Tenaja Falls is difficult to find on any hiking apps. Here are directions you can use in finding the trailhead:
The hike is near Murrieta and Lake Elsinore. From I-15, take the Clinton Keith Exit and head southwest. You’ll pass the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve (where I’ve heard has nice hikes.) You’ll turn right at Tenaja Road unless you want to head to Via Volcano Street. Take a right on Cleveland Forest Road. This is a sketchy road with only one lane. It’s narrow, twisting, and obviously not regularly maintained. Watch out for the Tenaja Falls trail head on your left NOT the Tenaja Trailhead in the beginning. That is a 14 mile hike.
Tenaja Falls, about 1.4 miles, has been the easiest hike I’ve done. If you’re looking for a nice and relaxing hike, this is your hike! I’m going to admit, I like working hard for the destination at the end. Somehow, it makes it more special. Also, the water was super cold instead of refreshing after a usual hard hike. Although, it’s nice it was short. I took my brothers and cousins on this hike as well. For crying out loud, do they have energy! They were all over the waterfalls like monkeys.
Be careful descending towards the falls. The rocks are incredibly slippery and even more so with water. During the hike, we ran into someone hopping down the mountain in pain. Apparently, he became distracted and slipped on the rocks. It seems like he has a sprained ankle. We wished him well. Also, a fellow hiker told us about the snakes that come to cool off at these waterfalls during the summer. I shivered at the thought of swimming into a snake!
Since we were 17 minutes away from Lake Elsinore, I wanted to see the poppy fields! We got off the I-15 onto Lake Street. Walker Canyon Road was on our left and you can see several cars parked on the side. We didn’t know what to expect since there wasn’t too much information online. There’s a clear trail heading into the hills. This hike is a longer one than you’d expect. We hiked more than 2 miles and still didn’t come across the poppy fields. We turned back since it was getting late. There are definitely some beautiful flowers on the trail.