Elfin Forest is an 800-acre reserve many miles of multi-use trails and about 10 miles open for mountain bikes. Elfin Forest is a term used to describe the costal scrub that once covered most of southern California. The reserve encompasses a stretch of Escondido Creek in San Elijo Canyon, an oak valley, and several surrounding ridges. The trials are very well maintained and provide a great short workout.To get to the top of the reserve you take a trail called “The Way Up”. It is a great technical 1.5 miles climb up 700 feet. It is rocky with technical rock-water-bars you need to clear. It is not easy to clean the whole thing. Once up top I suggest the Equine Incline Loop Trails and the trial to the Lake Hodges lookout. If you plan on doing this on the weekend watch out for all the hikers.
Elfin Forest is off Harmony Grove road between Carlsbad and San Marcos. Exit I-15 at Valley Pkwy in Escondido, go south 1 block to Auto Pkwy and turn right. Turn left on Howard Ave. Turn right on Harmony Grove Rd. Stay on Harmony Grove Rd. for about 3 miles to Elfin Forest. You can’t miss the sign. Here you will find a large parking lot with water and restrooms.
Elfin Forest is one of the toughest rides I know of in San Diego. The climb up is a tough granny gear climb. The switchbacks are challenging and fun. The Lake Hodges overlook has a great loop at the end which is a lot of fun. I ride the Equine Loop in the clock wise direction. The descent back down the mountain is a good test for your brakes. Watch out for hikers and take it slow.
02/03/2009Elfin Forest Sign off Harmony Grove
02/03/2009View of parking area
02/03/2009Trailhead parking entrance
02/03/2009Elfin Forest Trailhead
02/03/2009The Way up Trail
02/03/2009Way up Trail switchbacks
02/03/2009Almost to the top
02/03/2009Past the switchback part
02/03/2009Trail from Way Up to Equine Incline
02/03/2009Equine Incline Loop Trail
02/03/2009A few rocks on the trail
02/03/2009Elfin Forest Trail MapPrint Trail Map (.pdf)
Copyright © 2011 WhereWeRide.