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Taking on the Trails at Torrey Pines
By Carol LeBeau
2/3/2014 2:36:22 PM

It was Janine’s idea. My friend and high-energy walking buddy suggested that we shake up our routine a bit. Sure, Mission Bay, Coronado, Lake Miramar and Batiquitos Lagoon are great venues for our monthly “talk and treks.” But how about a change? 
Janine’s plan was to bump it up a notch in the New Year – move from the flats to something a bit more challenging. So last week we headed for the hills (or at least the cliffs!) at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.  
Two hours later – sweaty, spent, with quadriceps on fire, we hobbled back to our cars congratulating one another with “high-fives,” for conquering the sometimes steep and winding trails overlooking Torrey Pines State Beach. Then came the, “I should have had a V-8” moment. Why, we wondered, had we never considered one of the most spectacular places to walk, jog or hike in southern California for our monthly walking workout?
I’m afraid I’d lumped Torrey Pines in with other local attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Cabrillo Monument, USS Midway Museum and Belmont Park as destinations meant only for out-of-town guests. Come to think of it, the last time I trekked Torrey Pines, it was with my nephews from Iowa five years ago.  “Auntie Carol” spent several days visiting the attractions I typically enjoyed only as tour guide.
Well, no more! We live in paradise and I intend to start taking advantage of it with or without out-of-town guests! 
Did you know Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located within San Diego city limits, 
yet remains one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast? The 2,000 awesome acres of land are as they were before San Diego was developed…including the chaparral plant community, the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches and a lagoon vital to migrating seabirds.
Travelers and locals (like Janine and me!) take a break at the stunning overlooks, walk peaceful trails or exercise in a clean, beautiful environment. There’s a trail for everyone or you can combine several to intensify your workout.  Here’s a trail list to get you started: 
Guy Fleming Trail - 0.7 mile loop. Easiest, relatively level, forested, nature markers. Diverse scenery, ocean vistas, sandstone formations, spring wildflowers, drinking water, parking.
Perry Grove Trail - 0.5 mile loop. Secluded, not too difficult, but steep entry/exit (100 steps) Drought and Bark Beetle infestation have devastated this grove, but it is recovering. Whitaker native plant garden at trailhead.
Razor Point Trail - 0.7 mile to point.  Dramatic views of gorge, badlands, spring wildflowers, fewer but more picturesque trees.  Trail splits from Beach Trail 200 yards below restroom trailhead and follows the Canyon of the Swifts toward the bluffs.
Broken Hill Trail - Access to beach via north fork 1.2 Miles (my fave!) Longest trail…chaparral, few trees, scenic overlook of the “broken” hill. (Combine this trail with Razor Point Beach Trails for a 3-mile loop.)
Beach Trail - ¾ mile to Flat Rock and beach. Popular beach access. Least scenic trail, few trees, steep. (If you plan to hike down and then walk back to the lower parking area along the beach, remember to check the tides or you may find yourself swimming back to your car!)
If you’d like to join Janine and me as we enjoy the tourist attraction right here at home, go to www.torreypine.org where you’ll find maps and much more about one of San Diego’s natural wonders.
See you on the trails!