SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
I have been to San Diego a few times and I will admit that I never really felt
any compulsion to go back. I will say though that I also didn't veer away
too far from downtown SD and Gaslamp. We have stayed before
in the Pacific Beach area and not to sound to prissy, but it was meh.
Well, I have a cousin who just moved to San Diego (Poway, actually)
and I owe her a visit so for July 4th, The Dutch and I dragged our feet
to give San Diego another go.
We weren't disappointed this time! We made a deliberate decision
to stay as far away from downtown San Diego as possible and an
entire repertoire of experiences lined themselves up in front of us.
Like this coastal hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve only 20 miles
north of San Diego Airport.
Torrey Pines is about 2,000 acres of protected coastal land.
I was surprised at the landscapes found here, especially these
massive sandstone cliffs shaped by wind and time.
The hiking is pretty easy, and there's something for everyone.
Our hike was only about a 4+ mile loop which is about one of the
longer routes at the park, but there are hikes of shorter distances.
Mornings in San Diego this time of the year are typically foggy,
but as the day progresses, the clouds lift. When we did this
hike, the skies were gray, but it didn't take away from the
beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the drama of the cliffs.
Because Torrey Pines is a natural reserve area, it is a unique opportunity
to learn and observe about local vegetation. There were quite a few cacti
next to the trail; I never really knew cactus grows on the coast! Torrey Pines State
Reserve is also named after local pines called Torrey Pines. We learned from a park
volunteer that these Torrey pine trees though are under attack from beetles.
Because of the continuing drought, the trees are are not producing enough
moisture that helps them fend off bugs.
IF YOU GO
Make sure you stop by the visitor's center before to pick up a map and to get trail information.
We heard that parking gets busy. Get in early to secure a spot. The park opens at 7:15AM.
There is an entrance fee per vehicle. Check here for rates.
For free guided hikes on weekends led by park staff and other park information, check here.