Just down the road from us is Torrey Pines State Reserve, a beautiful state park located in North County. We decided to spend our Saturday morning hiking the trails and the payoff was not only a great workout, but absolutely unbelievable coastal views.
We parked about two miles away on Carmel Valley Road, because, hey, a few extra miles never hurt anyone, right? As we got to the base of the park, we began the long, steady, steep climb to the top. Apparently a lot of other people have the same idea on Saturday morning. That main road up is a GREAT way to get your heart rate up – and FAST! We’re keeping this place in mind for hill workouts in the near future.
Once at the top, we swung by the Visitor’s Center and grabbed a trail map. While two trails were closed (South Fork Trail and Parry Grove), plenty more were available. The nice thing about the park is none of them are too strenuous or long. We decided to hit them all. Below is brief review (and some photos) of what we were able to hike.
With South Fork trailhead closed, we hopped on the North Fork trail and set off for the scenic overlook. Flat, winding and nicely kept, this would be a great place to start a trail run and then work your way back. After a little over a mile, it connects with the Broken Hill trail which leads out to a nice, scenic overlook.
We kept hiking down and ended up at the Flat Rock overlook point. This vantage point is unreal. You truly do feel “on the edge of it all,” light years away from the hustle-bustle of the I-5 (funny thing is, it’s actually pretty close!).
The nice thing about the park is you can hop from overlook to overlook without hiking the (whopping) mile or so back out, essentially hiking RIGHT along the edge of the cliffs. We hiked north a bit to the Yucca Point lookout, then on to Razor Point and up to Red Butte – all very close to each other. After Red Butte, we hiked back out to the Visitor’s Center and hit the water fountain.
As we started heading down, we hit the High Point lookout. With dramatic views of the Torrey Pines beach and wetlands below, as well as an expansive view of Carmel Valley to the east, this is worth the trek to the top alone.
Continuing our way back down, we hit the Guy Fleming trail. This .07-mile loop is relatively easy, but the views are still top-notch. It’s a great “cool-down” trail if you want to hit the other ones pretty aggressively.
From here, we hiked out and headed directly to the front door of one of our post-workout favorites … Roberto’s! When it was all said and done (according to Map My Run) we had hiked 9 miles, with a gain of over 3,000 feet. All in all, a great morning – as we were done around lunchtime.
Although we are amateur photographers, we were able to compile this image gallery from the photos we took with our phones; Enjoy!
Saturday evening, we decided to reward ourselves and went to dinner at Donovan’s Steakhouse in La Jolla. Look for a review from C in the next day or so, but, all I can say is “WOW!”
After a few extra hours of sleep on Sunday morning, we got up and got in an 8-mile hill run, our final “long” run before the AFC half next weekend!
It’s weekends like these that make paying that “sunshine tax” absolutely worth it. Amazing training weather, beautiful scenery, beaches and GREAT food are just a few of the reasons why we are starting to call San Diego home.
Have a great week and train hard!