Torrey Pines State Reserve – Hiking the Day Away!

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

One of my favorite day trips in San Diego is in the North Coastal County of San Diego, at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, located along the 101 freeway. What’s so special about this ocean side reserve is the magnificent sprawling views from the top of the cliffs, that overhang the beautiful Pacific ocean. You may want to park alongside the coast on 101, put on your hiking shoes or tennis shoes and head to the top for a great hike of this 2,000 acre reserve, with a visitors center, and 8 miles of trails that meander throughout the large shaded pines and local brush to the outlined paths that reach the ocean. Of all the parks in San Diego this one takes the cake!

Once you reach the top inside the lodge is all the information you will need to enjoy a full day of hiking. For any questions you may have, a park ranger or assistant is nearby to greet and help you around the many acres of sites to see. Don’t miss this building for it’s chock full of information and exhibits gathered from the many years this reserve has been in place. This adobe building built in the 1920’s was built by “Miss Scripps”. Here, you can watch a video on the detailed construction of this lodge.

Once inside the lodge, you have the opportunity to glimpse at a few of the wild animals that the park has come across, many whom have become permanent residents. A full listing of the various animals are listed here.



Once you’re on your way making it down to the spectacular views there are many hiking trails carved out for you to explore along the way. Just follow the many signs laid out for you at the beginning of every trail. The Guy Fleming trail will lead you to a stunning view of the north coastal beach.

The local vegetation if you catch them blooming are a nice surprise as you meander down the hiking trials, so make sure you bring a camera to capture their beauty.




Once you have hiked to the edge you can see the spectacular views of the oceans! This is my brother-on-law Chris who happen to be the park ranger at Torrey for over 15 years, with his daughter Elena, this trail facing to the south end of the park.

A peak down the 101 coastline from one of the outlook points looking north towards Del Mar.



Weather you’re hiking or walking,  Torrey Pines is a family friendly park  for all ages to enjoy!


The Torrey Pine tree is protected in our state, for it’s beauty and extinct characteristics as one of the rarest native pines in the U.S. It is distinguished by it’s five prong needles.
Because groves of trees were not common along the Southern California coast, early Spanish explorers (1500-1700 AD) referred to this area as Punto de Los Arboles, which literally means “Point of Trees.

All vegetation in the park should be respected including the flowers and should never be picked or taken home.

Torrey Pines beach is open daily to the public. Special events are happening throughout the year, including the popular “Arts in the Park”, where you can visit with local artists as they paint this amazing landscape. For more details make sure you check out their website for basic information and future events.



© 2012 – 2019, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

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