Ortega Falls

EASY 108 reviews
#14 of 121 trails in

Ortega Falls is a 0.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Elsinore, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and rock climbing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

0.3 miles
16 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly


rock climbing





3 days ago

I like that it's short, so if you just want to go for a few hours and not all day it's perfect.
I've been here a few times cause it's close. My dog loves it and she loves to climb so I like that it's an easy enough climb for her for me not to worry of her falling.
During the hotter seasons there's no water.. It dries up, during the cooler seasons after a good rain there usually is water.. It gets up to at least 2 feet of water.. More or less.
You can climb up the waterfall... Or down. I see Rock climbers there more so during the summer, which is pretty cool to watch. Usually pretty friendly also.
Downside is the tacky graffiti... If it were murals of something it'd be a different story maybe even liked by most... But it's just a bunch of stupid kids tagging their names and stupid kid-like drawings... It seems to be getting worse. Honestly I could do without the graffiti completely. Unfortunately it might not happen. Honestly there not much room for really good pictures because of it. Thankfully there are still some good spots but it's only a matter of time.
Teach your children not to deface nature and maybe, there will still be places of beauty left in the future.

All in all, I still love going here for my dog and I, easy rocky trail, steep but super short. Sometimes water, sometimes dry. Fun little outing.

3 months ago

Tad bit of water at the falls. Not enough to rinse my hands. Seen lots of lizards .heard a growl from a large critter.

4 months ago

I took my seven month old daughter here for a short hike and we sadly didn’t see any waterfall, just moist rocks. (4/10/18) lots of lizards and some pretty blooming wild flowers and greenery.

I could manage climbing up and down all the rocks while front carrying my baby in a soft Baby Ktan and I had a small daypack on.

Disappointed in the graffiti. Surprising I didn’t see much trash.

We had a nice hike in sunny 75 degree weather.

It was a bit crowded near the falls due to a large group of rock climbers who set up right at the falls location. They were friendly, but still, we didn’t have much room to explore near the “falls”.

I think the drive up to the trail was exceptional, lots of places to turnout and checkout the view of Lake Elsinore.

No pass needed to park at the trailhead.

rock climbing
5 months ago

Great for rock climbing.

6 months ago

There is no water right now. The trail has been marked with orange tape tied to trees, so it is a little better marked. It is extremely rocky, difficult picking at times, but pretty short. It is so sad to see all the large tagging on the rocks. It definitely detracts from the beauty of the area.

6 months ago

is there any water there right now?
I went a few weeks ago n it was dry

rock climbing
6 months ago

3 different anchor sites to top rope from, just make sure to bring a 120 + foot rope, it’s a little higher then it looks

9 months ago

Dry day, just some moisture at the Falls.

By "easy" it means the trail is short but it's definitely not wheelchair accessible. Rocky and quite steep (though short) parts of the trail.

Unfortunately thr beauty has been defaced by a lot of (bad) graffiti.

10 months ago

It was a fun, easy trail but be careful on the rocks. Even though they weren't wet when I went they were still very smooth and slippery. I also saw a rattlesnake so watch where you step!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Water has officially dried up

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fun little hike. Although isn't marked very well so be careful and try not to get lost.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not well marked. Once you find it, the trail was rocky and there are multiple paths. When we got to the falls, it wasn't flowing very much and there was graffiti. The hike was a pretty one and my young kids had fun. So it was a win in my book.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Amazing view for such a short hike. It's a little rocky.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

So so beautiful.I was lucky enough to experience this trail with someone who loves to climb so we had a bit more of an adventure climbing up to the very top of the falls .We only did this because he led the way up there otherwise I would not recommend any novice hikers to attempt that hike/climb above the falls.Getting to the falls was quite easy and many people also took bathing suits so if you're down to enjoy the cold water then I'd recommend to pack a spare bag of clothes !

Saturday, July 01, 2017

East hike. Waterfalls are low but still pretty. Sad about the trash

Sunday, June 18, 2017

-I came in mid May 2017 plenty of water but the
-Waterfalls are fuller earlier in the year after the rains -Easy short hike with a great reward of waterfalls
-There are at least two Waterfalls, stay right for the bigger waterfall
-You may have to hike through bolder rocks
-The trail shrubs were outgrown
-Take water shoes
-Some poison oak
-Take snacks hang out for a bit
-1 or two 16oz water bottles per person is fine.
-Extra shoes and socks. You may be crossing water
-No strollers
It was disappointing how much trash & graffiti there was : (
PICK Up YOUR Trash! Leave No trace behind.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The family loved everything about this hike. Pretty easy to hike , you have to climb over some rocks here and there but nothing to bad. Great views

Sunday, June 04, 2017

awesome trail!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lots of tagging under the Falls. Kids pics are ruined with penis tagging behind Falls. Decent hike

Thursday, May 18, 2017

alright might be pack in the middle of the day and parking could be better

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's not a bad trail. Make sure to follow the trail carefully as it is easy to get lost on the many paths that lead to no where.

There was a lot of trash for a national park, but all of the water falls are very cool and there is still a lot of water. Bring a towel and swim suit if you want to dive into the little pools too.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I honestly don't know how this "trail" gets good reviews. First off, it's literally right off Ortega Highway. I thought it would be a bonus, super short easy waterfall walk to fit in before my actual hike for the day. Instead, the proximity to the highway means a lot of people (even mid-week), mostly who are clearly inexperienced hikers, a ton of trash and randomly discarded clothing everywhere, and graffiti everywhere too.

Second, while the very short trail down is moderate due to it being fairly steep at some points, the actual pools and climb to the bigger waterfall should really be rated hard. The boulders (not rocks) that need to be navigated to reach anything other than the small middle pool area are deceptively slick even when dry, so it can be quite treacherous climbing around.

If just me, I would have maybe given 2 stars, but the extra star loss is because this really is not a dog friendly place to visit. While yes, my medium sized shepherd mix was able to get down and up the very short trail easily, he had quite a bit of difficulty dealing with all the slick boulders to maneuver to the pools of the waterfall. I am not over-exaggerating how slick they were. I actually talked to a couple other groups who said they had previously had trouble with their own dog so came back another day without it and still were nervous about climbing up to the actual larger waterfall. I myself was sliding down some of the boulders with a brand new pair of hiking shoes on with some awesome tread.

Basically, if you're any sort of regular hiker who knows what it's like being on a wonderfully secluded trail and ending up at a beautiful peaceful waterfall (even a crowded one on a weekend, but at least a beautiful hike), skip this entirely. This felt like a totally waste of time and effort just to experience other people's trash and graffiti.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

easy quick hike

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I love this trail ..

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

loved it.

nature trips
Monday, April 10, 2017

Short hike with a beautiful waterfall.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

This hike was so fun and so beautiful. you can simply walk down the first trail to the first waterfall, or you can keep climbing up further to two more waterfalls. You could even continue on further than we went.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

This place is an awesome. short hike to the falls. grate for a pre hike. come here all the time and love to see how nice all the water has made it look, but pick up your trash and at least take some up one your way. lets keep our forests clean!!!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Really enjoyed this hike it was a little rocky when you go down to the water but nice view We did another hike after this one because its so short

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This is so beautiful with the waterfall. This is a Steep CYN and the trail to the right is more moderate incline.but there are many many small trails to try. The parking area is not Marked nor is there signage. This is a very short fun hike for kids...Not so much if you have to cradle a baby in your arms.You need both Arms to get up and down this Hillside. I went 2x and the rains made alot more Foliage the second trip.

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