One of the best ways to get exercise is to spend time outdoors – and there is rarely a bad day for a hike in La Jolla! Torrey Pines State Reserve has some of the most scenic hiking and walking trails in San Diego, and it’s only a few minutes away from the Village. There are five different routes through the Reserve, and they all boast breathtaking views of the Pacific. Here’s a guide to the Torrey Pines Hiking Trails.
Guy Fleming Trail: 0.7-Mile Loop
This is the easiest and most level of the hiking paths and perfect if you don’t want to spend too much time hiking. The trail itself is fairly smooth and free of erosion; every portion has its own stunning vista and includes views of the ocean, Peñasquitos Marsh, Del Mar, and all of La Jolla. In the spring and summer there are beautiful patches of vivid wildflowers, and the entire path is lined with twisted pines.
Guy Fleming once guided thousands of people around this path; the trail was mostly just trampled into place. Years later, the State of California took over the entire Park but didn’t do much to improve the pathway. They formalized it and eventually named it for the man who created it. If you’re in the mood for a pretty easy and short hike and want something a little different than the traditional beach route, check out this trail.
SEE ALSO: 7 Great Outdoor Activities in La Jolla
Parry Grove Trail: 0.5-Mile Loop
This trail is quite a bit more secluded than the others. It isn’t too difficult, but has a relatively steep entry and exit that consists of 100 steps. The Whitaker Garden (collection of native plant species) is at the trailhead and perfect to check out just before you begin the hike.
In the springtime, the slope from the trail down to the edge of the cliff is a spectacular display of wildflowers. Parry Grove is one of the quietest places in the Reserve – most joggers avoid the trail because of the stairs – and is definitely the lesser-traveled gem. The whole trip is less than half a mile, stairs included, so don’t be scared off by the intimidating entrance. Your efforts will be rewarded!
Razor Point Trail: 0.7-Mile to Point
Razor Point is probably the most picturesque of the group. You’ll be greeted with dramatic views of the gorge, badlands, spring wildflowers, and fewer but more striking trees. The trail actually splits off from the Beach Trail and follows the Canyon of the Swifts towards the bluffs.
Broken Hill Trail
This trail provides access to the beach via two options – the north fork, which is 1.2 miles, and the south fork, which is 1.3 miles; this makes it the longest trail in the Reserve but is in no way the most challenging. The route provides extensive hiking and running options and both forks are generally far less crowded than the Beach Trail. The trail is pretty sandy (and can be slipper) and makes for some challenging running at times! Much of it is dotted with chaparral and a few trees and provides a great scenic overlook of the “broken” hill – the hilly cliff shown above that seems to be missing its other half. If you’re looking for a challenge, combine this trail with the Razor Point and Beach Trails to create a 3-mile loop.
Beach Trail: 3/4 of a Mile
Definitely the most popular of the five, this trail leads to Flat Rock and the beach. It’s the least scenic of them all and has very few trees; the final entry to the beach is a bit steep and narrow but overall the path’s descent is gradual and suitable for all ages, even children. The trail takes you from the parking lot across the lodge from the bluff down to the beach, and you can choose to visit the Red Butte, the Razor Point and the Yucca Point trails along the way.
Get some fresh air and hike Torrey Pines this spring! To find more information on the Torrey Pines hiking trails please visit the Reserve at www.torreypine.org.
[Images and content: torreypine.org, everytrail.com, backpacker.com, nationalgeographic.com, and flikr.com]
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