Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Established in 1899, this 1,750-acre reserve is dedicated to the preservation of one of the world's rarest pine trees. Thought to be remnants of an ancient forest that was disrupted by glaciers, fewer than 6,000 Torrey pines (Pinus torreyana) survive. They occur naturally only here and on the island of Santa Rosa, one of the Channel Islands.The reserve occupies an isolated bluff overlooking the Pacific, a stunning setting in which multicolored sandstone cliffs carved by water and wind serve as a backdrop for lovely Torrey Pines State Beach. In the early 1920s, Ellen Browning Scripps, who had purchased and donated for public use some 1,000 acres of land supporting the precious trees, commissioned the Hopi-style adobe Torrey Pines Lodge (1923, Richard Requa). Formerly a restaurant, the structure today houses a visitor center with a small museum of local natural history.From here, the well-marked Fleming Trail (.6mi) offers ocean views and passes several stands of Torrey pines. Other trails explore the blufftop, offering viewsaa of the cliffs and the sea before leading down to the beach.
Address:12600 North Torrey Pines Road, 92037 La Jolla
[8am-dusk. Free access. Parking: $10]