Tucked away in Escondido, California, the Elfin Forest Trail Network promises a challenging, technical ride that's not for the faint of heart. Offering a distance of 14 miles and classified as a difficult-level network route, this intricate trail system provides steep climbs, tight switchbacks, and a plethora of rocky terrains that will give your full suspension a run for its money.
For those coming from San Diego:
Elfin Forest Trailhead: 8591 Harmony Grove Rd, Escondido, CADel Dios Highlands Trailhead: 9860 Del Dios Hwy, Escondido, CA
The network offers a mix-and-match approach to riding. A suggested route could be: Way Up Trail > Quail Trail > Escondido Overlook > Lake Hodges Overlook loop > Witch Trail diversion > Equine Incline Loop (clockwise) > Way Up Trail. Weekends see increased foot traffic, particularly on The Way Up Trail, so courtesy bells for alerting hikers are highly recommended.Loose rocks and sandy ruts characterize the terrain here. A 6-inch full-suspension bike is suggested for an enjoyable experience. One rider, returning to mountain biking after nearly a decade, chose the Elfin Forest as a re-entry point and found the uphill battle worthwhile for the ensuing descents. The trails are technical but rewarding; for every challenging climb, there's an exhilarating downhill waiting just around the corner.
The Elfin Forest Trail Network in Escondido is a challenging but rewarding technical playground. It's a place where every climb leads to a thrilling descent, making all the work worthwhile. With its network of trails, seasoned mountain bikers will find endless opportunities to hone their skills. If you're up for a challenge and a half, this trail network should be next on your list.