For a delightful respite from the crowds and highways of San Diego, spend a half day exploring Torrey Pines State Reserve. The Torrey pine is a unique species found only in southern California. The reserve consists of two sections. The main section, located on a bluff above a state beach, is noted not only for the trees but especially for its sandstone terraces and ocean views.
Hiking the trails
The best way to experience the reserve, after a stop at the visitor center to check on trail conditions, is by hiking one or more of the short trails, many of which lead to scenic overlooks. One trail (the “beach trail”) drops all the way down to the beach. Take care when strolling on the beach because the bluff continues to erode and chunks of real estate occasionally fall from above.
The relatively level Guy Fleming trail, named for the first ranger in the natural area, is a botanist’s treasure, with its variety of trees and plants. This trail goes through a grove of Torrey pines and features panoramic views. It is especially interesting in the spring, when wildflowers proliferate.
Another popular hike through a diverse landscape is the 0.7 mile Razor Point trail. The trail passes a small hill (Red Butte),which seems to be a favorite haunt of a local raven. Then it wanders to a wonderfully situated overlook with spectacular views of a sandstone canyon, the beach and the ocean. A side trail connects to the Yucca point overlook and then to the beach trail, making it possible to lengthen the hike and explore more of the outstanding features of the park.