Thursday, December 17, 2015

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

San Diego Metro KOA
Chula Vista, CA
December 16, 2015

Torrey Pines Natural Reserve remains one of the "wildest" stretches of land on the Southern California coast. Over 2,000 acres of land "are as they were" before San Diego was developed. For information on this beauty, click here

 Yesterday, we took the 25 miles interstate drive to the reserve, another San Diego gem. In 1500-1700, the Spanish explorers referred to this area as Punto do Los Arboles which means Point of Trees.

 According to my reading, Torrey pine trees are the rarest native pine trees in the United States. The trees along the coast are naturally pruned by the salty sea breeze and provide a beautiful canopy.
There is a two-way road in the reserve (north entrance) that travels up to the  lodge-visitor center/museum. We walked! There is a "path" for pedestrians that parallels the road...a good workout going up! 

 I was impressed with the monthly bird count posted at the lodge. On the list, two peregrine falcons were seen in November. We saw one always, I could have kicked myself for not having the correct lens, but I was so excited...even with a fuzzy picture...that I had to share!
We took two side trails on our way up to the lodge. First was the Guy Fleming Trail. 

In 1916, naturalist Guy Fleming led a city-wide campaign to protect the Torrey Pine trees which were being cut down for firewood and threatened by uncontrolled camping. In 1921, he became the park's first resident caretaker. During the next 10 years he developed trail systems, a plant nursery, and the lodge. 

The trail is an easy loop that meanders out to a north overlook and a south overlook.

 The large cones at the top of the tree are the female, seed-bearing cones. In January-February, the smaller male, pollen filled cones appear on the lower branches.

 The second trail we chose was part of the Parry Grove Trail. We bypassed the steep 118 steps down (and up) to the cliffs edge. But did enjoy the native plants at Whitaker Garden and the walk to the overlook.
The most impressive plant we saw was Shaw's Agave.  

Velvet Cactus

Coastal Barrel Cactus
Indian Fig...huge cactus, but very few pricklies

We also spent time on the beach there. Its not a sandy beach, but rather a squishy pebbly one. 

It was such a fun day. Until next time, let the good times roll...


  1. It's always such a thrill to see a peregrine!

  2. Gorgeous shots of an area I know very well! I spent 13 years of my career working up on Torrey Pines Mesa and was running during all of them. Torrey Pines Reserve was part of my normal workout.

    That steep road up from the beach is part of the annual La Jolla Half's a killer!

    1. WOW...makes me feel a little better about myself!
      I could go there everyday too!

  3. We still haven't explored this area. There was always such a crowd when we went through. But it is beautiful just driving through:)

    1. Week days are much better, but still there are lots of runners on the main road. The "side trails" are not very crowded at all Pam. It is beautiful and well worth the least we think so!

  4. The San Diego area is one of our favorite places. That just may be where we end up next winter.

  5. Thanks for the great photo tour, awesome pictures.

  6. Your photos are stunning! What a lovely & scenic area!

  7. As a local I sure enjoy seeing my town thru another's perspective. Altho youu've hit the hilites of our urban hiking I'll offer Mission Bay Park with it's off-leash dog friendly area on Fiesta Island. Just south of you is the TJ estuary - go as far south as you can along the ocean to some great birding along the boardwalk. And you'll find me in Tecolote Canyon most weekends.
    Safe Travels, I look forward to your next blog.