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Torrey Pines State Reserve

Parry Grove, Guy Fleming Trails
 
From 0.4 to 1 mile nature trails

Atop the bluffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve lies a microcosm of old California, a garden of shrubs and succulents.

Most visitors come to view the 3,000 or so Pinus torreyana, which grow only here and on Santa Rosa Island, but the reserve also offers the walker a striking variety of native plants.

Be sure to check out the interpretive displays at the park museum and the native plant garden near the head of the Parry Grove Trail. Plant and bird lists, as well as wildflower maps (February through June) are available for a small fee.
Parry Grove Trail was named in honor of Dr. C.C. Parry, a botanist assigned to the boundary commission that surveyed the Mexican-American border in 1850. While waiting for the expedition to start, Parry explored the San Diego area. He investigated a tree that had been called the Soledad pine for the nearby Soledad Valley. Parry sent samples to his teacher and friend, Dr. John Torrey of Princeton, and asked that, if it proved to be a new species, it be named for Torrey. The Soledad pine became Pinus torreyana, or Torrey pine, in honor of the famous botanist and taxonomist.

The 0.4 mile loop trail leads past toyon, yucca, and many other coastal shrubs. A five-year drought followed by an infestation of the Ipis bark beetle devastated Parry Grove. Only a handful of mature Torrey pines remain, accompanied by saplings planted in 1998.

Broken Hill Trail visits a drier, chaparral-dominated, landscape, full of sage and buckwheat, ceanothus and manzanita. From Broken Hill Overlook, there’s a view of a few Torrey pines clinging to life in an environment that resembles a desert badlands.

Beach Trail leads to Yucca Point and Razor Point and offers precipitous views of the beach below. The trail descends the bluffs to Flat Rock, a fine tidepool area.

Guy Fleming Trail is a 0.6 mile loop that travels through stands of Torrey pine and takes you to South Overlook, where you might glimpse a migrating California gray whale.

Directions to trailhead: From Interstate 5, exit on Carmel Valley Road and head west to North Torrey Pines Road (also known as old Highway 101). The main entrance to the reserve is at the base of the bluffs, where the park road climbs to a parking area near the reserve visitor center. You can also leave your car along the highway next to Torrey Pines State Beach and walk up the reserve road.

© 2012 The Trailmaster, Inc.
From John McKinney’s
Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author.  To learn more about The Trailmaster and other related publications please visit their website at www.thetrailmaster.com.