Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

This is another State Park that we visited while we had a free entry pass for a week.

Twenty miles north of San Diego, the Torrey Pines State Park is a hikers dream.

However, we weren’t going to do any hiking as I was recovering from a leg injury, we just wanted to take the dog for a walk and look at the pretty Torrey Pines.

But we read ahead of time that dogs were not allowed in the park. Okay, there goes that idea.

So, we bought a sandwich and were going to find a comfy bench to enjoy it with the scenic sights.

That is until we saw this sign: No Food or Drink Allowed on trails. Okay, there goes that idea.

So, we chomped down our sandwiches in the car, and headed out for investigation time.

What is it about Torrey Pines that brings in so many visitors daily? Let’s find out.

Torrey Pines is a stretch of land that has been preserved and remains so, as the rest of San Diego and environs are developed. These 2,000 acres are home to Pinus Torreyana, better known as the Torrey Pine, one of the rarest pines in the United States. In fact, there is only one other place that the Torrey Pine grows naturally, Santa Rosa Island just off the coast from Santa Barbara. Since that island is miles offshore, it is special that it grows here on the mainland.

This natural reserve is a protected area because it contains threatened plants, animals, and habitats. That explains no dogs or food, understandable. However, tell my shirt that, as I am looking down at the mustard stains from eating in the car.

It also has steep cliffs, deep valleys, and ocean overlooks. Benches are scattered about for hanging out and enjoying your day in nature.

Beside world visitors, locals come by everyday to walk along the tranquil trails, or rest at the stunning outlooks. Plus, you cant beat this place with its venue for exercise, running, and jogging.

A friend of mine said it is one of their favorite places to hike with its natural habitat and ocean views. Although on this day, it was so gray, you couldn’t tell the water from the sky.

There are two beaches you can access while in the Torrey Pines Reserve but make sure you are informed about the tides. On high tide the waves leave no room to stroll safely between the waves and the cliffs.

We also explored the visitor center where there was information about the park and docents were scattered about to answer questions. In the center, a well informed lady told us about the animal species in the reserve and I was most amazed at a huge stuffed mountain lion. I didn’t realize how big they were and was surprised they were in the area. She assured me that they are rarely seen and only come out at night anyway. She had many stories of other sightings and ‘inquisitive me’ was most grateful to hear it all.

We walked a little down a path and then made our way back to the car, my leg could only go so far.

Although we didn’t hike more towards the shoreline, the Pacific Ocean views are amazing I am told so, if anything, this is something to see if you are in the vicinity. Remember, no dogs or food!

Hiking or no hiking, food or no food, come see for your self and don’t forget to admire the rare name sake pines, after all, the next place is 23 miles across the sea from Santa Barbara. Now that’s a hike.

Story and Photos: Debbie Colwell


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