Enjoying a leisurely morning over breakfast and coffee, I made a spontaneous decision to quickly dress and drive to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The early March day was crisp and clear promising beautiful coastline views. Considering that all I really had planned was to grab a few quick photo shots, I was annoyed to find myself waiting in a long line leading up to the Reserve’s kiosk. Today was Saturday and there was substantially more people than on previous week days. However, there was plenty of parking available, and I was soon trekking up the hill leading to the trails.
There were a number of small to medium sized groups. Loud chatter, even a jogger playing music not through ear buds, cut into my desire for a time of serenity with nature. I was not alone in feeling mild annoyance. I came across a fellow lone hiker on Guy Fleming Trail. “So much for spending some quietude in this beautiful natural environment”. She continued, “I’ll just wait for the group to pass”. Unfortunately, there was another chatty group following right behind. With that said, the crowds could have been worse, and I found that standing aside and letting groups pass before continuing on my way did allow me to enjoy my hike and take plenty of nature photos.
Before turning back I decided to follow a sign pointing the way to Broken Hill trail. I headed south on a straight paved pathway. While the coastline views are the main attraction, this walk did not disappoint. Looking east, I was drawn to a beautiful view of clouds wafting over distant mountains. Native plants lined my other side with the Pacific a short distance beyond.
What started out as a quick photo opportunity turned into a thoroughly enjoyable two hour hike with gorgeous views of coastline and mountains.
The Reserve is located along the Southern California coast between La Jolla and Del Mar. Popular with locals and out of town visitors, the 1,500 acres of land is a protected wilderness with the native Torrey Pine, sandstone bluffs, coastal sage scrub and other local plants. Visitors can hike the various trails as they enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and beaches.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located at 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, CA.
Entry into the reserve is off of N Torrey Pines Rd (County Hwy S21).
Continue a short distance to the kiosk to purchase your day pass. Cost for parking varies depending on the day and season. My visits have been $15 on a week day, $20 on a weekend.
There is free parking on the shoulder of the road running parallel to the beach. These spaces fill up quickly as the beach is popular with locals. Weekends tend to be crowded. The best time to visit and to ensure parking is early morning during the weekday.
At the top of the hill, near The Lodge (information center), there are pamphlets and displays that offer information about the Torrey Pine, wildflowers and plants in the reserve, California Gray Whales, and the trails.
Visit The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve website for more Information