Olivenhain Reservoir Overlook

Escondido, CA
Length: 3.50 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 6    Average: 4/5]

The Olivenhain Reservoir is a gorgeous blue reservoir located in Elfin Forest in Escondido. It is far less known than Lake Hodges, but in my opinion is just as beautiful in its own right. The trail is steep and in parts rocky, but the views of the reservoir at the top are worth it. The trail can be hot in the summer with no shade, so make sure to enjoy it early in the morning or on an overcast day, and make sure to bring shoes with good traction and lots of water. This trail is best for baby/kid wearing, but strong older kids can make the trip. The trail is dog friendly too.

From the main parking lot, find the porta potties. The trail starts there as a three way fork. Take the trail straight ahead. You will know you’re going the right way if you cross a bridge with a river under you. From there the trail quickly gets harder and steeper, with some rocky parts. Unfortunately it will be this way the entire way up. About halfway up there is a bench and overlook you can stop at. From there it continues until the top where you can finally see the reservoir. There is a table area you can stop, relax, and enjoy the view.  From the top there are a few additional trails you can take, including the left trail which in 3 additional up and down miles will take you to the Lake Hodges Overlook, but in my opinion the view at the reservoir Overlook is prettier and half the distance. Once you are ready to head home, take the same trail back to your car.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 1,200 ft.
Stroller friendly No
Stroller terrain No Wheels
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Lake, Viewpoint, and Wildlife Viewing

The trail is steep and in parts rocky, but the views of the reservoir at the top are worth it.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

There is a free small dirt parking lot off of Harmony Grove Rd you can park in. The lot is small and on a busy day can easily be full. There is an overflow lot a little East, or you can park along Harmony Grove Rd on some parts, just make sure to check the signs.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 6    Average: 4/5]

Hike it Baby member since spring 2016. Current HiB Asheville NC Branch Ambassador. Past HiB San Diego CA and Orange County CA Branch Ambassador, and past National Team volunteer for Community Values, HiB30 Challenge Prizes, Mentor, and Ambassador Continued Education teams.


Trail Map

Getting There

From the 15 Freeway, get off at W. Valley Dr. and head West. Turn right on Citracado Parkway, which makes a sharp left and turns into Harmony Grove Village Dr. Turn right onto Harmony Grove Rd and continue until you see signs and the parking lot on your left.