One of the highlights of our family trip to San Diego was our visit to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Located along the rocky coast of the Pacific Ocean between La Jolla and Del Mar lies a treasure: The 2,000- acre Torrey Pines Reserve, one of the wildest stretches of land along the Southern California coast. Named after the nation’s rare pine tree, the Pinus torreyana, this beautiful wilderness area offers several hikes affording spectacular panoramic views of the aquamarine ocean and craggy cliffs leading down to a vast, unspoiled beach. It is also home to several kinds of birds and waterfowl as well as magnificent, colorful wildflowers in the spring.
We headed to the park just as the midday sun was lowering, opting to drive our car up Torrey Pines Park Road to the Visitor Center on top and park there. You can also park your car at the bottom of the reserve near the South Beach entrance and walk up the road to the top of the bluffs- a distance of a little over a mile – but with children it was easier to park on top.
There is a nice visitor center with trail maps near the parking area on top, and on the weekends and holidays the reserve offers guided nature walks as well. Torrey Pines has over 8 miles of trails with many options depending on how far you want to go. You can hike the short half mile Razor Point trail to a gorgeous overlook of a gorge, badlands and wildflowers, or do what we did, simply find your way down to the beach.
I was mesmerized by the tranquility and beauty of Torrey Pines. The windswept trails meandered along the bluffs affording magnificent panoramic views of the expansive sea. I kept stopping to take photos along the way and before I knew if my kids were halfway down to the beach!
They were long gone by the time I reached the stairs leading down to the beach. Shoes and socks off, knee-high in the water and waves splashing their face.
Soaked wet and full of sand, we gathered them reluctantly to head back to the hotel. Had we known how much they would love it here we would have packed a picnic dinner. What a beautiful place!
The only downfall about parking the car on the top meant I had to hike back up the bluffs and drive it back down to the beach where I fetched my husband and two sandy and wet kids. It was worth it though.
For more information, please visit www.torreypine.org