With windswept sandstone cliffs, and stunning year-round views of the Pacific Ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of San Diego’s most popular parks. Even though it is a park that is popular with locals and visitors alike, few people realize that the park was established to protect the Torrey Pine, which is one of the rarest trees on the planet, as it only grows in and around the confines of the park and on Santa Rosa Island. While there are many spots within the park where one can walk under, view, and get close to the pinus torreyana, there is only one spot that demonstrates the risks that these rare trees still face, and that is the Parry Grove Trail.
San Diego is a destination that is well-known for its fantastic weather, beautiful beaches, Comic-Con, and for being the home of Ron Burgundy in Anchorman. In addition to all of these things, San Diego is America’s Finest City and is the host city of the 2016 Major League Baseball All Star game. While Petco Park, the Convention Center, and the Gaslamp District are great spots in the city core of San Diego, the city, and the county as a whole have innumerable spots for visitors who have the time to explore, or who want to get away from the downtown crowds. Whether you are a first time visitor to San Diego, or a long-time fan of the city, check out the below destinations this weekend that prove that the city’s nickname is more than hype.
Although it is hard to pick the absolute best thing about Torrey Pines State Reserve, one of the top things about the park is its fantastic views. While it is nearly impossible to find a bad view in the park, one of the best views to be found is from the High Point Overlook, which is located near the center of the park. The High Point Overlook is located at the end of the park’s shortest trail (the High Point Trail), and is also the tallest point in the reserve.
One of the most popular parks in San Diego is Torrey Pines State Reserve. The park is home to the rarest pine tree in North America, the Torrey Pine; and also has a fantastic beach that stretches from La Jolla to the boundary of Del Mar. The reserve portion of the park also features a number of short hiking trails that travel through some of the park’s pine groves, and down to the beach. While all of these things and more make Torrey Pines State Reserve a great park and place to visit, the park is actually much larger than most visitors realize. As a matter of fact, the park encompasses the Reserve, the beach (Torrey Pines State Beach), the Los Penasquitos Lagoon, and the Torrey Pines Extension. Out of these four components, the most unknown area to most visitors and hikers is the Extension.
San Diego is an area that is honeycombed with many wilderness islands - from Mission Trails Regional Park, to the Cleveland National Forest, to the Black Mountain Open Space Preserve, along with many other city, state, and federal wilderness areas. The ecological diversity present in these parks provides wildlife with corridors from the desert and mountain regions to the coast, and from the coast back to the foothills and beyond. It also provides local hikers and visiting outdoorspeople with a diverse set of areas to experience and explore. To me, the crown jewel of these wilderness islands is Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is located along the coast in the North County portion of San Diego. I may be biased, because I used to work there, but let’s also be honest: there are few parks that have stunning eroded sandstone cliffs, great flora and fauna, and amazing beaches in North America, let alone the world.