Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Descend the V-shaped gorge of Tenaja Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, where water splashes and newts waddle.

As the gloom of a late afternoon descends upon the deep-cut, linear furrow of Tenaja Canyon, dozens of orange-bellied newts waddle determinedly uphill and across the trail, oblivious to my footfalls. The cute faces and beady eyes of these little amphibians reflect a mindless desire I cannot fathom: Sex in a bower of leaf litter and ferns? A bellyful of succulent insects, ripe for the taking?

Since the completion several years ago of the Tenaja Trail in the Santa Ana Mountains, the newts of Tenaja Canyon should have been getting used to cross-traffic by hikers and equestrians. The trail, plus a parking lot built to serve it, plus the recent paving of a formerly horrendously rutted truck trail around the rim of the canyon has made the area more popular than ever -- especially for residents of nearby booming communities like Temecula, Murrieta, and Lake Elsinore.

To reach Tenaja Canyon from San Diego, drive north on Interstate 15 through Temecula to the Clinton Keith Road exit. Proceed 5 miles south on Clinton Keith Road and 1.7 miles west on Tenaja Road to a marked intersection, where you must turn right to stay on Tenaja Road. Continue west on Tenaja Road for another 4.2 miles, then go right on the narrow, paved Rancho California Road. Continue another mile to the trailhead parking area, just north of Cleveland National Forest's Tenaja Station.

An old-fashioned hand pump dispenses cold, sweet water at the trailhead. Sign in at the self-registration box, and head downhill on the trail going west. A few minutes' descent takes you to the shady bowels of V-shaped Tenaja Canyon, where huge coast live oaks and pale-barked sycamores frame a limpid, rock-dimpled stream. Mostly the trail ahead meanders alongside the stream, but for the canyon's middle stretch it carves its way across the chaparral-blanketed south wall, 200 to 400 feet above the canyon bottom.

After 3.7 miles of general descent, you reach oak-shaded Fishermans Camp, a former drive-in campground once accessible by miles of bad road -- reachable now only by foot. Today, the site serves as a fine wilderness campsite for backpackers (a National Forest wilderness permit is required for an overnight stay here). At Fishermans Camp, three other trails diverge. Fishermans Camp Trail (the old road serving the former campground) travels east and sharply uphill to the newly paved Old Tenaja Road. One branch of the San Mateo Canyon Trail goes upstream along the canyon's currently bubbling stream. The west branch of the same trail zigzags down toward the lower canyon and accompanies the stream many miles to the east boundary of Camp Pendleton.

Tenaja Canyon lies within the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, which is a part of the Trabuco Ranger District of Cleveland National Forest. For more information, call 909-736-1811.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Bounce and Twerk: common moves for Megan Thee Stallion and Danyelle “Sweet Dee” Solana

“I use Megan’s music when teaching my classes.”
Next Article

The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Club Campestre abduction, cross-border prostitution, Russian-owned gym, TJ's new night scene

As the gloom of a late afternoon descends upon the deep-cut, linear furrow of Tenaja Canyon, dozens of orange-bellied newts waddle determinedly uphill and across the trail, oblivious to my footfalls. The cute faces and beady eyes of these little amphibians reflect a mindless desire I cannot fathom: Sex in a bower of leaf litter and ferns? A bellyful of succulent insects, ripe for the taking?

Since the completion several years ago of the Tenaja Trail in the Santa Ana Mountains, the newts of Tenaja Canyon should have been getting used to cross-traffic by hikers and equestrians. The trail, plus a parking lot built to serve it, plus the recent paving of a formerly horrendously rutted truck trail around the rim of the canyon has made the area more popular than ever -- especially for residents of nearby booming communities like Temecula, Murrieta, and Lake Elsinore.

To reach Tenaja Canyon from San Diego, drive north on Interstate 15 through Temecula to the Clinton Keith Road exit. Proceed 5 miles south on Clinton Keith Road and 1.7 miles west on Tenaja Road to a marked intersection, where you must turn right to stay on Tenaja Road. Continue west on Tenaja Road for another 4.2 miles, then go right on the narrow, paved Rancho California Road. Continue another mile to the trailhead parking area, just north of Cleveland National Forest's Tenaja Station.

An old-fashioned hand pump dispenses cold, sweet water at the trailhead. Sign in at the self-registration box, and head downhill on the trail going west. A few minutes' descent takes you to the shady bowels of V-shaped Tenaja Canyon, where huge coast live oaks and pale-barked sycamores frame a limpid, rock-dimpled stream. Mostly the trail ahead meanders alongside the stream, but for the canyon's middle stretch it carves its way across the chaparral-blanketed south wall, 200 to 400 feet above the canyon bottom.

After 3.7 miles of general descent, you reach oak-shaded Fishermans Camp, a former drive-in campground once accessible by miles of bad road -- reachable now only by foot. Today, the site serves as a fine wilderness campsite for backpackers (a National Forest wilderness permit is required for an overnight stay here). At Fishermans Camp, three other trails diverge. Fishermans Camp Trail (the old road serving the former campground) travels east and sharply uphill to the newly paved Old Tenaja Road. One branch of the San Mateo Canyon Trail goes upstream along the canyon's currently bubbling stream. The west branch of the same trail zigzags down toward the lower canyon and accompanies the stream many miles to the east boundary of Camp Pendleton.

Tenaja Canyon lies within the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, which is a part of the Trabuco Ranger District of Cleveland National Forest. For more information, call 909-736-1811.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash
Next Article

Thai Joints rule in the Heights

Pick up or delivery, Thai fans have it good on Adams Avenue
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close