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Thread: Elfin Forest

  1. #1
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    Elfin Forest

    I haven't been to Elfin Forest in over a decade. I rode it a bunch in the 90's and remember the main feature as trying to get up the Way Up trail. How is the riding up there these days? Has much been changed, or added?
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scepticshock View Post
    I haven't been to Elfin Forest in over a decade. I rode it a bunch in the 90's and remember the main feature as trying to get up the Way Up trail. How is the riding up there these days? Has much been changed, or added?
    Thanks!
    Ditto.

    I have been hiking (with the wife) the area a lot since.

    However, due to increased day-hiker use in the last 10 years, The Way Up Trail, like all the other trails up there, has become smoother and wider. So, it is easier to navigate up.

    Plus side, some of the shade has returned as well.

    There is talk of a new trail on the western slope that will connect the creek trail with Equine Incline Loop (I believe), that was supposed to happen this spring...I think there is a delay.

    Another rumor was that they were going to open up a trail that would connect the Lake Hodges Overlook Loop with the Witch Trail....just like before that damn dam was put in....I hope so!

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    Op,

    As long as you don't plan on bombing down the way up the traffic at Elfin isn't bad. Once you're on the loops things thin out nicely.

    LH overlook and the witch trail are fun with little rock rolls and 'slower' technical ST.

    Equine loop is still as you likely remember.

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    Well, if it truly has been a over a decade you missed a lot. The Way up trail is way different, there is a series of rock steps in sections to control erosion. Totally nerfed now but was challenging the first 3 months after it was built. When you make it to the top, the Hodges overlook loop is an out and back now because there is about 24,ooo acre of water in the middle. In the last couple of years Sdmba added a few new trails to the Hodges side, you missed a couple of re-routes already. And the former illegal trail down to Lake Hodges is now a road down to lake hodges with its own trail head parking at the bottom on Del Dios hwy.

    Truthfully I gave up riding weekends there 5 years ago and mainly hit it on weekdays after work. Not that the original parking lot was that big but they get so many visitors now that they built a second overflow parking lot for the weekends. By today's standards its not crowded but its a mutt and stopping for hikers really kills the flow.

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    Elfin Forest? Tell me all about this place.
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

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    Elfin Forest

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Elfin Forest? Tell me all about this place.
    No kidding. Just by the name alone, I want to go to there.
    '14 Lenz Lunchbox
    '08 Gary Fisher Ferrous 29

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    Don't expect a wooded elvish wonderland. After immediately crossing a creek you'll rise above the trees and shade.

    Weekdays are certainly best. If you ride Sat/Sun, go early or in the last hours of the day and the crowds are reduced and flow increased.

    The best aspect of Elfin, IMO, is the almost remote feel to it compared to other local trails. The few miles of twisty, ruralish road and the island like character of the reserve as it rises above the ever encroaching suburban sprawl (i.e. new development in Harmony Grove) makes it damn special.

    Hawg and scvkurt03,

    If you're coming from out of town to check it out. There's about 10 miles of trail if you go up The Way Up trail and ride both 'loops' up top and descend The Way Up trail. To add more mileage on the day ride the nearby Rancho La Costa Preserve trails. The two areas can be linked with some creative route finding and some road for a really long ride. Or do one in the morning, have lunch, and ride the second.

    One can also link Elfin with the trails at Lake Hodges via the illegal trail turned fire road mentioned above; but I don't recommend this unless you are really masochistic. I've heard it referred to as Only Once-and I concur. It's not even fun going down as its mostly off camber and loose DG over hardpack.

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    Thanks everybody for chiming in. I need to go back and check it out (on a not so hot weekday). I think memories of the Way up Trail, and not much more kept me from checking it out again.

    Lake Hodges is the same way. Anything new and exciting going on over there? Again, it's been over 10 years. Thanks!

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    Lots of sun and heat, bring plenty of water.
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

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    Quote Originally Posted by scepticshock View Post
    Thanks everybody for chiming in. I need to go back and check it out (on a not so hot weekday). I think memories of the Way up Trail, and not much more kept me from checking it out again.

    Lake Hodges is the same way. Anything new and exciting going on over there? Again, it's been over 10 years. Thanks!
    Yes. But, I am not going to tell them, as it would be like giving away all the spoilers to a new movie coming out!

    Just go back out and explore...you will be pleasantly surprized. I will tell you this much...it goes way beyond the damn now...and you can easily connect South LH trails with North LH trails without gettin on the 15 freeway.

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    Thanks! I'll check it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTSO2112 View Post
    Ditto.

    I have been hiking (with the wife) the area a lot since.

    However, due to increased day-hiker use in the last 10 years, The Way Up Trail, like all the other trails up there, has become smoother and wider. So, it is easier to navigate up.

    Plus side, some of the shade has returned as well.

    There is talk of a new trail on the western slope that will connect the creek trail with Equine Incline Loop (I believe), that was supposed to happen this spring...I think there is a delay.

    Another rumor was that they were going to open up a trail that would connect the Lake Hodges Overlook Loop with the Witch Trail....just like before that damn dam was put in....I hope so!
    That trail exists and has always existed, it was just on private property and illegal. OMWD just bought the property so the trail will be brought into the system now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTSO2112 View Post
    Yes. But, I am not going to tell them, as it would be like giving away all the spoilers to a new movie coming out!

    Just go back out and explore...you will be pleasantly surprized. I will tell you this much...it goes way beyond the damn now...and you can easily connect South LH trails with North LH trails without gettin on the 15 freeway.
    Where do you recommend starting from? The last reviews on MTBR are from 06.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scepticshock View Post
    Where do you recommend starting from? The last reviews on MTBR are from 06.
    I would start from the docent/visitor centter TH off of Harmony Grove Rd...go up The Way Up trail, then explore from there.
    Last edited by RTSO2112; 06-06-2013 at 05:12 PM.

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    There are three ways up.

    The best option is the Way-up trail.

    If you enjoy road riding, you can take the creek trail to Via Ambiente and ride up to the base of the dam and then take Cielo. That was the way the Arch ride went this year (not fun).

    OR

    If you are a sadomasochist you can go over to Lake Hodges and tackle the steep, loose fire/service road up. I am sure it has a name but I really don't care what it is called.
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankerboy View Post
    There are three ways up.

    The best option is the Way-up trail.

    If you enjoy road riding, you can take the creek trail to Via Ambiente and ride up to the base of the dam and then take Cielo. That was the way the Arch ride went this year (not fun).

    OR

    If you are a sadomasochist you can go over to Lake Hodges and tackle the steep, loose fire/service road up. I am sure it has a name but I really don't care what it is called.
    Aren't we all into just a "little" sado-masochism just being mountain bikers?!?!
    *This doesn't apply to DHers! :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankerboy View Post
    There are three ways up.

    The best option is the Way-up trail.

    If you enjoy road riding, you can take the creek trail to Via Ambiente and ride up to the base of the dam and then take Cielo. That was the way the Arch ride went this year (not fun).

    OR

    If you are a sadomasochist you can go over to Lake Hodges and tackle the steep, loose fire/service road up. I am sure it has a name but I really don't care what it is called.
    The appropriately named "Once is Enough". I figured out I can't really pedal more than a 28% slope on that grade. There is also the fourth way up... Just look out for me coming down because that is one of the funnest trails in North County!

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    Ok. Checked out LH today on the north side. I mainly went up the Bernardo peak trail because it seemed to make the most sense. It was good until it became straight up and loose. The trail that goes around the lake seemed pretty wide the flat. More of a road. Did I miss the good stuff? I'll have to see these trails at Elvin next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scepticshock View Post
    Ok. Checked out LH today on the north side. I mainly went up the Bernardo peak trail because it seemed to make the most sense. It was good until it became straight up and loose. The trail that goes around the lake seemed pretty wide the flat. More of a road. Did I miss the good stuff? I'll have to see these trails at Elvin next.
    You probably took the low road on the north side...there is a high "road" as well, but it is ST that starts (to the right) just as the fire road goes down hill (east of the boat ramp)...it's not very long, about a mile or so....not technical, but ST is always better than fire road!

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    dam salespunk is selling the shite out of elfin. i need to get out there. Which one in particular is the best trail in NC? (4th way up)

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    I hit up the Way Up Trail for the first time a few weeks ago after work, met at the trail head at 6. It wasn't at all crowded, we maybe passed three-four hikers on the way up and none on the way down. Way up is just that, UP! Though the descent is top notch and actually feels longer than the mile it is...

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