Rules and Regulations

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All Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve visitors are responsible for reading and understanding the following:


The Reserve opens each day at 8:00 a.m. The Reserve is closed on days affected by inclement weather and on December 25. Use of the Reserve outside of posted hours is considered trespassing (California Water Code 71660).


Please check the main entrance signs for current closing time. Closing time is approximately 30-45 minutes before sunset. Parking lot gates are locked at closing time and vehicles will be locked in or towed at the owner’s expense. Use of the Reserve outside of posted hours is considered trespassing (California Water Code 71660).


The only permitted sites to enter and exit the Reserve are via the Harmony Grove staging area or via the Del Dios Highlands County Preserve. The Reserve is a popular facility and parking is limited. On weekends and holidays, please consider carpooling or taking a ridesharing service, or visiting our neighboring recreational facilities.


All natural resources and wildlife are protected and collecting is not allowed.


Motorized vehicles and equipment are prohibited beyond designated parking areas (this includes e-bikes).


Firearms, hunting, fires, smoking, fireworks, and alcohol are prohibited.


Hiking, biking, and equestrian use is limited to designated trails. All off-trail travel is prohibited (this includes dogs).


Please travel at a safe speed at all times. In addition, bicyclists must dismount their bicycles in the immediate vicinity of horses.


A Special Use Permit is required for group use of the Reserve and is available free of charge from a park ranger or by calling 760-632-4212. A group is defined as:

  • Eight (8) or more people
  • Four (4) or more horses
  • Four (4) or more vehicles

California leash law is enforced.
•  Monday – Friday: Dogs under effective voice command are permitted off leash, but only at the top of the “Way Up” Trail (point marked with sign).
•  Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: Dogs are required to remain on leash at all times throughout the Reserve.
•  “Way Up” Trail and Lower Trails: Dogs must remain on leash at all times.
•  Additionally, dogs must be held on leash in parking, picnic, and overlook areas or any time they become a nuisance to people, property, and wild or domestic animals.

Please pick up after your dog.


Special Event Permit and fees are required for events such as photography shoots, races, weddings, facility rentals, or any commercial use of the Reserve. Additionally, insurance policies and fees are required depending on the nature of the event. For more information, view our Special Event Policy or email us.


The Reserve recognizes geocaching – a treasure hunt that utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the internet to find caches – as a recreational experience. However, not all areas of the Reserve are suitable for geocaching due to sensitive habitat. Please review our GeoCache Policy and speak to a ranger at 760-632-4212 if you have any questions.


Operation of drones or unmanned aircraft systems in the Reserve requires advance written permission.


A complete list of EFRR Rules and Regulations is available here.

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

8833 Harmony Grove Road
Escondido, CA 92029

Mailing Address
1966 Olivenhain Road
Encinitas, CA 92024


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