La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines

It’s been a long, long time since I went to the beach at a low tide, kicked my shoes off, and walked barefoot along the surfline. I’ve never been a huge beach fan, so I tend to overlook the experience. However, after I gave a presentation at the University City library on Afoot and Afield while recommending this very hike, I figured it was time to go back and reconnect with beach hiking.

Photo Jun 30, 4 56 54 AM

San Diego’s beaches are pretty fantastic, but most of them are heavily developed to the point where it’s a real stretch to call it hiking. Only three real exceptions stand out in my mind: San Onofre, Border Field, and La Jolla Shores. The La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines stretch may not be the quietest, but it’s probably the longest stretch of pure beach walking you can enjoy.

Photo Jun 30, 6 00 10 AM

The marine layer was pretty thick, keeping the temperatures cool and the air pleasantly humid. I saw a fair amount of shoreline marine life, including crabs anemones, mussels, and a variety of smaller sea life I wasn’t familiar with. The ocean water was refreshing, and the soft sand compacted by the surf felt amazing on my feet.

Photo Jun 30, 6 29 37 AM
Lance-leaf dudleya

I cut up through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve once I past Flat Rock. I went up to the Razor Point Trail, followed it to the butte, and took a detour on the Guy Fleming Trail. There were still a decent amount of wildflowers about, including sand verbena, lance leaf dudleya, and what I think might have been sun cups. A lot of the Torrey pines seemed to have succumbed to bark beetles, and I’m becoming more and more concerned for their survival in this habitat as the climate warms and dries out.

Photo Jun 30, 7 06 51 AM
Sand verbena

I don’t know why I always neglect this area, especially since it’s really easy to take a Lyft back to your starting point now. Maybe it’s the crowds, but that’s not so bad if you start early. However, with a potentially scorching summer in store for us, it looks like I’ll be doing an awful lot of hiking in this area in the near term.

If you’re interested in the hike, I wrote it up for Modern Hiker.

Photo Jun 30, 6 48 15 AM
Weed’s mariposa lily
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