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Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

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Nice family hike & botanical trail.
Near:Encinitas, CA
Distance:3.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1200 ft
Hike Time:2 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

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 2 of 6   Submit your own review
Reviewed by DR on 5/14/2010
A good hike but lots of rattlesnakes up there. Had a very close call with my dog last year. They just lay out on the trail(way up trail) and are difficult to see so be careful!

Reviewed by MW on 5/1/2010
Took my 7 yr old. Had a good time. Parked in the lot, and hiked the Way Up Trail, then to the Escondido Overlook. We swung by the Ridgetop Picnic area before going back. Hike is fairly steep, I wouldn't bring my 5 yr old, but others had that age. Saw a flying quail for the first time in my life, normally they just run under the brush.

Reviewed by sean&lexi on 1/31/2010
VERY GOOD EXCERSIE. sometimes steep but mostly managable. wear comfortable shoes. also the directions were kind of confusing. make sure you go all the way down Olivenhain to Santa Fe to Elijio.

Reviewed by Brady on 12/5/2009
Great Hike and I did some exploring on the creek trail, very scenic and a leisurely hike, you can take it easy and just enjoy the day check out my video I took while on the creek trail, but if you want to get near the water you have to want to do some exploring in some parts, enjoy!!

Reviewed by Juneboarder on 7/27/2009
This is a local hiking area and I must say that I go here at least once a month. The previous poster either couldn't locate the Way Up Trail, or chose not to go that route. You must go up the Way Up Trail to reach all other trails or else the only other trail is one that meanders along the creek. This is dog friendly, but hot in the summer months. Bring lots of water.

Reviewed by giovannih on 3/31/2009
man this place is horrible graffiti on cement u could see all the cars their is horse crap all over the place and its not even a hike more like a run around block.. also lost my phone in the river:(

Reviewed by Sabrina on 3/30/2009
I've visited Elfin Forest since I was 7 years old, it's such an awesome place! Bring your camera!! There used to be a campground there where we went every other weekend when I was a kid, but I can't locate it on the net. I'm now 50. :)

Reviewed by SoCal Hikers on 3/10/2009
I have lived in California for almost three years and I hike all over. Elfin Forest is still my favorite. It is only 1.5 miles to the top but you can hike so many more awesome trails once you get to the top. You can go for at least 6 to 9 more miles. Many bikers love it too. I could never bike it, I would not make it. We take our four year old daughter and she loves it too. She hikes regularly though. I think it is difficult for small children to make it up. We picnic and just have fun. Yes it is off Elfin Forest Road not San Elijo Road but just because you do not find it does not make it a bad hiking spot. It is awesome for the whole family.

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.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Diego County Hiking, San Diego County Trails, San Diego County Hikes

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