Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve - San Diego, CA
The first week of May my family spent a week in Oceanside, CA. It's been years since we've taken a full family vacation and I was looking forward to seeing a new-to-me part of California. A friend recommended Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve since I'd be so close and after some research I decided that would be the mini adventure to take before arriving at our final destination.
If you're not familiar with the weather on the southern California coast, most mornings there's a cloudy haze over everything and it usually burns off by late morning. This day it wasn't just haze, it was true gloomy clouds that hung around all day. It wasn't the typical California weather you might expect but I loved exploring under the moody, grey skies.
Torrey pine trees are a rare pine species only found in this area near San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island, 175 miles away off the coast of Santa Barbara. There's been a concerted effort to keep them protected since they are so rare.
I stopped at the Visitor's Center before heading out to the trails. I asked for hiking recommendations and decided to do a big loop of the interconnected trails. The trails were all very easy but sandy since you're on a bluff above the beach. You could stay on the bluffs and take in the views from above but I also wanted to hike down to the beach.
I couldn't stop taking photos of all of the flowers I saw! So much color, the gloomy weather made the colors pop even more. Some plants I recognized as California versions of what we have in the Sonoran Desert but I learned a lot of new species. Some of them had the most wonderful smell!
I definitely recommend taking the steps down to the beach very slow. They were rocky, slippery with sea spray, and covered in sand. I could have easily taken a bad fall and a couple times wished I had a trekking pole with me to help with stability. Once I made it down to the sandy beach I had to smile at all of the places my hiking boots have been. To the tops of mountains, the bottom of canyons, and now to the beach!
I really enjoyed my short time at Torrey Pines, if you've never been I recommend stopping by for a visit and a stroll along the bluff trails.
Yucca Point, Razor Point, Beach Trail, Broken Hill Trail, North Fork Trail
Date hiked: May 1, 2022
Total miles: 3 miles
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Total time: 2 hours
Land acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Kumeyaay people