Elfin Forest, Escondido

A great hike if you’re looking for something a little more challenging and longer in length. Elfin Forest has 11 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking, and also for equestrian use. The drive to get here and the trail are both very scenic, but my favorite part is definitely lunch at my favorite brewery after. Details to follow.

You’ll be getting a decent workout in with this 6.5 mile hike to Lake Hodges Overlook. The first 1.5 mile is uphill, with an elevation gain of over 800 feet. It’s called the “Way Up Trail” for a reason! Throughout this hiking trail there are several picnic tables set up to stop and rest.

You’ll get a spectacular view of Olivenhain Reservoir and Lake Hodges. Elevation 1,200 feet. You ready to get a sweat going? ?

Here are the deets-

  • Trailhead: 8833 Harmony Grove Rd., Escondido, CA
  • Distance: 6.5 miles round trip
  • Dog Friendly: Yes ??
  • Parking: There are 2 lots available with some street parking


  • Get here early! During the day there’s no shade and parking on the weekend sucks.
  • The reserve is open at 8:00 AM every day but closing time varies depending on the time of year. Typically 30 minutes before sunset. At the trailhead, you’ll find the exact closing time
  • Pack a lunch and have a picnic
  • Pay attention to the signs! Very easy to take a wrong turn on this trail.

Post- hike beer/ lunch: Stone Brewery in Escondido ?

Check out Elfin Forest Reserve website for updates on closures and guided hikes.

If you’re looking for a beach hike, check out Mushroom House in La Jolla.

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