Discovering The Elfin Forest

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By Courtney Daly-Pavone August 13, 2020

After living in San Diego for fifteen years I thought I've seen everything, but recently I took a trip to The Elfin Forest in Escondido with my son and dog Luke, and we discovered a hidden gem. 

The Elfin Forest is a 784-acre Reserve and one of San Diego most precious natural resources located in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

The forest has eleven miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points. 

There are native plant communities of oak riparian, oak woodland, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral. All wildlife and natural resources at the Reserve are fully protected so that future generations may also enjoy these wonders.

After five months of sheltering in place we were out of shape, but that didn't stop up us from taking on the 7.1 Way Up Trail at Elfin. It was a steep hike up a rocky road in the Escondido sun. We started our hike after 2 PM, packed plenty of water and ice, but the sun and heat got the better of us. We made it halfway up the trail, took a twenty minute breather, and turned around. The Escondido Creek was beckoning us, and so was the more novice Botanical Trail. 

The Escondido Creek is clean, cool, and welcoming. There are warning signs stating that you can swim at your own risk. It isn't very deep, but by the waterfall it's about 3 feet deep. If you have little ones you definitely want to watch them. My son and dog enjoyed swimming in the creek, and it's the ideal spot to spend the day and picnic. Afterwards we trekked the Botanical Trail which offers a self guided tour. It is also flat and stroller friendly if you don't mind getting dusty on the dirt road.

The interpretive center was temporarily closed due to Covid-19, but there is information on the Kumeyaay Native Americans that once lived on this great land on a plaque outside the center.

What We Loved About The Elfin Forest!

We loved the creek! It was also fun to explore the trails, and spend the day outdoors. We all came home tired, and less stressed. I find nature is therapeutic in these times. When I'm in the city and suburbs, I'm constantly reminded of the pandemic and current economic depression with closed shops, and empty towns, but nature stays the same. After all, there's no substitute for fresh air and clean water.

Elfin Forest Address: 8833 Harmony Grove Rd, Escondido, CA 92029 


During Covid-19 The Eflin Forest is open Hours


Phone: (760) 632-4212

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