Escondido, California

Day Hike Elfin Forest

Originally added by Dane

Amazing view of Lake Hodges with creek viewing areas. There are botanical garden trails and beautiful lush trees.

Elfin Forest is one of the most beautiful and unique trails in all of San Diego, CA. The parking is free as well as the overflow parking area. There is an Interpretive Center located in the staging area where you can speak to park rangers, learn about the wildlife and trail locations. The parking area and Interpretive Center is open from 8:00am-7:30pm.

The trail head begins at the Escondido Creek at 492ft elevation. The creek runs year round from Lake Wohlford to the Pacific Ocean. There are beautiful streams and small waterfalls that are easily accessible for viewing.

Beginning the hike to the top you can either take the Botanical Garden trail or the Way Up trail. If you decide to take the Botanical Garden trail be sure to grab a map at the Interpretive Center so you can locate the many listed species on the trail.

The Way Up trail (1.41 miles) is moderately steep and has a few picnic resting stops along the way with shade. It is still rideable up hill either mountain biking or horseback riding. Once the switchbacks end you continue on a flat wide trail until you hike your last hill (50 yds) to the Lake Hodges Overlook 1.200ft). The view of Lake Hodges is unbeatable.

On your way back be sure to stop at the picnic area just below the overlook where you can find restrooms and a much needed water fountain. The staff and rangers are super friendly and go above and beyond to assure you have a great experience. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water with you. As this trail is in Escondido it can get hot and dry in the afternoons.

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Tags

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great experience

Very fun hike. Be careful of rattlesnakes!

Great hike, pretty view, rattlesnake

Great hike, easy to find, and plenty of parking. Make sure to bring plenty of water and your hiking shoes. Beautiful mini Rapids, and view of lake Hodges. Lots of rattlesnakes

Love it

Beautiful setting! Parking available! Great place to get a work out. The trails are great for legs glutes and abs. The scenery is gorgeous. Watch out for mountain bikers make sure you bring lots of water.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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