The Torrey Pines State Reserve is a national park in the proximity of San Diego in California. It is eight kilometers of wilderness right on the California coast with many trails, beautiful natural sites and lush vegetation.
Thanks to continuous preservation efforts by the people in the area, the 2,000 acres of the Torrey Pines State Reserve are almost the same as they were centuries ago. The park is known for having the rare and endangered pine tree species; the Torrey Pine and the only subspecies; Pinus Torreyana in the country. The only other place the Torrey Pine tree grows is on the Santa Rosa Island off of Santa Barbara. The park also holds many other endangered flora and fauna and various wildlife.
The Torrey Pines State Reserve is the perfect place to get away if you’re looking for some peace and quiet and want to enjoy nature. Hiking is a very popular activity and there are over eight miles of hiking trails around the park. Note that while hiking, you should bring your own water because there are no stores where to buy from on the way. Also no other food or drink is permitted in the park because of the fragile ecology, and no picnicking is allowed at the reserve park area. While a great place to hike, the park only offers hiking during the day, and there are no on-site overnight camping sites.
If you want to have a picnic at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, you can head down to the Torrey Pines state beach area. Here you can discover a lot of distinctive marine life and plants. Be on the lookout for different types of snails, crabs, clams, and mussel beds. If you look out to sea, you can catch a glimpse of whales, dolphins, sharks, porpoises and sea lions.
The freshwater lagoon in the park is also a popular attraction and is a major site in the northern part of the reserve. It is the result of melting ice caps from over 10 thousand years ago. The lagoon is important to migrating birds and is a great site for bird watching. While you’re there check out several of the lagoon’s trademark plants such as salt marsh plants, the Pickle weed and the California Seablite.
If you want to fully discover the Torrey Pines State Reserve, then you should consider taking a guided nature tour of the park. On weekends and holidays, tours depart from the main lodge, the Visitor Center at 10 am and 2 pm. There are also free public hikes on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, but they are limited to groups under 10. There are many types of tours of the park offered to groups including naturalist, self-guided tours, children’s programs which are all free. Groups must adhere to several stringent rules during their tours including not picking flowers or plants, not leaving the trail and not feeding the animals.
The Torrey Pines State Reserve is open every day from 8 am to sunset, so anywhere from 5 to 8 pm. The visitor Center is open daily from 9 am to 6pm in the summer and 10 am to 4 pm in the winter. While entry to the park is free, parking costs $10 or $9 for senior citizens.
The Torrey Pines State Reserve is located at 12600 North Torrey Pines Road between La Jolla and Del Mar near San Diego.