Sometimes bite-size hikes deliver gourmet-size rewards! These coastal trails in Torrey Pines deliver astounding scenery in a park that is home to the rarest pine species in the country… yet they get overlooked by hikers looking for a longer trek. Don’t worry—you’ll still get a workout!
Start on the Parry Grove Trail, recently refurbished with a beautifully crafted set of 118 steep stone steps leading to a 0.5-mile lollipop loop trail. The steps and trail take you to a gorgeous overlook with a view of the Pacific that stretches north to Del Mar and south to La Jolla. Prepare to work up a bit of a sweat on the way back up.
After Parry Grove, walk down Torrey Pines Park Road to Guy Fleming Trail, named after the man known as “the John Muir of Torrey Pines.” On this 0.7-mile hike you’ll get up close and personal with the rare and beautiful Torrey pines, which grow naturally only here and on Santa Rosa Island. As a bonus, the effects of California’s wet winter are still on full display. Marvel at such blooming beauties as the peach apricot mallow, indigo bush, and black-eyed Susan. With Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s recent initiative to grow only indigenous plants, take joy in the fact that you are seeing the California coast just as nature intended.
Once you’ve explored these trails, head down to Torrey Pines State Beach by way of the 0.75-mile Beach Trail. Once at the beach, marvel at the towering sandstone cliffs that make the Torrey Pines overlooks so fantastic, watch the waves crash, and take in the wildlife as pelicans fly overhead and dolphins and gray whales swim just off the coast.
From I-5 in either direction, take Exit 34 for Del Mar Heights Rd. Head west for 1 mile and then turn left onto S. Camino Del Mar. Continue onto N. Torrey Pines Rd., which leads to the gate. Park at the beach parking lot, or continue up Torrey Pines Park Rd. 0.8 mile to reach a secondary parking lot and the trailheads for these hikes. Entrance fee is $12. No dogs.