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Our Elfin Forest ride is a local ride that is well suited for when the weather is rather hot or cold. It is about 42 miles long and takes perhaps two hours including stops. The ride begins by heading East on La Costa from I-5 in Leucadia. There is a great view to your left of the Batiquitos Lagoon. You then pass thru a more populated area and will turn left when you reach Rancho Sante Fe Rd.
As you are heading North on Rancho Sante Fe, enjoy the view because it looks like the whole area will eventually be filled with housing developments. Turn right on San Elijo and follow it into the beginning of a new housing development. A right turn on Elfin Forest Rd. will take you out into a less populated area. Elfin Forest road is a fun, twisting ride on rolling hills among horse ranches and widely dispersed homes.
Elfin Forest road changes names to Harmony Grove road and the area becomes a preserve with no surrounding homes. You will pass the road to the Olivehein Water Storage Project which includes a dam, reservoir, pipelines, treatment plant, and bridge. When opened, this should add an interesting side trip to this ride.
You will next pass the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve on your right. A steep but paved road leads down to a hard packed dirt parking lot. There are few facilities here other than portable toilets. It is a nice place to take a break and there are nice hiking trails.
As you continue Eastward, you will follow Harmony Grove road as it jogs thru the edge of Escondido. A left on Hale and a right on 11th will bring you to Valley Parkway. A right will have you heading out of town along the Del Dios Highway. We usually turn left on Via Rancho and immediately right on Lake Drive in order to ride near Lake Hodges. We have had several years of below average rain so Lake Hodges is down to almost a puddle now. It makes you wonder what the above average rain years will be like.
Along Lake Drive, you will pass the Del Dios Country Store and Hernandos Hideaway of which both provide good meals. Before them, there is also a road and a parking lot to your left where you could hike down to the lake. Lake Drive will eventually end at Del Dios Highway where you should carefully turn left.
Del Dios Highway is a very scenic ride along Lake Hodges and then following the canyon beyond the dam. Unfortunately, there is no parking near the dam to provide a good view. Del Dios is a major artery for commuting to San Diego so there is always a lot of traffic. To your left, you will see additional upscale housing developments with home probably costing a million or more dollars.
Del Dios Highway takes us into the third and final section of this ride - the town of Rancho Sante Fe. This is one of the richest parts of San Diego and our route will let you look at some of the homes and surrounding property. You will also pass near the site of the Heaven's Gate home.
The route continues straight on Del Dios Highway past two stop signs where it becomes highway S8. You will then pass thru downtown Rancho Sante Fe which has a number of boutiques. Look to proceed ahead but slightly to the right on Linea Del Cielo. The route follows a twisting ridge among a number of nice homes and you then turn right on Rambla De La Flores. (You learn a lot of Spanish on this ride).
Rambla De La Flores takes you down and eventually meets La Granada at a Y shaped intersection. Keep right to continue Eastward on La Granada with the Golf Course on your left. At the Stop, turn left on Avd De Acacias in order to cross the Golf Course and head North. Traffic should get lighter as you head away from the busiest part of Rancho Sante Fe. When you reach the Tee, turn right on San Elijo and then turn right on El Montevideo at the next Tee. As you can see from the ride map, the route does loop back so that you get a sample of the nicest areas.
The route now turns left on Lago Lindo which takes you past a pond on your left. If Lago means lake, someone has a great imagination. Anyway, follow Lago Lindo as it bends around the pond and Tees at El Camino Del Norte. Turn left to head North. The route now turns left on Via De Fortuna and you are now heading West thru another interesting area on homes. Some of these homes cost several million dollars.
Turn right on El Miro which is premarked as a Y intersection. At the next Stop, you should continue straight on Rancho Sante Fe but watch for traffic from both directions because they are not required to stop. Proceed cautiously and watch to turn right on La Noria. La Noira eventually changes name to El Camino Real as it bends to head South. At the next Tee, turn right to continue following El Camino Real. There has been recent construction to bury cables under the road so the pavement will be somewhat rough.
Follow El Camino Real Southward, past highway S8, until you reach Via De La Valle where you turn right. Traffic will be heavier since this is a major artery. There are numerous restaurants and stores along this stretch plus a gas station. The ride ends at I-15 although you could continue straight to the Pacific Coast Highway and continue either North or South along the coast. We hope you enjoyed the ride.