Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla is one of the most picturesque areas in San Diego. The Torrey Pines hikes overlook the stunning coastline and should be on anyone’s list, whether you are a San Diego local, a beginner hiker, or someone who hits the trails every weekend. The views just never get old.
What I like about Torrey Pines is that it is fun for hikers of all levels. Even if you have very little stamina, you can do some of the shorter hikes (if you park at the top of the cliff) and enjoy the views. The Beach Trail Loop is very much doable for less experienced hikers, but still enticing for avid hikers. I usually hike a few times a month and I still come back to Torrey Pines over and over.
Torrey Pines Visitor Info
IMPORTANT: Rock slides and cliff collapses are frequent, especially after rain. Stay away from the cliff’s edge as well as the bottom of the cliffs. Trails might close on short notice so check the website before you go. Check for tide schedule before you go to the beach!
Best Torrey Pines Hikes
There are many trails on top off the Torrey Pines plateau. Many of them can be combined into longer hikes, such as the Torrey Pines Beach Trail Loop with the Broken Hill Trail, or Razor Point with Yucca Point and Red Butte.
The trails are all well-marked, and it is pretty much impossible to get lost up there.
Torrey Pines Beach Trail Loop
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation gain: 364 ft
Duration: 1 h 2 min
This loop is usually hiked clockwise and starts at the lower parking lot by the beach. First, you hike up the surface road to the Torrey Pines plateau. This is the most strenous part of the trail. Once you reach the top parking lot, you turn off the pavement and follow the signs of the Beach loop trail. This is the only beach access trail. Please double check the tide schedule to make sure you can enter the beach safely.
Guy Fleming Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation gain: 52 ft
Duration: 17 min
This is one of the easiest hikes in Torrey Pines, but offers some of the most stunning views. You’ll see dramatic cliffs, steep canyons, and of course the vast Pacific Ocean. I have spotted whales and even a Great White from up here. You can also admire the famous twisted Torrey Pines trees, which only grow in this small area and are protected.
Razor Point Trail
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation gain: 177
Duration: 33 min
This quick in and out trail ends up at one of the most scenic view points in Torrey Pines. It starts off the surface road on the plateau and can be combined with other hiking trails, such as Red Butte, Yucca Point, as well as Broken Hill and Beach Trail Loop.
Broken Hill Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 308 ft
Duration: 1 h 2 min
The Broken Hill Trail starts off the surface road, but past the upper parking lot. This out and back trail includes a side trail to Broken Hill Overview that you should definitely not miss. If you want to go down to the beach, you can join the Torrey Pines Beach Trail, then walk along the beach, up the surface road to where you started.
I would personally recommend following the Broken Hill trail to where it joins with the Beach Trail, but instead of going down to the beach, you head up the Beach Trail back to the surface road and back to your starting point for a nice 3.3 mile hike.
Parry Grove Trail
Distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation gain: 111 ft
Duration: 18 min
This loop splits off to the right in the Whitaker Garden section of the short EB Scripps Overlook hike. You will go down about 100 rugged stone steps into the canyon. Definitely check out the Whitaker Garden, which showcases beautiful local plants.
Yucca Point Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation gain: 193 ft
Duration: 33 min
The Yucca Point Trail is an in and out trail that follows much of the beginning of the Torrey Pines Beach Trail, but then splits off to the Yucca View Point. Just like the other trails, it can be combined with other trails to make it longer.
Torrey Pines Guides Hikes and Walks
You can join guides hikes and walks with docents every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays at 10 AM, as well as mindfullness walks on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 8 AM. I haven’t done them yet, but it is on my list of things to check out.
Torry Pines Hiking Tips & Info
- Download a Torrey Pines Hiking Trail map before you go
- Stay on marked trails
- Trails might close on short notice if it rains or if there is soil erosion. Check website for details.
- No dogs allowed, except for service dogs
- Watch the tide schedule, if you plan to access the beach via Beach Trail Loop
- Only water is allowed on the trails; food and non-alcoholic beverages only allowed on the beach
- Pack in-Pack out – there are no trash cans along the trail
- Leave no trace
- Do not collect shells, plants, seeds, or other things
- No Smoking
- No drones allowed
- No amplified music and speakers
- Bikes are only allowed on the paved road between the lower and upper parking lot
Torrey Pines Hikes FAQs
Nestled between the Torrey Pines Golf Course, I-5, and the Pacific Ocean, the best way to get to Torrey Pines is by car. From I-5, you take exit 33B and head west on Carmel Valley Road. Turn left on Camino del Mar into the paid parking lot of the State Reserve, or right to find free parking along beach.
Taking public transport is a bit cumbersome, but do-able. From Downtown, you can take the trolley to UTC and then bus 101 to Torrey Pines State Beach. From up north, you also take bus 101, which starts all the way up in Oceanside transit center.
Parking at Torrey Pines can be tricky. There are two parking lots inside the Torrey Pines State Reserve, one by the beach and one up the hill on top of the cliff. You need to either pay (currently $15-25/car) or have a California Explorer State Park Pass ($195). During peak times (10 am – 1 pm) the parking lots can fill up, especially during the summer months.
Free parking is limited, but available along Camino del Mar and at the North Beach Parking lot off of McGonigle Rd. I don’t recommend you park in the residential areas as this is a real nuisance for the residents.
While the Torrey Pines Beach Trail Loop is always a stunner, I personally enjoy the Guy Flemming Loop. I love the vast views over the ocean and I have spotted whales and a Great White shark from there.
I highly recommend coming during the week. This is one of the most popular, probably THE most popular hiking area in San Diego and it can get busy. I usually go during the week, early in the morning or late afternoon and avoid the summer months. My favorite season is spring time, when all the wildflowers are in bloom.
Have you done any of the Torrey Pines hikes? Which one was your favorite?
Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Maria Haase