Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, is a 1,750 acre reserve dedicated to preserving its namesake, the Torrey Pine tree and other indigenous wildlife in its native environment. A coastal wilderness of pine forests and sandstone canyons, the park offers a collection of trails which winds its way along the cliffs offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. With both easy, family-friendly paths and more advanced trails, the park provides a great hiking experience for all levels.
Virtually everything in Torrey Pines is protected, from the Penasquitos river valley on the east side of the highway, to the Natural Reserve lands on the west, to the Underwater Ecological Reserve offshore. The world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course helps to safeguard the southern end of the bluffs from development while the rugged cliffs do their part to discourage access (and crowds).
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is home to approximately 3,000 of our nation's rarest pine tree - Pinus torreyana. It grows only here and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast near Santa Barbara. The park preserves not only the trees, but also one of the last salt marshes and waterfowl refuges in Southern California.
Eight miles of trails offer a variety of distances and different experiences. Here are a few popular trails:
The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during summer daylight saving time and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during winter standard time. Commissioned in 1922 by Ellen Browning Scripps, this pueblo-style structure was originally a restaurant called Torrey Pines Lodge.
Guided tours for the general public leave from the Visitor Center weekends and holidays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and last approximately 1 hour. Please note: the guided tours are not available for groups to join; they are limited to about 10 persons.
From Interstate 5, exit Carmel Valley Road west to Torrey Pines Road south (aka Highway 101 or Pacific Coast Highway). There are two parking options within the State Park at the south end of the beach. An entrance fee ($10.00 per vehicle) is collected at the gate which is open from 8:00 a.m. until sunset daily. The lower, beach level lot is directly beyond the gate, with additional parking around the park headquarters and trailheads at the top end of the road. You may also find free parking along Hwy 101. The lower parking lot and free parking along Hwy 101 provide a great workout from the walk up the steep hill to the start of the hiking trails.