Elfin Forest - A Great San Diego Hike 

Elfin Forest

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is a 750 scenic area with 13 miles of hiking, equestrian trails, mountain biking, and picnic areas. This reserve is especially beautiful in the spring when you will find many colorful wild flowers in bloom.

There are a variety of hiking trails. Mountain bikes and leashed dogs are also allowed on the trails. Print a copy of the trail map before you leave home.



After hiking here, explore other hiking adventures in San Diego:

Hike Cedar Falls| Hiking Torrey Pines|Mission Trails
Cabrillo National Monument|Iron Mountain|Camping



The trail along the flowing creek is an easy hike on level ground. The creek is lined with oak trees. The Botanical Trail has signs that describe the plants in the area.

San Diego Hike

The main hike in this ecological preserve is the 1.5 mile Way Up Trail. It is aptly named for its elevation gain of 600 feet. The trail leads up the mountain to the Ridgetop Picnic Area where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the area. On a clear day you will be able to see San Diego, the reservoir, and the Pacific Ocean, which is 12 miles away. 

Permits are required for groups of 8 or more people. You can get a permit for free by calling the Olivenhain Municipal Water District Parks Department at (760) 632-4212.

Directions from Hwy. 78:
Exit at Rancho Santa Fe South. Turn left onto San Elijo. Turn right onto Elfin Forest Road. This road will change its name to Harmony Grove Road. Continue on Harmony Grove Road until you reach the parking lot. The address for the park is 8833 Harmony Grove Rd., Escondido, CA 92029.

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Swim Beneath a Waterfall - Hike Cedar Falls


Torrey Pines


Iron Mountain


Elfin Forest


Camping in Around San Diego