Archive for the ‘Elfin Forest’ Category

Sunday was the first clear and sunshine-filled day after a week of serious storms here in Southern California.  I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather before the next set of storms was to dampen San Diego County.  Searching for a hike with views of surrounding mountain ranges, I settled on the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido.  Apparently a lot of people had the same idea about getting outside, as both parking lots were full and I had to park on the side of the road.  I made my way down to the main entrance, crossed the rushing Escondido Creek (more like a river), and started on the Way Up Trail, which literally means just that. 

Start of Way Up Trail

The 1.4 mile trail is dotted with chaparral and there are lots of switchbacks.  I quickly warmed up as the trail is somewhat steep.  A few mountain bikers passed me and I gave them kudos for tackling such a strenuous trail. 

View of Escondido

I finally made it to the top which meets the Ridgeline Maintenance Road.  From here there are great views of Olivenhain Dam, Escondido, and Palomar Mountain.  A couple of years ago, my family and I wanted to continue onto the Lake Hodges Overlook Trail, but it was undergoing maintenance because of the Witch Fire of 2007.  This time, I was able to take this route.  Turn left onto the Ridgeline Maintenance Road.  After passing the Escondido Overlook, you’ll connect to the Lake Hodges Overlook Trail. 

Trail marker

After about .75 miles, I reached the Lake Hodges Overlook where I took a break and admired the views of the lake and the mountains. 

Lake Hodges


Olivenhain Dam


View of San Bernardino Mountains and Palomar Mountain

This was a rather quiet portion of the hike, as I didn’t pass any mountain bikers or families, only couples who were interested in a longer hike.  The trails are well maintained and there are restrooms, picnic areas, and drinking water near the dam.  Overall, a great place for a hike if you are looking to stay close to San Diego.

Read Full Post »