Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Located just north of downtown San Diego is Torrey Pines State National Reserve – 1,500 acres of preserved land full of trails, coastline, and beach. A perfect way to spend a few hours or an entire day! From hiking, to lounging, to fishing, to surfing, to… paragliding?? There is something for everyone and what is even better is you can do them all in one visit.
We visited on a Monday with a plan of hiking up and out through the preserve then heading down to the beach and walking back to the parking lot to complete a full circle. There is an admission fee per vehicle (around $20) or like our friends, you can get an annual pass. We found parking without a problem and we were ready for a full day.
While you can drive up to the top, we parked at the base by the beach and walked up to the top. Once at the top, there are plenty of trails to chose from (unfortunately some like Razor Point were closed due to peregrine falcon nesting). We first walked along the Parry Grove Trail with 118 steps to get down to the walkway that extended out towards the ocean. The terrain here is so fascinating – to have this mixture of dessert dirt, rock, and plant life all seeming to get along just right.
After completing the Parry Grove Loop, we continued up on the main road and ventured down the Broken Hill Trail which descends down to the beach. Slowly the green layers began to peel back as we walked further and further away from the middle of Torrey Pines. The breeze picked up and the rock became a more forceful presence as we starting winding down towards the beach. The rock formations were really neat – you could visualize not just the different layers of rock but all sorts of shellfish life frozen in time. The coast line reminded us of Santa Barbara how these enormous rock formations have these intense drop offs that frame the beach. It is like you could see all the millions of years of erosion!
This was a really fun trail so would definitely recommend it! Once at the beach level, we were able to just walk along the beach back to the car to grab our beach stuff. Then it was time to relax, enjoy our snacks, and just be. Lauren and Ben have settled into San Diego life quite well – they were fully prepped with all sorts of goodies for our several hours of lounging on the beach. Not bad, Monday.
The next day on the way back from Laguna Beach, we decided to stop back at Torrey Pines at the glideport to watch the paragliders and the sunset. Unfortunately, there were no gliders on a Tuesday afternoon (do not think for one second I did not consider taking one for the team) so we simply relaxed as we watched the sun plunge into the ocean. These sunsets are just spectacular and it is so amazing how impressive and unobstructed these are on a daily basis.