Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

Elfin Forest Overlook

I’m home in San Diego for the weekend so that means….nature time! I spent the first half of my day at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. I started at the Botanical Trail then went on to the Way Up Trail, then got to the Ridgeline Maintenance Road, steered off the path on Tyke’s Hike Trail, got back on the Ridgeline Maintenance Road, then continued on into Ray Brooks Overlooks, I ended by taking the Manzanita Trail into the Elfin Forest Overlook. I thought it was a pretty easy hike! It had a slow ascent and no majorly steep inclines (on the route I took and compared to other trails I’ve hiked in So. Cal). Then, I drove back to the coast and spent the evening at the beach where I welcomed the sunset. So. Cal, you can have my whole entire heart! I’ll be sharing photographs below.

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I entered the reserve via park entrance #2 as seen on this map. I ended at #22. I took the Manzanita Trail (#23) into the Elfin Forest Overlook, which is photographed in the first picture I shared in this post. {Map Source}

Here’s a little bit about the space:

“One of San Diego County’s most precious natural resources, the Reserve offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points. In addition, the natural beauty of the Reserve includes such native plant communities as 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.

The 784-acre reserve was developed by OMWD in partnership with San Diego County Water Authority and U.S. Department of the Interior – Bureau of Land Management, as an element of the Olivenhain Water Storage Project and the Authority’s Emergency Storage Project. Owned by the Authority and managed by OMWD, the Reserve has been designed to unify the interests of domestic water supply development, natural resources management, and recreational opportunities.

The Reserve first opened in 1992 and sits within the Escondido Creek watershed, which flows year-round from Lake Wohlford to San Elijo Lagoon. The creek runs adjacent to the Reserve’s staging area, giving all visitors an opportunity to pass over it as they begin their hike or ride from the trailhead. The Reserve also boasts six designated overlooks, each with a shade structure and/or picnic tables and views of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Coronado Islands, the Laguna and San Bernardino mountain ranges, and Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. Other amenities include portable restrooms and drinking fountains. Whether hiking, biking, riding, or just relaxing, experiencing one of the few remaining rural areas in North County is a great way to spend the day.

The Reserve’s rangers conduct guided group tours and student exploration programs to help promote environmental awareness and preservation of local watersheds and heighten knowledge of the natural surroundings.” {Source}

Water is Life
Map, Collars, Leashes, Rope, Clips
There was a sign next to this view that stated the following: “Olivenhain Dam was the first major dam built in San Diego County in 50 years. At 318 feet tall, it was the largest dam of its kind in North America at the time it was built. The reservoir holds 24,000 acre-feet of water enough to supply 50,000 families for approximately one year. Why was the dam built? The San Diego County Water Authority built Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir to protect the San Diego region from a severe water supply shortage. The Water Authority partnered with Olivenhain Munincipal Water District to build this project. Currently, the San Diego region is highly reliant upon receiving imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. A severe drought or major earthquake could interrupt San Diego County’s water supply for up to six months. Recognizing this threat, the Water Authority developed the Emergency Storage Project. The Emergency Storage Project has created a system of interconnected reservoirs and pump stations, assuring that water flow throughout the county even if a disaster disrupts the region’s water supply.”
Cracks: Arid
Cacti at the Ray Brooks Overlook
Pacific Sunset

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