Elfin Forest Trail

#1 of 2 trails in Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

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Elfin Forest Trail is a 6.8 mile out and back trail located near Escondido, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, mountain biking & walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
1966 Olivenhain Rd.
Encinitas
(760) 753-6466

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3 Completed 3 Reviews

Pretty easy trail for me. What's great is on your way back you can stop at the creek and cool off.

Many people bring theirs kids to enjoy cooling off in the water. If you bring your dogs, please make sure you pick up their shit. Numerous times have I almost stepped on some.

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8 Completed 4 Reviews

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6 Completed 6 Reviews

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3 Completed 2 Reviews

Great trail. Moderate difficulty. Plenty of variation with side trails and scenic overlooks. Came in mid-morning and main parking and overflow were full so several of us had to park on the highway. Not much shade after the first mile - strongly recommend plenty of water and sun block in the summer. Water and restrooms are available at the trailhead and the 1.5 mile point. Overall, one of the better trails I have been on in SoCal.

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3 Completed 3 Reviews

I absolutely loved this trail. We hiked up to the Lake Hodges Overlook. it was gorgeous. it ended up being just over 8 miles. This is definitely a hike I would do again and recommend to others. It is better to do this hike early to avoid too much sun. There is not much shade and with the summer months approaching, the heat in Escondido can be unbearable.

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Lianda Ludwig

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1 Completed 1 Reviews

This is a pretty spot with water running. You have to cross the creek, so if you're not too sure on your balance, bring a walking stick if you don't want to get wet. Dogs are allowed, and unfortunately, some people let their dogs bark incessantly- just when you want to get some peace and quiet!
Didn't go "The Way Up", but took the Botanical Trail. It still had quite a bit of uphill. A nice, not too far away place to be in nature.

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2 Completed 2 Reviews

Beautiful view, hiked this once. Long but semi moderate hike. Not too steep, and very leisurely.

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Megan M

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5 Completed 1 Reviews

Awesome views at the top are worth the endless switchbacks up.

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19 Completed 6 Reviews

I've done this hike a number of times and taken various branches from the top. Main thing to remember is that it's hot with little shade. The trail is very steep going up with a billion and one tight switchbacks. It's short lived though and worth the work. It's an excellent training trail that's free to all :-) If you aren't interested in the climb the garden trail is very beautiful, great for the young and the seasoned.

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10 Completed 8 Reviews

I did this hike on a tuesday morning with my husband. the elevation gain is relatively quick on the way up trail, but I wouldn't say its as difficult as mt woodson. we printed up a map from home before we went out, as I've learned from my first few hikes that there is almost always more than one trail to go and explore. we ended up checking out most the trails and hiked a little over 8 miles total. when we got to the overlook of lake Hodges we send up our hammock and relaxed for a few minutes before going on witch trail and heading back. the trail itself is very well maintained and there are plenty of places to take a minute and rest if necessary. I definitely recommend doing the botanical trail on the way out and checking out the creek viewing area. it was a really peaceful way to end the hike and relax before leaving. when you are on the way up trail you may hear a little noise from the construction nearby but its not so bad. nice hike, but I don't know if it has enough to bring me back for more trips.

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