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Pristine beach wilderness

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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a 2,000-acre area of undisrupted ocean side habitat. The landscape features many different plants and flowers native to Southern California, including the rare Torrey Pine tree and also a lagoon area that hosts migrating birds. The land was put aside before San Diego was built, which means that when people visit the park and the undeveloped beaches, they’re looking into Southern California’s past. This summer marks the 150-year anniversary for all of the California State Parks. It’s the perfect summer to spend time appreciating the scenic environment and navigate the many trails.

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The Reserve opens every day at 7 a.m. and closes promptly at sunset, which means all the cars in the lot need to be out before the gate closes. There is no food, drinks, or pets allowed in the area (with the exception of water), which helps them regulate the preservation of the Reserve.

The most popular trail is the Beach Trail, which is 1.7 miles and can take about an hour to complete. It is the trail that gets the closest to the Reserves rocky cliffs, although because of the unsteady nature of the cliff faces visitors need to stay clear of the edges. The Beach Trail begins at the top of the mountain and has either a loop option or leads down to the beach.

The hikes can vary in time and difficulty, visitors have the choice to either park at the base of the hill or the top. For those who choose to park at the base, they can hike up the hill on Torrey Pines Park Road and get great views of the city on one side and the natural environment on the other. Torrey Pines Park Road is also a popular biking area. Once they reach the top they have their choice of trails that lead them along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Many of the trails descend down to the beach by way of rocky switchbacks. On the beach tired hikers can relax in the water, before making their way along the beach back to the parking lot.

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