Bluewater Traverse

Lake Elsinore, California 92531

Bluewater Traverse

Bluewater Traverse Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"From Ortega Highway on the north to Tenaja Road on the south, this route traverses the heart of the San Mateo Wilderness by way of old roads and primitive trails. Carry a full backpack and plan to spend a night out in Oak Flats or San Mateo Canyon, or go light and make this simply a long day’s outing.

Without a doubt, March and April are the most rewarding times: knee-high grasses ripple across the potreros, chaparral blooms release their potent fragrances, and water trickles down the shady ravines. Depending on its state of maintenance, the Bluewater Trail may be quite overgrown by encroaching vegetation, so it would be wise to contact the Forest Service before attempting this route."

Bluewater Traverse Trip Reports

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This was a hike that offered a lot of different views. From the start, you are hiking through typical southern California chaparral. This turned into green meadows where we found many cows out grazing. While there was some water here, we passed on filtering, as I do not like drinking cow patty flavored water. The trail down into the canyon was very steep and had a lot of loose rock. But once you hit the bottom, there is a small creek to rest your feet.

Camped in San Mateo creek area for the night. The creek had good flow, and filtered well. Made the loop back up to Ortega highway to complete the trip.

Would recommend the trip as a good spring time getaway

Bluewater Traverse Photos

Trail Information

Lake Elsinore
Nearby City
2,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
7 hours
Best: November through May
Local Contacts
USFS San Mateo Canyon Wilderness
Local Maps

Trail Log