Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a San Diego Treasure
Searching for a wilderness getaway, but don’t want to go too far from home? Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has everything you need to feel connected to nature, right here in San Diego. Get away from the hustle and bustle and spend a day exploring the home of our nation’s rarest pine tree – the Torrey Pine.
The fragile environment of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of the only places where the once abundant tree grows – the only other is on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara.
The reserve is comprised of a plateau with cliffs that overlook Torrey Pines State Beach as well as a lagoon that hosts migrating seabirds. The Reserve is home to wide variety of plants and animals including foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, cacti, coastal chaparral and, of course, the rare Torrey Pine.
Activities to Enjoy at the Reserve
There are many beautiful hiking trails traversing the Reserve. Sections of the trails parallel the bluff edge high above the sea and offer excellent sites for viewing migrating Gray Whales and the dolphins who frolic year-round. The high sites also allow visitors to look down at a steep angle to see beneath the sea surface, where one might spot leopard sharks swimming just under the surface.
The Reserve also offers Guided Nature Walks and interactive presentations. Guided Tours for the general public leave the Visitor Center (The Lodge) on weekends and holidays at 10am and 2pm. Other scheduled private guided tours are available for groups and schools.
Birdwatching is a popular activity at the Reserve, and a pair of binoculars will allow you to see many types of species. You can see such birds as the Red-tailed Hawk, California Quail, Scrub Jay, Northern Mockingbird, and Red-Shouldered Hawk, among many others. All these birds can be found in the park year-round.
Visitor Center and Museum Store
In 1922, the building which now houses the Visitor Center was commissioned by Ellen Browning Scripps and was likely designed by noted architects Requa and Jackson. Staffed by the Torrey Pines Docent Society, the Visitor Center is a great place to start your trip and learn about the programs and activities available at the Reserve.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located at 12600 North Torrey Pines Road, San Diego, CA, 92307, between La Jolla and Del Mar. From Highway 5, take the Carmel Valley Road exit and drive west for about 1.5 miles. Turn left on Highway 101 and drive along the beach for about a mile. The park entrance will be on your right just before the highway climbs the Torrey Pines grade.
The Reserve is a day-use park only; no overnight camping is permitted. It is open daily at 8am with closing time at sunset. Visitor Center hours are daily 9am to 6pm during the summer and 10am to 4pm during the spring, fall, and winter.
For more information about Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve please visit their website.