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Fishermans Camp via Tenaja Falls Trailhead

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(146)
San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

Fishermans Camp via Tenaja Falls Trailhead is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Elsinore, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 4.3 mi Elevation gain 446 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

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!

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (146)
Photos (147)
Recordings (61)
Completed (577)
Melissa P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingBugsFeeOver grown
View Melissa's Recording
Paul Ochoa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 05 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

Went on this trail a month ago. Arrived around 8am. There is a parking spot directly located where the trail begins. No adventure pass needed. Finished trail within about 2 hours. Trail was overall nice. Plenty of shade. However, there was A LOT of poison oak and the trail was overgrown with plants and bushes in the way. Overall a fun and easy trail. lots of cool critters crawling around. The late spring flowers were amazing and really gave the hike a color pop.

Barry Horton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 11 2020
HikingBugsOver grownScramble

Love this trail . Couple of things to look out for Poison oak is pretty much all over the place so be careful . We change when we get back to our vehicle so no big deal . We hike with our 2 German shepherds and they picked up about 8 ticks between the 2 of them . No big deal there that’s just part of the outdoor life . I could see where bringing in a machete could help down at the base of the trail where you can pick to go back via the access road or go deeper to the other trails . It’s pretty thick and gets narrow down there towards the camp . The trails on the way down are in decent shape and you will have people coming in as you are going out We passed plenty of people with our dogs and they had dogs as well. No big deal. A simple we will take the outside or a little bit of Communication goes a long way when you’re passing someone. All in all I don’t see what people are complaining about . It’s a great trail. Great stream crossing last and a few places to get shade as the trails switch back and whatnot . Take plenty of water with you and remember it’s really easy getting down to the camp but you have to get back out so save some energy :)

Brionna Gompper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Mar 22 2020
Hiking

This is the prettiest and funnest trail I have been in in a long time!! Can park at the Cleveland National Forest trail head and the trail entrance is right there. The way out is mostly downhill so the way back is where the workout comes in. Currently about 4 gorgeous waterfalls! Lots and lots of water! Excellent hike!

Victor User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Feb 28 2020
Hiking

May come back after a big rain

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Campbell Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jan 27 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRocky
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Jody Fite
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jan 25 2020
HikingRocky
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Michelle Mayhem
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jan 24 2020
Horseback ridingRocky
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Kristin Gorman
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Sep 01 2019
HikingBugsOver grownRockyScramble

I DO NOT recommend this trail, severely overgrown and I never knew if I was on the trail or not. I decided to walk up the dried creek bed hoping for a better outcome but was only led to a dead end.

Briana Greer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 23 2019
BackpackingBugsOver grownRocky

TLDR: it was a beautiful hike and beautiful and fun at the falls, and we had a great time. Our 7 y/o daughter was able to do the loop no problem. We would only ever return to hike from the Tenaja Falls Trailhead to the top of the falls and back on a day hike. Going through the prickly plants and poison oak on the long loop, camping where there was no privacy to do your business, and dealing with the incredible amount of bugs made us unlikely to return to do the big loop or go camping here again. If you go, make sure to wear pants, take trekking poles, and wear plenty of bug spray and sunscreen. My husband, daughter (7 y/o on her first backpacking trip), friend, and I did the Fisherman's Camp Trailhead up to Tenaja Falls, where we camped, and then hiked back the next day to the Tenaja Falls Trailhead. We had called ahead of time to ask if there was any water so that we would know if we needed to bring water or not, but the ranger wouldn't say. So we ended up packing an additional 30 pounds of water (15 between my husband and I) to make sure we would have enough. It was awful. When you start this trail, it's a little difficult because the trail has a little ditch in the middle most of the way, so you either hike in the ditch or walk back and forth over it. It also had stretches where you had to walk on rocks. About 2/3 of the way into the Fisherman's Camp trail, we heard rushing water below us, thank God, and dumped most of the extra water we brought. When we got to Fisherman's Camp, it was a nice clear area to sit on a log and take a break, but no water very nearby that we could tell. After a break, we hiked back up about 200 feet and started the Tenaja Falls trail. This trail wasn't difficult because of exertion or elevation, but because of the overgrown foliage, particularly with painful prickly plants and poison oak. DEFINITELY wear pants if you are going from Fisherman's Camp to the falls, not shorts, and preferably even flowy pants. And DEFINITELY bring trekking poles to help move the prickly plants and poison oak out of the way. Wearing leggings you can still feel a lot of the pricks. Also in this area were bees pollinating the flowers, and some yellow jackets too. If you are allergic to bees, I would stay away from this stretch of the hike. There were beautiful stretches of creek water along the way, and areas where you needed to cross the water. It wasn't too difficult because the water wasn't too high, and trekking poles helped us keep our balance as we hopped across the creek on rocks. There are also long stretches without shade. After a couple miles we came to a fork in the road where you choose between the high trail and low trail. On the low trail you cross the stream across the rocks two times, and the high trail you hike up an incline and then back down to avoid crossing the water. We went on the low trail, and it was totally fine and pretty fun if you enjoy those crossings. Eventually the two trails meet back up and you continue hiking for another quarter mile or so before the trail meets up with the trail coming from the Tenaja Falls Trailhead. You turn left, passing a sign about the trout on your left, and continue straight until you cross a river portion again. There was a rope to use as you cross, but it was gone on our way back. After that you have about another 3/4 of a mile up hill until you get to the falls. On your way there, there are more stretches of ditch and rocky paths, like in the beginning. At the falls, there was plenty of water and it was fun to get into the shallow pools of water and climb all over the rocks. There was also a perfect place to camp there, with steps leading up. But the whole cleared camping area was also surrounded by poison oak, so be careful. It was pretty difficult to find a place to use the bathroom because there were so many people coming by and this camp spot is only about 10 feet from the trail -- no privacy for sure, and because of the poison oak you can't just go into the plants and hide. At sunset, a ton of bugs come out, and shortly after that, a ton of bats come and eat the bugs, flying to around 3 feet off the ground. So my husband tells me, who wouldn't get out of the tent after I came back from purifying water haha. We didn't see any other animals besides little lizards, who were totally harmless. We slept at night without a fly on our tent, and were pretty comfortable sleeping in a base layer in our sleeping bags. It was pretty loud at night with all of the sounds of bugs and frogs. The hike back down was quick and easy. Once you hike back to where the trails come together, you only have another 200/300 feet before you're at the Tenaja Falls Trailhead. Getting back to your car is tough, because you have to walk for a mile or two back to the Fisherman's Camp trailhead to get your car in the hot sun, with virtually no shade. We were lucky that about 2/3 of the way there, a kind man and his daughter picked up my husband and I

Amanda Hellweg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 10 2019
BugsOver grown

We started at Tenaja falls trailhead but the trail was very overgrown and lots of poison oak so we turned around and decided to start from the fisherman's camp side. trial was easier to follow but no shade for a long time.

Bryan Eisenbise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 03 2019
HikingBugsOver grown

Beautiful hike. We backpacked in for a quick overnighter and for us living in South OC, no easier way to get out backpacking. Plenty of wild flowers and beautiful views. The water was flowing good at all parts of the river. the only problem was that the trail was quite overgrown in many places. There's a fork a mile in giving you the option to take a high trail, are a lesser-know canreek trail. We wanted to take the creek trail, but couldn't even see it after a hundred yards. Plenty of Poison Oak, but green.

Loree Love
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu May 02 2019
Hiking

Did this trail for the second time. We started at Tenaja Trailhead which is the first lot you come to after turning onto Cleveland National Forest Rd. The trailheads are confusing. The second trailhead if you continue driving down the road is Fisherman’s Camp and then the last trailhead is Tenaja Falls. We hiked 8 miles from first trailhead through Fisherman’s Camp to the falls. Trails were a little confusing to follow. From Fisherman’s camp we had a hard time finding the trailhead to the falls. After finding the falls, it was a short hike back to the Tenaja Falls trailhead. We debated whether to go back on the trail or the road. We chose to go the road, but about 1.5 miles back on the road we were offered a ride and took it. Good thing! It was a trek back on a black asphalt, windy road. I love this area...absolutely beautiful! The first part of our hike, there was hardly anyone on the trail. Once you get to the falls expect a crowd. People and crowds are always a disappointment! I came home with a tick. Make sure and check. Some of the trail is a little overgrown, which I personally like, but check for ticks. The stream, falls and flowers were beautiful!!!

Tine MacLochlainn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Feb 25 2019

Beautiful hike this morning, creek and falls running, everything green andflowers starting to bloom. Was surprised by the actual elevation gain compared to the app (460+ vs 2100) so the way back was slow, but it was worth it.

Andrew Kwan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Dec 14 2018
Hiking

We started from the Fisherman Camp parking lot. There are only room for 4 or 5 cars. We hiked the Tenaja trail all the way to the Tenaja Falls. There are water in the steams but not at the Fall. One way distance is 4.5 miles. Round trip is 9 miles. It was a beautiful hike. We took the lower trail up and the Upper trail back.

Julie Willey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Nov 24 2018

Love this trail. Lower trail is overgrown and a little hard to follow, but upper trail was great!

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