Tenaja Falls Trail

#3 of 115 trails in Cleveland National Forest

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Tenaja Falls Trail is a 1.4 mile 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 and is accessible year-round.

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M. Stopani (354)

12 Completed8 Reviews

Once you make a right on Cleveland forest road, you will arrive at the Tenaja Trail head. If you decide to make your way to the 2nd Tenaja Falls trail head which is approximately another 4 miles on this one lane road, make sure you take your time and remember there is only enough room for one vehicle for most the way. The road is paved and just a few pot holes to watch out for but mainly watch out for traffic on those blind turns, use those pull outs and you will be ok.
About a 1/4 mile in, you reach a fork in the trail. Left will take you to the top of the falls. Right of the fork, you will see a landing area with two ropes swings that is adjacent to the riverbed. Just rock hop your way up the riverbed and you will reach the base of the falls. Great hike, little water flowing but will definitely go back just after the next storm.

Rosana Moran (87)

2 Completed2 Reviews

Hiked this trail with the hubby. It was an awesome experience, we hiked about two miles past the falls and then turned around and stopped there on the way back. There was a small amount of water at the top but the falls were not flowing because of the drought. The trail itself is very easy with beautiful views. We climbed all over the rocks by the falls and took some awesome pictures. On our way back we stumbled upon a trail that didn't seem to be on the map. The only landmark I remember is an old rusty car. This trail was a lot more difficult. We hiked through small rocks at first, but they became bigger and more difficult as we approached the bottom of the falls. The walk back to the original trail was the most fun since we had to slide down the big rocks to get back to the smaller rocks. Overall an awesome hike! It took us about 3 hours. The only downside I see is the drive there. The road is too small for two cars so drive slowly and carefully!!!

Pat Starr (63)

1 Completed1 Reviews

The walk required a fair amount of rock jumping and was not well-marked, causing us extra time to get to the falls area, which were not flowing due to the drought conditions. There was a little water in the pool below but the area was crowded and not really worth the hike.

Nicole Schendel (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Good for families and beginners. Cool view but very little water right now (darn drought) short hike about 2 miles to the top of the falls and back. Far drive for such a short hike

Kyle Mccown (858)

31 Completed22 Reviews

Went here yesterday (3/11/14). If you like cool, scenic drives then you will love going here. Once you go past the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve (which is full of Mountain Bike trails) you drive for about 15 or so miles through beautiful countryside. There are huge ranches full of horses (I even spotted a Texas Longhorn). Once you turn onto Cleveland Forest Road the main trailhead will be in a mile or so. This is the trailhead for the longer 5 mile hike. To get to the closer trailhead continue on past it for about 4 1/2 miles. From here it is less than a mile to the falls. Not too much incline. You can spot the falls from the trail up. The water was only at a trickle when I was there. There was broken glass all over the top of the falls and graffiti too. Some dumb kid even spray-painted a big "PROM?" proposal on one of the rocks... basically spoiling most pictures of the upper falls. The views through the whole canyon are awesome. Try to plan a trip here when its wet. You can also get here from certain trailheads off of Ortega HWY and other places, but this makes it for a longer - more awesome hike. If you come here can you please pick up a little bit of trash? THANKS!!!

Torrey Schaefer (295)

22 Completed13 Reviews

I don't think that this trail is really worth all the time to get out there. I can see the appeal with the waterfall, but to be honest, the trail was dirty, filled with too many people and it took quite a while to get out to the trailhead. I heard all the hype with this trail so I decided to try it out, and it will be my last time back. This place has a vibe where kids come out to drink and hang out with friends. Not wilderness friendly by any means.

Raimy Stempien (317)

33 Completed4 Reviews

Driving directions on this are wrong. Once you get to Tenaja Rd you must continue until making a right at Cleveland Forest Rd. There was no water at the falls but the view was incredible. There's a lot of tagging but if you ignore that, it'll make for a nice short hike with family or friends.

Donna Villarino (90)

2 Completed3 Reviews

The rocks are very polished and slippery, I fell and slipped six feet on my ass!
Getting there was a bit tricky. We had to cross a stream by jumping on rocks.

Donna Villarino (90)

2 Completed3 Reviews

My first hike! So much fun.
The trail wasn't that rough. I was hot and sweaty, but as soon as I jumped in the water I was instantly refreshed!

Dane Wunderlich (158)

5 Completed4 Reviews

Been here so many times over the last 20 years. Used to be able to rock jump in the falls and pools when they were really flowing good. A nice quick beginner trek. Uphill on the way there, down on the way back. You can slide down the dry rock face of the falls to do some awesome exploring down on the forest floor. If you keep following the trail, there is a cool hidden camp spot about 1.5 miles past falls. Local, quick and free. Love it!