If you’re looking for an easy family hike with epic views of the ocean and cliffs, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is perfect. Located between La Jolla and Del Mar, this Natural Reserve boasts about 2,000 acres of beautiful landscape and numerous hiking trails.
Parking will set you back $15 on the weekends. If you park in the lower lot, note that the walk up the steep paved hill will be the most strenuous part of your hike. Once you make it up the paved hill, the rest is literally a walk in the park. Since I’m always in need of a little extra exercise, I always opt to park in the lower lot. However, there are parking options at the top of the hill as well.
While you’re hiking, you’re likely to spot hang gliders and paragliders since the Torrey Pines Glider Port is nearby to the south. You may also spot a hot air balloon to the north. And although I’ve never seen any dolphins or whales, it’s my understanding that they can occasionally be seen in this area.
Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center, especially if you’re hiking with kids. It’s a great little educational stop filled with facts about the Reserve (Hello taxidermy!). And your kids might want to pick up a little trinket on the way out. Items for sale include t-shirts, walking sticks, books, toys, and stuffed animals.
Tips for Hiking Torrey Pines
No food or drink (except water) are allowed so bring plenty of water from home
No dogs allowed
Wear sunscreen and a hat
Park is open 7:15am until sunset, 365 days a year
There are no trash cans on the trails – pack your trash