Beach Trail – Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve


Another one of the hikes H-, B-, and I did while I was in San Diego was out in Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve.  The reserve, which is named after the Torrey pine the rarest pine in North America, is right outside of San Diego and made for an easy drive up the coast.  We didn’t have all day because B- had to get back to his ship, so we decided on hiking the .75-mile one-way Beach Trail since that would be a great view of the reserve and would also give us a chance to hike down to the beach and see the Pacific Ocean up close and personal.

Visitor’s Center


The weather was gorgeous, like every other day in San Diego, apparently, but I was glad that we brought plenty of water since there was zero shade the entire hike.  The trail was relatively flat at the beginning until we got to Red Butte, where we stopped to take many pictures 🙂  Then it was a gradual descent towards the ocean, with the last few hundred yards dropping off sharply – the trail becoming slippery and suddenly a bit treacherous.




Red Butte


When we reached the beach, it was everything I wanted and more.  There were other people around, but not so many that it felt crowded or touristy.  I took a moment to gaze at the sheer vastness of the Pacific before I kicked off my shoes and jumped in.  The water was freezing and took all of our breaths away, but we adjusted quickly, playing in the waves and surf, periodically bending over to collect shells.


After awhile we walked over to Flat Rock, where I scrambled up the rock and took some great pictures.  Considering what a klutz I am, it’s really a miracle I didn’t face plant on all of the wet rock.

Eventually we had to head back up to the trailhead, which turned out to be highly uncomfortable in our wet clothes.  Even though we were wearing quick-dry clothes, things were still rubbing and chaffing in awkward places.  The sun also continued bearing down on us, so we stopped a few times on the way back up to chug water and readjust any riding or twisting clothing.


If I lived in San Diego, I would be tempted to visit Torrey Pines almost every weekend.  Sure, there were tons of people throughout the entire reserve and the parking was a bit cramped, but everything was so beautiful.  I could easily see myself spending a lot of time there, exploring the trails and stopping often to appreciate the gorgeous view.


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