Prior to last week’s fires, Olivenhain Municipal Water District water treatment operator Evan DeWindt captured this gorgeous aerial footage of the reserve utilizing a quadcopter. Nice shooting, Evan!
Ranger Shawnn recently spotted something very strange running across Harmony Grove Road, and discovered that it was a “tarantula hawk” wasp. The female tarantula hawk captures, stings, and paralyzes tarantulas, then either drags her prey back into her own burrow or transports it to a specially prepared nest, where a single egg is laid on the spider’s abdomen, and the entrance is covered. When the wasp larva hatches, it creates a small hole in the spider's abdomen, then enters and feeds voraciously, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep the spider alive. After several weeks, the larva pupates. Finally, the wasp becomes an adult, and emerges from the spider's abdomen to continue the life cycle. Ranger Shawnn said that, until now, he hadn’t seen anything like it in his eight years at EFRR!
After this week’s rain, Park Supervisor Jeff Anderson encountered a large buildup of foam that occurs seasonally in Escondido Creek. The foam is caused by surfactants, which reduce surface tension of the water and cause air to be trapped at the surface in areas where there is turbulence. Surfactants include naturally occurring dissolved organic carbon as well as certain man-made substances commonly found in household and personal cleaning supplies. They are plentiful after rains as organic material and other runoff wash into the creek. Be aware of man-made substances you allow to run off your property as this is one of the places where they end up!
314 Reviews
Tell people what you think
Penny Waugh
· March 6, 2018
I’m new to the San Marcos area and loved this trail! Super clean, easy to navigate and everyone on the trail was friendly. The lake view at the top is a sweet reward for the hike up!
Michael Wall
· June 5, 2017
Elfin Forest is a little gem in inland San Diego. Escondido Creek is always flowing. The sound of flowing creeks is such an anomoly in our region. Because it is a north-facing slope from the visitor c...enter, spring lasts longer and the vegetation is thicker. The trails are good and well-loved. Be prepared to park on the road on the weekends. It can be a little busy, but well worth it. See More
Reese Owen Helman
· November 23, 2016
One of the best hikes in North county San Diego. The way up Trail is a moderate 1.4 mile upward switchback slope. once you get to the top there are many miles of trails branching off and you can hear ...the quale in the brush. Very peaceful with a beautiful view of the reservoir. Take plenty of water. See More
Annika Jimenez
· March 20, 2017
Elfin Forest was a great demanding hike for our family of 4, of which 2 are 6 & 8 yrs. The post-rains full rushing creek and the switchbacks and views were fun hike perks. Once at the top, there is to explore save for various vista points (overlooking the reservoir) and picnic spots. The kids found tadpoles and other fun finds. All in, a nice day-hike surprisingly close to Encinitas/Carlsbad! See More
Christina Kerr
· July 2, 2017
We love to hike here. Yesterday, we park off the street down past the main entrance. West side. This hike has the 70's campground park that was washed out. Yesterday, we couldn't walk through that are...a. I think a tree fell or something that didn't allow us to cross . Usually you walk over the broken concrete to the trail. Next time we would start at the east trail head. See More
Kelly Pearson Korbacher
· April 3, 2017
Great moderate hike. During the springtime the creek is flowing and gorgeous. We'd definitely do this hike again. It seemed to get pretty busy after 10 AM on the weekend. Would recommend getting on th...e trail as early as possible. Parking gates open at 8 AM on the weekends during spring time. See More
Patricia Lee Edwards
· January 29, 2017
I have lived in coastal north county S.D. for over 20yrs and had never been to Elfin Forest.......until this past weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the various trails. I arrived closer to n...oon and both parking lot's were already full but was able to park along the road fairly close to the entrance. The coastal oaks, natural chaparral, the creek ~ which right now is higher than usual ~ and the views all make the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve truly a magical place. I will be back. See More
Joann McLemore
· April 14, 2017
Love this place.. the equine/incline trail is over grown and could use some trimming but overall, I enjoy all the trails and get a very good workout every time
Cande Rogert
· January 9, 2017
lovely place, the hike we did was beautiful. Pleasant and easy enough to do it with a young kid and our dog.
Well looked after with plenty of shade and places to rest.
Nick Altman
· October 17, 2016
For those of you who like hiking and spend hours exploring this is the place for you. The trails connect all around Lake Hodges for those who live in Rancho Bernardo and Escondido. Nothing says good m...orning like the sun rise at the top of the Lake Hodges look out. See More
Loren Hewins
· October 27, 2016
Beautiful views that are well worth the painstaking switchbacks. Be sure to bring plenty of water. Otherwise it's a great string of trails with several great overlooks along the way.
Kevin McDermott
· April 2, 2017
My first time ever doing this hike after I heard good things from friends. Was absolutely amazing and really loved the experience. One of the best in the area!
Earline Ventura
· March 5, 2016
Start early (6:00am) less crowded....awesome views when you get to the top! Great hike but first mile is straight up but worth it! Round trip was 7.5 miles.
Jesus Ibarra Jr.
· May 26, 2017
Just a great place to hike I love it, the scenery is just amazing love nature, besides it gives me a great workout
Eleanor Hopkins Hauft
· December 5, 2016
Loved the beautiful creek at the bottom! Nice surprise. View of snowy peaks to the north and the ocean. Definitely recommend.
Vince Oaker
· December 31, 2013
Great trails and views from the top. On a clear day, you can see from the mountains to the east to the ocean in the west. Not to mention it's top notch Ranger staff that offer great advice and keep th...e trails in excellent condition. See More
Marc Bancells
· September 6, 2017
One of my favorites in North County... Nice trails, nice views...
Alison Peeler
· May 30, 2016
Elfin forest is beautiful. Lots of trails and the views are spectacular at the top of Elfin overlook trail. Bring water for you and if you have a dog, they need water 2... highly recommend, hike here... all the time. See More
Suzanne Scott
· November 26, 2015
This is a beautiful surprise!!!! An amazing place with hiking, nature walks, Interpretative Center, all welcome... and a chance to volunteer if you love and appreciate like I do!!
Angel PinaHardin
· August 20, 2017
Great hike but parking was not good. Will definitely go back though.

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