The day before my train to Los Angeles, I decided to spend the day solo hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve. The rare, endangered Torrey Pines trees surrounding the area only exist in two places in the world: here at the state reserve in San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island in California. So, be sure to marvel and take a few pictures!

In 4 hours, I hiked the 5 trails on the reserve and still found time to meditate and photograph the trek. It’s a relatively easy hike, if you’re used to hiking long distances.

There are 5 main trails you can take presently at the reserve:

  • Guy Fleming Trail
  • Razor Point Trail
  • Beach Trail
  • Parry Grove Trail
  • High Point Trail

I’ll break ’em down for ya!

Guy Fleming Trail.  “A relatively level and easy 2/3-mile loop, the trail offers two scenic overlooks with panoramic views. This trail has the greatest variety of wildflowers, ferns, cacti, and habitat diversity in the reserve. ”

Parry Grove Trail. “A half-mile loop. Secluded. Steep entry/exit with over 100 stone steps. Drought and bark beetle infestation had devastated the Torrey pines in this grove, but it is recovering. The Whitaker Garden, a native plant garden, is at the trailhead.”

A peaceful and scenic place to practice meditation

High Point Trail.  Steep 100 yards with steps but the top offers a panoramic view of the Reserve, lagoon, and inland.

Beach Trail. “A 3/4-mile trail that is a rustic footpath through the Upper Reserve and descends roughly 300 feet to the beach. Final access to beach via stairs.”

Razor Point Trail. “About 2/3 mile to the Razor Point Overlook, the trail meanders through coastal sage scrub with dramatic views of sculptured sandstone gorge and gnarled trees. The Yucca Point Overlook, accessible from both Razor Point and Beach Trails, features yucca flower displays in the spring and examples of sandstone erosion and patterned sculptures called tafoni.”

My favorite trails, and often most hikers favorite, are Beach Trail and Razor Point Trail. The rock formations and scenic views can’t get better than those two!

As Torrey Pines is endangered, it’s really important to protect these beautiful trees and work to make sure these plants can live for future generations. With that said, we can do small things to help!

  • Keep food and drink (except water) off the state park reserve.You can bring a reusable water container and fill it up at the many water fountains along the trails. 🙂
  • Stay on the designated hiking paths. Veering off into closed areas, and climbing cliffs are activities that cause severe environmental damage and can be dangerous.
  • No bikes, vehicles, or drones allowed
  • Please do not collect pine cones or pick wildflowers. They must be left to produce seed to grow new plants and as food for animals. Leave plants, animals, and rocks for the next visitor to enjoy.

These helpful tips help the trees continue to thrive and grow, and in turn protects the wildlife animals that live in the park. As humans, it’s our right to enjoy our planet earth, to marvel and gaze in wonder at earth’s beautiful splendor. But it’s also critical we leave nothing but footprints, so we may allow this natural environment to continue.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy Torrey Pines State Reserve as much as I do!



Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego

February 8, 2017


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.