Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow on the Santa Ana Mountains (tenaja falls hike)

Friday December 19 Ashley and I set out to go hiking to Tenaja Falls in the San Mateo Wilderness. The past week it had rain here and we got close to 3 inches of rain from the storms. The snow level was also very low and it got down probably close to 1500 feet, which meant the Santa Ana Mountains got a lot of snow. My guess is they got about double the amount of rain plus snow due to the elevation.

On our way up Ortega Highway, there was still snow two days after the weather had passed. We took a detour and went down the south main divide road and looked at the snow. From my guess they probably got somewhere between 6 inches to a foot of snow. We went down road for little bit, because we could get to the tenaja falls trail head on that road, however the storm had knocked some trees over and we could not get through, so we went the long way to the trailhead.

Once we got to the other side, off of Clinton Keith Road, the gait was also closed there to get to the tenaja falls trailhead. It was detour and we had to change our hiking plans. We parked at the tenaja trail head and walked on the road towards the tenaja falls trial head. A Forest Adventure Pass is needed to park at the trailhead. Ashley and I enjoyed the walk. It had been about two months since we were last able to get out hiking. It was great to be done with the first semester of law school and to be out in the wilderness relaxing again.

We had a good little hike probably about a 4 - 5 mile round trip hike. We saw a total of 4 coyotes, 3 were together and then we saw a separate lone coyote while we were out. With the rain we could see several areas with recent animal tracks. It was also fairly cold while we were out their. It was probably in the upper 40's while we were out there.

We ran into a park ranger out there and talked with him for a little bit. He informed us they would reopen the road to tenaja falls when the weather got better. We will try and get out there to see the falls soon. There should be water due to the rain and snow we got recently.

View Tenaja Falls Service Rd. Hike in a larger map

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