Explore the most popular views 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 liked this trail. It was a decent elevation shift but smooth trail. there are longer routes and you can connect with the falls trail to extend your hike distance.

Really basic hike. Because it's so basic, there can tend to be a lot of people on the trail. there are longer, quieter options that end up at the falls, just stop at one of the alternate points before the main lot for the falls trail.

trail running
12 days ago

this was awesome ! went on Wed afternoon. I ran pretty much the whole way. real trail to run on. highly recommend it.

The entrance to the trail is located on the same side as the candy store just a few yards west of the candy store. Although this trail is not technically difficult it is a long trail that steadily climbs which is more difficult in the heat. Beautiful views Some shade in the first half the hike. Found very few places to sit and take a break along the way. Personally I would recommend this hike in cooler weather 90 degrees was a little to hot for me.

Would rate this more as moderate- there's nothing that is technically challenging if you're in decent shape. Not heavily trafficked. Pretty steady climb, the only "steep" part would be at the very end to get to the peak. Lots of places to stop and enjoy the view along the way. Some shaded areas in the middle of the trail, but mostly exposed. The view is stunning!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Water wasn't running hard down the falls but it is definitely a must see.. lots of blue bellies, huge tad poles, and a salamander swimming in one of the pools in the fall.. Amazing views at the top! We will be back!

A large part is rocky and slippery

hiking
1 month ago

All up hill to get to the falls but great views at the top. Bring extra socks Incase you slip in the pools. I know I have.

Lots of lizards and poison oak throughout the trail. We saw a rattle snake after 4 corners half way up to the peak

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".

It's part of the Sitton Peak/Bear Canyon Trail for the first mile then you cut off on Morgan Trail and then cut off on Tenaja Falls trail. Not the most scenic and I'm not fond of going up and down and up and down. I prefer doing all the work going up to a peak. No real peak here.

Beautiful hike with great views as a reward at the peak. Bring lots of water on hot days.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail took us just under 2 hours to get to the top (taking the longer route at the 2nd junction) The first 4.5 miles are pretty easy- it’s the last half mile that’s a scramble through the bush. View was beautiful and definitely worth spending some time.

hiking
1 month ago

Good quick trail !

Hike was short but nice! The only thing is the road to get there is VERRYY NARROW so be cautious and go slow. You have to cross a river not even knees deep to get to the trail that leads to the waterfall. Our pup took a nap when we got there and the hike back was easy.

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.

Went with my dog and a buddy. Fairly easy hike until the last stretch. Not crowded at all

hiking
1 month ago

Great local hike. Good for older children, strollers would not work on the trail back to the falls. There was some water flowing which is really fun to see, watch out for slippery rocks though! Two of my kiddos slipped on rocks and got soaked, but they didn’t mind. Found some broken glass on the trail so watch your step and PLEASE pack out whatever you bring in!

trail running
1 month ago

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

Nice trail with lots of wild flowers.

2 months ago

Super easy family friendly hike. The narrow 5 mile road that you take there takes longer than the actual hike. A little bit of water at the falls now. The rocks up there are super slippery so watch your lils! Fun river area to explore as well. The bits of graffiti and trash we saw were a bummer! Oh, and lots of poison oak right now!

Great hike. Hiked it this morning.

hiking
2 months ago

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 does get pretty steep). Trail was overgrown in areas, and narrow in some areas with what would be a very steep tumble only a trip/stumble away-- probably not best for littles. Luckily not crowded at all, only a handful of people, or I would have had to turn back, since navigating those narrower parts of the trail with my two dogs + competing foot traffic would have been a no-go. Would have been nice if the trail was more clearly marked-- I was trying to get all the way to the falls, and the first time I went I couldn't figure out the way due to lack of signage so had to turn back at fisherman's camp... disappointing considering it was a trek just to get that far and have to turn back. Second attempt I made it though! Just have to look around and kind of make a "best guess" as to which way to go at some points until you find the more defined trail. When I went the falls were barely trickling, but rain over this past weekend should make for more water flow. First 1/4 mile or so the trail is mostly shaded; good for escaping the sun. A couple water crossings, but at the time it was very shallow, plus there are rocks to hop on over. There are some good vantage points for some really beautiful 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.

Overall would go again!

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome place especially at the top. Great view, I’ll definitely come back. I’m surprised it wasn’t crowded at all. Sandwiches at the candy store were quite delicious. The owner was really nice too.

I started this hike around noon on Sunday, which was perfect timing. If you're using Google Maps, type in San Juan Loop trail head to get to the parking lot. Once parked, cross the street to the candy store and on your right, will be the Bear Canyon trail head.

Trail is super well maintained and not too hard. Pretty easy to follow since there's white sticks that points you to Four Corners, then a sharp right to Sitton Peak. You'll know when you're close to the peak when you enter a very steep trail on your right. This trail is VERY steep and I suggest trekking poles if you have some - it'll make your life much easier going up and especially down. However, still very possible without them.

The view at the top was amazing. I would highly recommend this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice trial, road getting there was a little scary but it was definitely worth it seeing the falls!

Did trail as a thru hike to the Tenaja Falls trailhead in San Mateo Canyon wilderness. Trail was well worn and easy to follow but much easier when you have the live app making sure you make the correct turns. You will have cell data until just after you reach the ridge 4 miles in. Water was flowing pretty well over the falls. Note if you do this as a thru hike, expect to take more than 30 minutes to drive from the opposite trail head to the trail head off the Ortega highway.

The amount of washout led to an interesting straddling of the trail in multiple areas. Didn’t see anyone else on the trail (Tue 12-3p). Last climb to summit is slightly overgrown and has potential to get off route. Summit has a nice view of the coast.

Great hike - my Boy Scout Troop and I hiked it last Sunday. Beautiful sunny weather with cool breezes. Nice scenery and great views. Tough 1/2 mile steep ascent to the peak (but not dangerous). You do need good hiking shoes with grip-page. Boy was I glad it was uphill almost all the way and downhill back. I’d do it again - just make sure people are in shape for 2,100 feet of elevation gain and 10 miles. You can shorten hike - up and back - but you’d miss out on the peak. parking lot had plenty of room.

If you hike on a regular basis this is moderate, not hard. Incredible views from the top

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