San Diego Trail Tramps ~ Scheduled Hikes for 2013

Torrey-Pines-Natural-Reserve to Torrey-Pines-State-Beach to La-Jolla-Shores Beach Hike

Date:  Sunday, July 21, 2013  10:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Tides permitting) high tide is expected at 9:25 AM, then recedes to low tide at 2:27 PM today

Location: San Diego County Coastal Beach Hike, 8-10 miles due north of San Diego

Directions: To get to the starting point for the hike at Torrey Pines State Beach, go north on I-5/805, then from Hwy 5, exit on Carmel Valley Road and drive west for about 1.5 miles till you reach the Coast Highway 101. (It's signed Camino Del Mar to the north and North Torrey Pines Road to the south.) Turn left and proceed south along the beach for 0.8 mile. The Torrey Pines State Reserve park entrance is on your right just before the highway begins to climb the Torrey Pines grade. (Or you can find a parking spot for free along the coast highway. Good luck with that... "the early bird gets the worm" there.) All day parking fee at Torrey Pines State Reserve is $12-$15 for both the lot down by the beach and the lots up the hill on the mesa near the Visitor's Center. Refer to our MAPS of the area for more details.

Hike Description: Torrey-Pines-Natural-Reserve to Torrey-Pines-State-Beach to La-Jolla-Shores Beach Hike: C00L & refreshing, Fun and easy!!!

"This is the San Diego coastline at its unspoiled best, with clean beaches, dramatic cliffs, and an unlikely forest of rare trees." ~from Jerry Schad's book "Afoot and Afield In San Diego County", which is recommended hike description reading, plus these stats: Chapter 2: Torrey Pines & La Jolla, Trip 1: La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines Beach, (© 2012, pp. 31-34, map on p. 32) and Trip 3, Torrey Pines Natural Reserve pp. 35-37.) for hike details. Degree of difficulty: moderate. Distance: 5 miles in one direction, point to point. Estimated hike time: 2.5 hrs. Elevation gain/loss is about 3', depending on how far out in the water you go for a swim. ;^ )

OK, for a one way hike, this takes a little planning with vehicles... (Obviously, a minimum of two vehicles is required.) The hike is located on the coast, about 8-10 miles north of San Diego. (Again, check the Maps page of this website for more directions and maps to print out.) After a one-hour-later-than-usual 9:45 AM carpool gathering in Hillcrest (departing by 10:00 AM), we'll plan to meet first at Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's Center & Museum, on the mesa above the south parking lot at 10:30 AM. The parking fee there is $15/vehicle on weekends. 0-1 hr $6; 1-2 hrs $8; 2-3 hrs $10; 3-4 hrs $12; All day $15.

Depending on how many show up, we would then drive several vehicles south and stage them down near La Jolla Shores Beach. (While the remaining/waiting hikers take excellent advantage of time to take in the Visitor Center/Museum's nature displays and slide shows/movies about the area.) Then, the individual drivers will pile into one vehicle & drive back together to Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's Center & Museum and begin the hike south, down the Beach Trail, with the remaining waiting hikers. The car staging will give us the opportunity to drive back from La Jolla Shores to the beginning of the hike, rather than hike an additional 5 miles back up the coast. N'est pas? The goal is to start hiking south along the coast about 11:30 AM. By then the tide should be far enough out to not block passage along the beach.

We're planning to stop at Blacks Beach along the way for lunch and perhaps a dip in the ocean. Swim at your own risk and watch out for rip currents (If caught in one, don't swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to the beach to escape it.) & avoid jellyfish, both in the water and on the beach. In addition, shuffle your feet when walking in the water to scare off any small stingrays that may be resting on the bottom. Their poisionous barbed tails can hurt like hell. For more beach safety tips, go to Beach Safety.

We have usually only done this hike from south to north. However, since high tide is expected at 9:25 AM, then recedes to low tide at 2:27 PM, AND, since the beach is wider near Torrey Pines/Blacks Beach, then narrows further south near the bluffs and La Jolla, we're doing today's hike from north to south. Either way, prepare to get your feet wet. As usual, don't forget your water, food, and sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen SPF 30+). It's summertime in sunny So. Cal.!!

Google Earth:

Google Earth streams the world over wired and wireless networks enabling users to virtually go anywhere on the planet and see places in photographic detail. This is not like any map you have ever seen. This is a 3D model of the real world, based on real satellite images combined with maps, guides to restaurants, hotels, entertainment, businesses and more. You can zoom from space to street level instantly and then pan or jump from place to place, city to city, even country to country.

Below is the Google Earth .kmz file for the hike itself. To preview a 3D model of this actual hike in Google Earth, right click on the .kmz file link below and save the file to your desktop. Then double click that desktop file and it should launch Google Earth if you already have Google Earth installed on your computer. (If you do not have the free Google Earth application already installed, first go to

Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's CenterMuseum to La Jolla Shores.kmz

After Google Earth launches, scroll down to the bottom of the "Places" column on the left and locate the hike file "Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's CenterMuseum to La Jolla Shores.kmz" in the "Temporary Places" folder. Click the side arrow to the left of "Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's CenterMuseum to La Jolla Shores.kmz" to expose the "Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's CenterMuseum to La Jolla Shores" tour file. Then select that file, and click on the triangular "Play Tour" button just below and to the right of it. Enjoy!

If you'd like to check out the elevation profile of the hike, just right-click the "Torrey Pines Natural Reserve Visitor's CenterMuseum to La Jolla Shores" file and select "Show Elevation Profile". Move your cursor over the profile and watch the arrow move along the loop hike to determine the altitude at any point!

Below are some vintage photos from one of our first hikes there, in 2000, when parking fees at Torrey Pines were only $5.00!