ABOUT THE HIKE: Happy (almost) St. Patrick's Day! This hike within the 750 acre Elfin Forest Recreation Reserve features the best views of the Olivenhain Reservoir and Lake Hodges. The Elfin Forest is named after a reference to the thick, jungle like growths of chaparral within the "forest." The route will begin crossing Escondido Creek and up the "Way Up Trail" to the Ridgeline Maintenance Road that connects to the Lake Hodges Overlook Loop Trail eventually reaching picnic tables at the Lake Hodges Overlook. This is the mid-point of the hike where we will stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we will complete the loop back to the trail head. The total hike distance is approximately 7 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain/loss. The total hike/picnic time will be 4 hours. The hike is dog friendly.
ABOUT THE PICNIC: We will be carrying our food and beverage items for our lunch picnic at the Lake Hodges Overlook.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From O.C., take the 5 Freeway south toward San Diego.... at Oceanside, take the Highway 78 toward Escondido.... take the 15 Freeway south.... exit Valley View Parkway heading west.... turn right on 9th Street....proceed .6 miles to a forced left onto Hale Avenue.... proceed .3 mile south on Hale.... turn right on Harmony Grove Road proceeding .4 mile making a left to stay on Harmony Grove Road.... proceed 3 miles to the Elfin Forest Reserve entrance.... turn left into the parking area. There are restrooms at the trail head.
PARKING: Trailhead parking is very limited. Please plan to car pool and arrive at 8 AM when the gate to parking opens. There is an overflow parking lot for a dozen cars east of trailhead parking lot. There is also parking along Harmony Grove Road outside the restricted parking areas and along Wild Willow Hollow Road. Allow for time to walk from these overflow parking areas to the trailhead.
DISCLAIMER: Group organizer and assistant organizers assume no liability; hike at your own risk. By being a member of this group you hereby agree to assume all risks and liability related to or resulting from any group functions. You agree that neither you nor any third party will hold any of the group's leaders, officers, or representatives liable for any injury, loss, or damage to your own person or any members of your family, friends, acquaintances, children, pets, or property, arising directly or as a consequence from a group activity. You also agree that your membership of this group is based on an "at will" basis.