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San Mateo Canyon (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide
"Amid a chorus of droning bees, you hear the soft melody of water sliding over polished rock and your own crackling footsteps on brittle leaves. A fat gopher snake lounging by the creek stiffens at your approach. Tiny fish dart about in the stream eddies, while a pond turtle launches itself from a rock shelf, deftly slicing through the surface of a crystalline pool. You’re in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness—a roadless area almost completely surrounded by the Southern California megalopolis. This is a perfect destination for a cool-season weekend escape, no more than a 2-hour drive from any part of greater Los Angeles or San Diego."
--Author varies by trail, Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State (Wilderness Press).
A 3.6 mile hike from the trail head into fisherman’s camp is a good first time hike/backpacking trip. I took my Scout’s there for there first backpacking trip this last week 03/24/08. We stayed three days and two nights. On the second day we took a 5.4 mile round trip hike from Fisherman’s camp to Tenaja Falls. The hike there was very nice, though the falls itself was not that spectacular. For photos of the hike and falls visit http://www.troop1412.org/Photos/08_Tenaja_Trail/index.html
Very nice hike. Easy access. Lots of water when we went in March.
The route we took from the Tenaja Station along the Tenaja Canyon was a relatively easy route, but not on the map at all. There was some confusion when we reached Fishermans Camp because the map showed an old road ending at the campsite and it did not, though there was a trail that led to it (1.6 miles). Also, Fishermans Camp was a bit of a misnomer as there was very little water -- streams mostly dry -- and no fish. Otherwise a nice hike.
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