Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego

Southern California’s Torrey Pines State Reserve® is a coastal wonderland of sandstone cliffs and dense pine forests, complete with nature walks overlooking the dazzling Pacific Ocean.

Of all the state parks in San Diego, Torrey Pines State Reserve® is considered one of its most popular attractions. Located along historic Highway 101, in the La Jolla community of San Diego, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is known as a wild stretch of natural beauty and a true Southern California gem. With towering cliff walls and gorgeous beach vistas, the 2,000-acre coastal state park is the perfect beach destination for families and nature explorers.

Hang gliders, parasailers, and hot air balloons sail across the ocean horizon in this stunning state reserve on any given day. Beyond sunbathing on the sandy white shores, visitors can take one of the many nature beach hikes through the area's native Torrey pines. These rare trees are the park's namesake and a vision to behold.

Related Post: 16 Best San Diego Bachelor Party Ideas: How to Plan and Where to Go

Plan Your Torrey Pines State Reserve Visit

Torrey Pines Operating Hours are from 7:00 a.m. to sunset. The park is open 365 days a year.

The Visitor Center & Museum Shop (at the Lodge) are open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. after March 20). Torrey Pines is a day-use only park, so night activities are prohibited.

Torrey Pines Parking: Several parking lots are located at the South Beach and North Beach entrances. In addition, two small lots can be found on the mesa near the Lodge. The park entry fee is $10 per vehicle, while South Beach parking day use per vehicle is $15-$25.

(Camping is prohibited at the park, as are dogs.)

Directions to Torrey Pines: From Interstate 5, take the Carmel Valley Road exit to Torrey Pines Road.

Related Post: 2022 Guide to Spring Break in San Diego: Where to Go & Things to Do

Restrooms: Guests can find restrooms at the beach parking lots and in the west parking lot of the upper Reserve. (Note: There are no restrooms in the Visitor Center or on the trails.)

Pro Tip: Free guided walking tours for families and small groups are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 a.m.

Known as one of California's best state parks, San Diego's Torrey Nature Reserve is extremely crowded in the summer months.

  Helpful Tips for Your Visit

  • No alcohol or glass containers.
  • Dogs, horses, and other pets are prohibited from the Reserve and the beach.
  • Contained fires are allowed off the sand, such as a portable BBQ.
  • Drones are not allowed anywhere on the Reserve or Beach.
  • Fishing (with a valid California license) is allowed at the beach but not in the lagoon area.
  • Stay away from the bottom of the cliffs as rock slides occur frequently.
  • The park has no vending machines or restaurants, so guests should fuel up before arrival.

Explore Torrey Pines State Reserve

Torrey Pines State Beach

Swimming, snorkeling and fishing are popular activities at Torrey Beach. Also, surfing and whale watching are also engaging pastimes. Visitors can find a picnic area and parking lot near the entrance on North Torrey Pines Road.

In addition, on the western path or low road, head to the beach where you'll find bathrooms, showers and a kid's play area by the Penasquitos Lagoon. The northern path leads visitors to a more active beach with boogie boarding and surfing.

Pro Tip: The beach does not have a permanent lifeguard stationed below the bluffs at Torrey Pines. Also, the beach zone can be dangerous with strong tides.

Just south of Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Beach offers day-use parking with a small parking lot where fees can also be paid at the South Beach kiosk. Also, there may be free parking along Highway 101.

Torrey Pines Beach & Reserve has several family-friendly paths and more advanced trails, offering a great experience for all levels.

Related Post: How to Spend 3 Days in San Diego

Torrey Pines State Reserve Lodge & Visitor Center

Architects styled the Torrey Pines Lodge after the Hopi Indian houses of the Arizona desert. Designers Richard Requa and Herbert Lew Jackson added modern methods to protect the earth walls from rain, moisture, and earthquakes.

What started as a restaurant is now the Visitor Center and Ranger Station. Check the website for ongoing events like hikes, nature walks, and children's programming. The park provides guided nature tours on Saturday and Sunday.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a luxury resort hotel with world-class dining, a full-service spa and tee time scheduling at the Golf Course. Amenities include Egyptian cotton linen, quilted duvets, and marble bathrooms with oversized tubs.

View of the Torrey Pine Lodge, a large multi level wooden and stone building with an outdoor dining area and it's pool lounge area with a light purple sunset in the background in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: The Lodge at Torrey Pines via Facebook

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Torrey Pine is also home to one of the nation's most beautiful golf courses. Situated atop cliff stone towers, this famed 36-hole municipal golf facility overlooks the Pacific Ocean south of Torrey Pines State Park. The more popular North Course is shorter and less expensive, while the Torrey South is the more challenging of the two.

Photo Alert: Get your cell phone ready because this park has gorgeous photo opportunities around every turn.

The Trails of Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines highlights over eight miles of hiking trails that offer picturesque views of wildflowers, forests, and magnificent surrounding mountain ranges.

Pro Tip: Don't try to take a selfie with a rattlesnake! These critters are deadly and if you see one hiking, wait for the snake to leave the area. If it doesn't go willingly, notify a park employee.

Related Post: Current Events & Festivals in San Diego

Guy Fleming Trail

This easy 2/3-mile loop trail offers two scenic overlooks and panoramic coastline views. The trail also features abundant wildflowers, cacti, and diverse habitats. Moreover, the hike provides the best views of the celebrated Torrey Pines. The Guy Fleming Trail also has Gray Whale sightings in the winter months.

Guy Fleming Trail, Southern Overlook at Torrey Pines State Reserve - San Diego, California, USAParry Grove Trail

Prepare to get your heart-a-thumping on this trek! The entrance/exit had over 100 stone steps down a steep embankment. Parry Grove is another loop trail, but only a half-mile in length.

Razor Point Trail

The Razor Point Trail crosses through sage scrub grassy nooks to the Yucca Point Overlook. The Overlook offers breathtaking views of sandstone gorges and sweeping pine forests. Don't miss this trail!

Photo Alert: Take some awesome pics with the cliffs and dramatic ocean backdrop. Just make sure to keep your eyes on the trail!

Broken Hill Trail

Broken Hill is the longest trail (1.4 miles via the North Fork and 1.3 at the South Fork) through the Reserve. Here, hikers can meander through a path that showcases a scenic overlook with views of eroding sandstone. This easy to moderate trek allows guests to connect to the park's Beach Trail.

Related Post: 17 Free Things to Do in San Diego

The Cliffs of Torrey Pines

Located in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the towering cliffs of Torrey Pines are a spectacle to behold. At 300 feet tall, these ancient cliffs are hard to miss. Park officials urge tourists to stay on the trails, to protect the environment as well as for their own safety.

Local Scavenger Hunts Near Torrey Pines

The San Diego area features numerous Scavenger Hunts that visitors can access on their smartphones. On the San Diego Balboa Park scavenger hunt, adventure seekers turn the park into a giant game board and win by completing various Amazing Race-like challenges. Similarly, visitors can search for clues through the La Jolla neighborhood inside local shops, art galleries and museums.


When the Spanish explorers, in early 1500 AD, landed along the Southern California coast, they named the area Punto de Los Arboles, which means "Point of Trees." Then later, when the first settlers arrived, they called the trees Solitary Pines. Then in 1805, a medical doctor interested in botany named the pines for his mentor, Dr. John Torrey. Parry was in San Diego at the time of the US-Mexico Boundary Survey.

Related Post: All You Need to Know About Torrey Pines Hiking Trails

Thanks to local conservationists, the 1,500 acres of Reserve land are as they were before San Diego became a city, including the maritime chaparral, Torrey forests, beaches, and lagoon vital to migrating seabirds. The land obtained Reserve status and is not an actual park. Areas with threatened habitats become reserves.


close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

Want to write for Tripster?