Torrey Pines State Reserve

I found it odd that no local has mentioned it or brought me there. Yet, all of the guide books recommend going. If you check Yelp, it even has stellar reviews. How come the Torrey Pines State Reserve isn’t so popular?

When I drove there this morning, I witnessed one of the most picturesque scenes in front of my eyes.

Torrey Pines State Reserve – Beach Trail

My goal today is to take the free docent nature walk. They have it every weekend and holiday at 10AM and 2PM. From my experience in traveling, I learned that it’s best to hear from locals to guide and walk with you. It’s just better to have a background about a place to fully grasp what you’re looking at. Here is our guide, Christine, and the rest of the group.

State Park docent, Christine. The three girls of the group are doing a high school assignment.

Facts from Christine:

1. The San Diego County is the “birdiest” county in all of U.S. It’s a migration path between Mexico and Alaska. Same with whales that travel from Baja, Mexico to Alaska, where they birth and breed.

2. Torrey Pines only grow naturally in two places: here, and off the Santa Rosa Coast. You’ll be able to identify a Torrey Pine by counting five sprouts. (P.S. I also learned to approximate the age of a tree by looking at its horizontal branches).

3. We thank Ellen Browning Scripps and Guy Fleming for the Torrey Pines State Reserve we have today. The lady bought some of the land, and donated it to the city to be “cared for it perpetuity”; the gentleman created trails, built the Lodge, and spent his life looking after the land. In the 1920’s the city of San Diego raised $900,000 to prevent it from becoming another commercial property. There’s an honor book at the Lodge that lists all those that contributed, even just for a dollar.

After the tour that took over an hour, I headed on my own to the Beach Trail. Here are some of the views I found on the way:

Linda Vista (Pretty View) Sandstone Formation


Torrey Pines State Beach. That’s the Pacific Ocean on the left.


Beach Trail – 1/2 mile walk with a 300-feet elevation
Stairs up to Broken Hill trail – a plan I aborted because I’m too sore from Bikram Yoga
A path to nearby Black Beach — a famous nude beach in San Diego

My first thought after seeing this was just how blessed America is in natural landscapes. Second thought: I want to bring my family here with me next time. The trails are so clear and easy. The views, spectacular. Plus, the beach is just so near, we could spend all day here. No where else will I find Torrey Pines growing alongside prickly pear cacti, with sandstone formations and the Pacific ocean in the back drop.

Now, the Torrey Pines State Reserve is officially my favorite place in San Diego. What’s your favorite spot in your own town?