Local San Diego Review: Torrey Pines State Reserve

Located between La Jolla and Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Reserve is a fun coastal hiking, running or biking playground. The hiking is pretty easy, but it’s also fun and comes with spectacular views up and down the San Diego coastline.

You can basically hike all of the trails in the park in half a day, and then hike down to the beach to spend a few hours in the sun and water.

Torrey Pines State Reserve is also one of two places in the world where you can see the rare Torrey Pine Tree. They grow naturally only here and on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara.

When we visited, we parked along the coast, and walked into the reserve via the hill from the north entrance. If there is parking available, you can park in the lot at the top of the hill, at the bottom by the beach, or in another lot off Carmel Valley Road, however, fees are charged for parking in the lots in the state reserve.

Of Note, there is drinking water available at the north vehicle entrance to the reserve by the beach bathrooms, and at the start of the trails near the lodge. At the time of writing this, most of the other water sources (sinks & showers) have been turned off because of the drought in California.

We entered the park at the north entrance and walked in up the hill. Three quarters of the way up the hill, we stopped at the Guy Fleming Trail to check out a few overlooks and then continued on to the Torrey Pines Lodge (visitor center) to grab a map. The visitor’s center itself has a lot of great info about the area, especially if you are into finding out more about the animal and plant species around.

From the Lodge we hiked down the “Beach Trail” to Red Butte and then down Razor Point Trail to Razor Point.

From Razor Point we met up with the Beach Trail and headed down to the water to check out “Flat Rock” on the beach. It’s exactly what it sounds like…a big flat rock.

I highly suggest adding a stroll along the beach after hiking the trails of Torrey Pines. This stretch of coastline is particularly beautiful. I would recommend checking the tides, and walking on the beach at low tide because it can be a bit tough to navigate the rocks during high tide.

We decided to walk south toward La Jolla on the beach. You can basically walk as much or as little as you would like on this stretch of the beach. If you do chose to, you can walk all the way along the beach to La Jolla Shores (about 5 miles). However, about 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile or so south of Torrey Pines is a beach known as “Black’s Beach.” If you have little kids or just don’t want to be surprised by the sudden appearance of naked people, I would suggest turning around after about half a mile down the beach. Instead of walking toward La Jolla, you can also walk north along the beach toward Del Mar as an alternative. If you’re into it, by all means, venture through the unofficial nude beach and explore the beautiful coastline.

If you like walking, beautiful views and beaches, I highly recommend a hike in Torrey Pines. It’s not very physically demanding and it’s a great way to explore and see a beautiful part of San Diego.

Have you ever been to Torrey Pines? If you have any tips or want to share your favorite trail, comment below!

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