Summary: This is a good family hike thru an ecological preserve. The main trail has many tributary trails to explore thus providing the hiker many reasons to return. The Escondido Creek marks the trailhead, be sure to explore the wildlife in its biosphere. The main trail is a 1.6 mile which meanders up a wall then leads up to numerous trails of varying difficulties. There is a Botanical Trail well marked describing the various plant life in the area. Also, be sure to look for the mule deer in the area. One can also hike about 9 miles one way over the mountain to Lake Hodges for a more strenuous journey.
Trailhead: From Highway 78 take Rancho Santa Fe Road south. Go east on San Elijo Road about 5 miles to the Elfin Forest Receational Reserve parking lot. Its well marked and easy to find. (Lat:33.0799980977798 Lon:-117.129778970039)
Trail Guides for Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve :
Afoot & Afield in San Diego County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Olivenhain Municipal Water District Parks Dept (760) 753-6466 x 147
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kevin Vasquez, who has posted 7 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 6 Submit your own review
Reviewed by ez on 7/20/2012
wuz ez dog
Reviewed by Aaron on 7/8/2012
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Reviewed by RA on 12/24/2011
A very nice hike to the overlook. Rocky, steep in places. Busy on weekends. Return to parking on botanical trail with a nice creek crossing at the end. Driving directions are incomplete. Turn off from Rancho Santa Fe, east to San Elijo Road, continue to Elfin Forest/ Harmony Grove Road. I will definitely do this again.
Reviewed by jla on 1/16/2011
a bit too many people, good nature walk. not a true alpine adventure, but nice to see a less urbanized area of SoCal.
Reviewed by Ed on 10/4/2010
I mountain biked the trail very good trail to bike I started to early in the morning and the fog was really thick couldn't see anything. Recommend not to hike or ride on a foggy morning will be back on a better day and ride to lake Hodges.
Reviewed by Teri on 7/23/2010
My husband and I hiked this last Sunday and really enjoyed ourselves. The trails were rugges in some places, and well traveled in others. The distance above says 3.2 miles but there are a lot of trails off of the main trail and this distance is not accurate. You can hike here for hours if you have the time. Highly reccommend!
Reviewed by Bill on 6/17/2010
What a nice hike, and if you wish a view of Lake Hodges go to the top. This was my wife's and my first visit and we would go again and again. We live within two miles and had never taken this set of trails. Lots more to explore. If starting late park outside the gates as parking closes at 6:30PM. Beautiful below on a nice flat walk, steeper on the 1 1/2 mile climb to see Lake Hodges. Lots of spring flowers. We enjoyed it immensely. l
Reviewed by KTA on 6/5/2010
This is one of my favorite hikes thus far in San Diego county. I did hear about a dozen rattle snakes allong the trails, but never saw one. Lots of bikers, so be careful on the switchbacks. We hike with an infant (4 weeks) in the Moby and a 2 year old in a backpack carrier and they both do great.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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