Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

We concluded our weekend in San Diego with a mid-morning hike around Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

While I had read parking could be an issue, we ultimately lucked out and found a spot in the visitor center lot, giving us quick access to the trails we wanted to explore.

Razor Point / Big Basin Trails

We started on Razor Point trail, stopping at an overlook part-way to the coastline and then another one along the bluffs. As indicated by the aptly named Red Butte trail we passed, this path offered terrific views of the red rock, buttes, and cacti.

After we made it to the coastline, we brought the Big Basin trail back around to the West Overlook (where we started our hike), making a full ~one-mile loop.

Parry Grove Trail

From the West Overlook, we walked a short path over to the Parry Grove trailhead. Passing a native plant garden at the entrance, we then encountered a 100+ step of steep stone steps taking us down to the half-mile Parry Grove loop.

We were feeling the heat as we climbed back up the steps for a brief view at the EB Scripps Overlook. The wildlife was enjoying the heat – we saw several salamanders during this section of our hike!

Guy Fleming Trail

We continued along the side of the road to the trailhead for the Guy Fleming Trail. This trail is a two-thirds-mile loop that runs along an exposed section of bluffs and then through secluded forest.

The views at the two coastline overlooks were breathtaking. And, we learned from some informational plaques that our forested section of the hike was taking us among some very rare pines!

State Natural Reserves have outstanding or unusual natural or scenic values. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a wilderness island in an urban sea. This fragile environment is the home of our nation’s rarest pine tree – Pinus torreyana. Once this tree covered a larger area. It now grows only here and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast near Santa Barbara. The park preserves not only the trees, but also one of the last salt marshes and waterfowl refuges in Southern California.


High Point Trail

We wrapped up our hiking with the short and steep High Point Trail, which is really a short set of stairs taking you 100 yards to a platform where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, reserve, and inland.

These sunny hikes helped us walk of our incredible Irish breakfast at Sugar and Scribe and were the perfect way to conclude our time in San Diego. Until next time!

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