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Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Escondido

4.8
#3 of 7 in Parks in Escondido
Forest Nature / Park
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is located in Escondido. Plan to visit Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Escondido attractions using our Escondido vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
31 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The main parking area is fairly limited, but there is an overflow lot nearby. You start the hike by crossing a bridge over a good size stream. The hike up the hill is somewhat steep at times, with sec...  more »
  • A local referred us to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve for a walk, telling us that the trail could be either six miles or ten miles. Since we are used to walking six miles on the weekend, Elfin ...  more »
  • I love going here for a quick and mild workout. You can go different ways for a different experience. You can either end up taking a dirt path all the way or a path where you end up walking through a ...  more »
Google
  • I've lived in San Diego for about ten years and I have done several hikes. I only found out about this place recently. It's really great! I saw the creek and the botanical trail. It was really awesome. I plan to keep going.
  • From the Staging Area, you have two options: botanical trail (easy) and The Way Up (difficult). On the botanical trail, be aware that you have to cross the river. This will involve hopping from rock to rock. It's really pretty and worth checking out, even if you only go to the river and don't cross. We took The Way Up. The beginning of the climb is intense. Lots of elevation gain over a short distance. I would say that trekking poles are appropriate for this hike. Once you finish the 1.4 mile trail, you come to a crossroads. You can stop there at the picnic area, continue 0.2 miles to another picnic area, head up to Escondido Overlook (0.2mi), or take the 1.7 mile hike to the Lake Hodges overlook. If you don't want to go the extra 3.4 miles, you can see the lake from the first picnic area pretty well. It gets really hot in Escondido so check the weather and bring lots of water! Go early in the morning or in the evening. Be aware that the park closes at sunset.
  • Nice nature hike. Medium difficulty but rest stops along the way going up. Need an easy option? Take the biological trail which includes a small river crossing. Go early because parking is limited.
  • Since I am a runner I am always looking for tough terrain to run. This place is AWESOME. One tip I will give bring toilet paper for the bathrooms since they werw completely out other than that enjoy
  • This is a very challenging Mountain Bike ride. The first part is pure technical up hill. After that the top is some fun single and double track with only a few short climbs. Be prepared for a lot of loose rocky sections. I went during the week and there were a lot of people hiking and walking their dogs so be aware and courteous. Right now with the rains it is very green and a nice ride. I would guess it gets very hot here in the summer so plan accordingly.

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Where to stay in Escondido

Like many California cities, Escondido is spread out. Downtown lodgings are close to dining and transportation. If the purpose of your visit is to see one of the notable attractions outside of downtown, then consider staying near the attraction.
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