Elfin Forest is a place I have heard a lot about from friends but I had never been there myself until recently. We didn't arrive until well past noon so it was a nice hot day.
Most people were finishing up their hike when we were starting off, and an early morning hike might be better on a hot day. Despite other hikers finishing up their hikes while we were just beginning the small parking lot was full and we were lucky to get a space in the small overflow lot. Despite the heat, it was a great hike with a nice climb and ended with a beautiful view of the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir before hiking back down to the parking lot.
Maps and Elevation Profile
You can navigate to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Parking lot on google maps here.
The Caltopo Elfin Forest Map can be viewed here.
Once we walked out of the parking lot we immediately heard rushing water from a creek, and laughter form some small children playing in it. I was caught a little off guard, there are not a whole lot of hikes in San Diego with a nice running creek, and it was a nice surprise.
There were some nice huge stones to cross without getting wet.
We decided to start off on the Botonical Trail which absolutely smelled amazing! Along the trail, there are also a lot of neat facts about the local plant life along the trail.
The Botanical Trail eventually connects back to the Way Up trail which is the main trail up over the ridge. Hiking up the ridge is a pretty good climb but the trail has some good switchbacks so it never gets too crazy steep.
About halfway up there is also a great spot to stop and rest and enjoy the views looking back down from where you started.
While on this hike I was also testing out my new Dyneema backpack that I built, so I finally got a couple of pictures of it out on a trail!
As you get to the top of the ridge the trail opens up to a much wider dirt road and begins to fork into quite a few different trails.
As we approached the first major intersection we could see some benches with some shade in the distance to our left like the one we stopped at halfway up the trail. We decided to go left and follow the wide dirt road up one more small hill to get to the benches which we found had a great view overlooking the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir.
The picture above is looking back down the dirt road we hiked up which leads to the shaded benches overlooking the reservoir.
When we got to the benches we took a quick break, drank a lot of water, and enjoyed the view of the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir.
On the way back down to the parking lot we more or less had the trail to ourselves and I enjoyed some views I missed on the way up.
I can't wait to go back and see what else the Elfin forest has to offer!
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