Olivenhain Dam Loop via Way Up Trail In Elfin ForestOlivenhain Dam is located in the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido California in San Diego County. The dam forms a reservoir which holds over seven billion gallons of usable water for the San Diego area. Elfin Forest Reserve lies inside the Escondido Watershed. The Escondido Creek flows year round from Lake Wohlford through the reserve all the way to the San Elijo lagoon in Encinitas. The Elfin Forest Reserve has about eleven miles of hiking trails available for public use. The smaller of the trails are about half a mile but there are many off shoots of the main trails. With these smaller offshoots you can extend the trails to several miles by connecting them together. This hiking guide references the Olivenhain Dam Loop Trail. The trail begins on the Way Up Trail at the parking lot. The Way Up Trail terminates at the top and to the right you can take the Ridgeline Maintenance Road to the Ray Brooks Olivenhain Dam overlook. You can then loop back and take the Ridgeline Maintenance Road back to the Way Up Trail around the dam to the Lake Hodges Overlook. The Olivenhain Dam loop trail is great for bird watching, wildflower viewing, picnics, and offers views of the coast and local San Diego Mountains. There are multiple shaded benches that can be used for picnics near the top of the Way Up Trail or at the Olivenhain Dam Overlook.
On A Personal NoteThis little gem of a reservoir his hidden above the hills of Escondido. I actually had no idea this reservoir existed until I hiked to the top. The trail is a moderate challenge and I used to use this area for trail running. On a calm morning or evening the reservoir does have some beautiful lake reflections. The source of water makes this place a good opportunity for bird viewing. Looking for another trail similar to this? Try the Lake Hodges High Trail. This trail is part of the San Dieguito River Park trail system and skirts along the high edges of Lake Hodges. Througout the trail will be expansive views of Lake Hodges. This is a great option for bird viewing during the dawn and late afternoon hours.
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- Overall Difficulty: 45% 45%
- Overall Views: 65% 65%