, the views are amazing.

Nice trail on a cool day. According to Strava, the distance was 7.1 mi, so a bit longer than what AllTrails claims.

Very green vegetation, beautiful trees and interesting rocks. It rained earlier this week and there were areas that were a bit muddy. Elevation gain at beginning of hike.

Good hike! Trail is a little narrow in places. Dogs should be well leash trained for faster easier hike. My puppy is good, but still a little zigzaggy making it difficult at times! Our actual mileage to 4 Corners and back was 6.5 miles.

Hiked this 12/21/2017 as a loop starting at the Fisherman’s Camp trail head ending at the Tanaja Falls trail and hiking the road back to start.

No water at the campsite but a lot of standing water down the trail but lots of solitude. It’s well marked but narrow. Very beautiful and quiet. Will definitely be a go to overnight trip spring/ summer.

The walk back is the best bit. The ridge trail back is generally flat/ downhill and with great views so worth the extra length.

The candy store is nice and sells the parking permits ( cash only)

Nice and green walk ( November when we went) and the trail is well maintained and very easy to follow

Downside is that going out to the 4 corners turnaround is gently uphill all the way without much of a view

This was our first time at this trail and we loved it! We hiked about two and a half miles in before turning around due to a few tired pups. :) The trail is pretty narrow (think single-file) with some ups and down, sometimes along cliff faces so be very careful with dogs and little ones; we clipped our dogs to us using their harnesses just to be safe. There wasn’t any running water today, just a few pooled areas that looked pretty icky, so crossing the riverbed was easy going despite there being a lot of rocks. However, there were a few river crossings just in the 2+ miles we hiked, two of which seem like they’d be pretty difficult to cross when the water levels are high and/or fast moving so be aware of that if you hike here after rain or snowmelt. Overall, this was a great hike with beautiful views...we’ll definitely be back! :)

8 months ago

From the highway its a steady two mile climb approx - though not strenuous - then an easy walk onto four corners. Not much of interest so far but your reward is the 1.5 mile stroll along the reverse side of the loop with its spectacular views. Duration of 3 hours taking it easy - start early to avoid the midday heat. Met only one trail runner and hiker otherwise deserted.

8 months ago

Your can start at the Ortega Oaks Candy Store and take Bear Canyon in about 3/4 of a mile. Morgan Trail splits off to the left. If you go straight that goes to Sitton Peak and 4 Corners. It's more of a walk then a hike. I don't consider anything less then 1000' elevation gain as a hike. If you go out and back it's about 10 miles from the Candy Store. You should stop at the candy store. All homemade chocolate and the owner is very nice. If you have an America the Beautiful pass you can park free. If not it's $5.00 to park and you need to have the pass. I started at the Candy Store on Bear Canyon. Took Morgan Trail to the end at Killen/S. Main Divide Road. Then took that road, where the Morgan Trailhead sign is and you can look down into Lake Elsinore, over to the Firefighters Memorial. Then Ortega Highway back to the candy store. Don't recommend walking back on Ortega like I did because there is no sidewalk on most of it and cars come by fast. Loop was a little over 12 miles.

9 months ago

The trail was good. But it drops you off at the end at some other parking lot.

Wonderful hike... just a lot of horseflies!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

2nd attempt at San Mateo Peak. Started at Morgan Trail and took a left before sign in box. Got to the right turn past the sign for Rancho Capo Loop to go up to San Mateo peak trail but stopped doe to a swarm of relentless bees and really bad muck we didn't want to cross. Ended up staying on trail that said Rancho Cap Loop which eventually ended at a gate in a community at Monterey and Arroyo streets. Took South Main Divide road back to Morgan because bugs were bad. We saw no loop trail. Really overgrown and lots of bugs.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Stay on Bear Ridge!!! You do cross a small stream before coming to Bear Ridge turn-off. Took Bear Ridge out to 4 Corners and came back on Bear Canyon. The views from Bear Ridge are awesome. It was a windy day but the breeze felt really good under the sun. Bear Canyon not so much fun. A very rutted trail, appears to be more of a dry stream bed then an actual trail in spots. No breeze because your down in the canyon. The best I could see is that Pigeon Springs is a cinder block enclosure with a locked top. Did not see any flowing water in the canyon. If I do this hike again I am going to just use the Ridge trail. Got there early enough where there was plenty of parking but be aware that the parking lot will fill up later in the morning.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

parking is very limited at this place get there early! I hit the trail around 7 in the morning and hiked for almost one hour,easy going but moderate coming back up.LOTS of bugs!! mosquitos ,mosquitos,mosquitos,everywhere.I still enjoyed my time there ,beautiful place!!lots of water down by the camping area,bring a good water filter!i used the Sawyer mini and it worked out great for me,it was very hot so I drink about 5 litters or so .seen a rattle snake on the trail coming up,be on a look out,they are defnetly out and about.all in all a great place to camp but NO FIRES !! loved this place and will be back again.

This was a great, moderate trail. Mostly uphill for the first half and then a nice downhill going back. It was not a steep incline but was steady and manageable. Nice mix of shade and sun, lots of different terrain and foliage. Lots of rocks, wear appropriate shoes. We arrived at 8am on a Saturday, parking lot was pretty full already and expected to have a lot of company on the trail but it was surprisingly quiet. Bathroom is gross, but at least there is one. Very easy trail to navigate, well marked. Saw a couple horses on the trail, lots of various kinds of animal poop, huge lizards, a couple bunnies and a very small stream. Would be good for dogs although we didn't see any. Lots of bugs in some areas.
Many options to extend the hike when you arrive at 4 corners. Great workout for a casual hiker, I would go back for sure. Candy store at the parking lot too! Yum! Have fun!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Awesome spot but make sure you are prepared for anything .

Thank you Brianna for the directions. We found the trail and everyone ignore what is on this trail because the directions to get there are wrong and the direction shown in the trail is the opposite way and it's 5.8 on wat to the end and only .7 to the falls. I didn't check to see if fisherman camp trail was accurate with directions but follow Brianna and you can find. It's probably 5-7 miles past Tanaya Trailhead.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

went last week for a picnic. nice trail, not too steep, some people but not terrible. Lots of flowers, which is nice, but with the flowers came LOTS of bees/flies.

Love this trail! We've hiked it twice now, each time a little farther than before. We have yet to make it all the way. I love the stream that's along the trail. The constant bubbling is soothing and the only sound around besides the birds. The trail is well manicured. The trees and shrubs are a great cover from the sun and a great help since there's a few ups and downs, that will make you sweat a little. A great little workout for sure.

This trail is AMAZING! I love the falls and my dog loved it too! Not a very long walk, but it is half up hill with lots of rocks so you can easily get a good workout.

I tried this hike last week and got completely lost in a neighborhood trying to find the trailhead. At least with my experience, I would not trust apple maps to find this trail! Took me in the complete wrong direction!!

To get there, exit the 15 on Clinton Keith road and go west past the Santa Rosa plateau reserve. The road will curve and and it will say you are now on Tenaja Rd. Continue on the road and then turn right on Tenaja Rd, when it turns into a different street. Keep going then turn right on Cleveland Forest Rd. This will take you to the trailhead, but be careful! It is a long winding Rd through the canyon, which gives you some INCREDIBLE views! Just wanted to share how we got there because this hike is definitely worth the drive!

Happy hiking!!!

This was an amazing trail!. The incline was definitely manageable. Would say you could finish it in around 2 hours is a going at a nice and relaxed pace. There was pretty much a view at every turn which was great. Not to mention, the drive to get there is fairly nice as well.

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