Walking Trails in Torrey Pines, California

by Nicole Schmoll

Torrey Pines is a small community in San Diego, California. This seaside neighborhood sits on less than 3,000 acres of land between La Jolla on the south and Del Mar on the north. Major attractions in Torrey Pines include the Torrey Pines Gliderport where daring individuals can go hangliding over the ocean, the Torrey Pines Golf Course, home to a PGA Tour event, and the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The reserve is a scenic bluff with walking trails; some head down to the beach below.

what is a fallback

Guy Fleming Trail

Along with the Discovery Trail, the Guy Fleming Trail is the easiest, most level walking trail in the Torrey Pines State Reserve. It offers a look at most of the plant life native to Torrey Pines as well as sweeping ocean views, sandstone formations and wildflowers. Parking and drinking fountains are at the trailhead. Bring your camera and binoculars with you on this trail as you might catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphins and gray whales swimming in the water below. The trail, a 1/2-mile long, is suitable for families and people without hiking shoes. Some even choose to have wedding ceremonies at the South Overlook along the trail. The trail is named after Guy Fleming, a botanist who led thousands of people through the trail during his lifetime.

Parry Grove Trail

The Parry Grove Trail is a secluded 1/2-mile loop with a steep entry and exit point. One hundred narrow steps make it one of the less-traveled but more rewarding walking trails in Torrey Pines. Reserve officials have planted a garden at the Parry Grove trailhead that features native plants and shrubs. The trail is named after Charles Christopher Parry, an English surgeon who had a keen interest in botany and exploration. That interest led him to discover the Torrey pine tree, after which the reserve is named.

Beach Trail

The Beach Trail is one of the most highly trafficked at the Torrey Pines State Reserve. At 3/4-mile long, the trail itself doesn't offer much in terms of scenery. However, it ends with a narrow entry into the Torrey Pines State beach. The trail starts at the restrooms near the Visitor's Center and winds down over uneven ground to the beach below. In the winter, the trail can be more difficult to climb when winds blow sand away, revealing more rocks and cobbles to traverse. Pack a light lunch and beach towel, and wear your swimsuit beneath your hiking shorts in case you want a refreshing dip in the water before climbing back up.

Broken Hill Trail

At 1.3 miles long, the Broken Hill walking trail is the longest trail in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This trail offers access to the beach via the north fork, which gives hikers a 1.2 mile trek to the beach below. Those wishing to view the ocean from above and the broken hill that gave the trail its name can take the south fork for a moderate 1.3-mile climb. The Broken Hill Trail connects with two additional trails in the Reserve: Razor Point Trail and Beach Trail. If you walk all three, they offer a challenging 3-mile loop.

Discovery Trail

The Discovery Trail is only 1/2-mile long and is flat enough to accommodate wheelchair access. Guests of all ability levels can enjoy this easy trail which takes about 30 minutes to explore. The trail begins at the Visitor's Center and makes a loop along the top of the reserve. Ocean views and glimpses of the natural brush in the area as well as birds and squirrels dot the trail. Bathrooms and benches line the trail as well.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images