Torrey Pines Hike: Red Butte and Beach Trails

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The lone torrey pine against the beautiful ocean backdrop…did you know these trees are only found at the Torrey Pine State Reserve Park (map here) and at Santa Rosa Island? They are truly special but so is the hike!

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We parked down by the beach, as we weren’t exactly sure if there would be any parking left at the trailhead up on top. It was close to noontime (we spent the morning at Carlsbad Flower Fields), and the lifeguard confirmed that parking would be tough to find at the trailhead but it was definitely a good climb up the hill past the sign.  It was quite the trek up the hill with my kids, who even with hats, were a bit hot and grumpy. So we took frequent breaks. Lots of other fellow beachgoers and hikers were also climbing up, so we were in good company.

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Above is the little hill that we climbed…it was a bit hot in the direct sun. But once we turned the corner and gained some elevation, trees appeared and thankfully gave us some much needed shade.  We passed by the Guy Fleming and Parry Grove trailheads…and we enjoyed the beautiful views along the way.  Below are just a few examples:

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We finally got to the Beach Trailhead and it was a welcomed sight! We had a good view of the ocean below so we were motivated to go. The kids wanted to stop by the Red Butte for a rest stop so we took the little trail and sat on top of the rock, enjoyed the view, and had a quick snack there. Then the kids decided they wanted to go to the visitor’s center, so hubby said he would take them there while I continued down the beach trail. I tried to hurry down the trail without missing all the sights of course…beautiful views were everywhere!

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Below in the first three photos of the collage were our views from Red Butte…it was quite the sight! Then I continued past and headed down the Beach Trail.

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The trail was well defined but at times a bit uneven and slippery from the eroded sand/dirt. I couldn’t help but admire all the wildflowers as I hiked down along the cliffs, and along the paths. Quite the relaxing hike!

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As I got closer to the beach, signs warning of unstable cliffs started appearing and it got more rocky.

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But the stairs leading to the beach was awesome! From certain angles, it reminded me of a slot canyon, but a few steps later, one had full view of the beach ahead.  The steep steps were narrow and slanted, and there were no railings so beware of your footing here.

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I took a few moments to enjoy the view and then headed back up, knowing that my family was waiting for me. The way back turned into a little scenic jog and my exercise for the day.:)

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After I made it back up, I headed for the Visitor’s Center. The “Torrey Pines Lodge” sign threw me off as I thought it was a hotel of sorts, but it was actually a nice cozy center with exhibits and souvenirs. And the view outside was gorgeous!

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On our way out, we stopped to admire the Torrey Pines and signage in front of the Visitor’s Center. These trees are definitely quite majestic and I’m privileged to see these rare pines. And of course, it’s native to Santa Rosa Island…hmmm…inspiration to visit the island at some point? 🙂

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Have a great weekend and thanks for reading! 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Torrey Pines Hike: Red Butte and Beach Trails

  1. Really fun, Karen! I stayed at a very sweet resort called the Torrey Pines something (can’t remember the exact name) that had one of the best customer service mentalities I’ve ever encountered! Anyway, I’m so glad you had a good hike with your family & hope you are doing so great. Lovely to connect with you. Blessings, Debbie ps – I went on an AWESOME run this morning 🙂

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    1. Thanks Debbie! Always fun to explore new places 🙂 I’m glad you got to enjoy Torrey Pines and stay at a resort…I’m a big fan of great customer service! Where did you go running? I love running first thing in the morning…sets the tone for the day 🙂 Karen

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      1. OMG me too! That run was right in my neighborhood. I live in the West Adams historic area of LA. Houses are magnificent. Sometimes I run at my boyfriend’s place – he lives in Pacific Palisades/Malibu so great runs there too. And I like running in Santa Monica too. How about you, Karen? 🙂

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      2. I run whenever I get a chance…sometimes on various hiking trails, sometimes at the gym, but I absolutely LOVE running along the beach. Seal beach was a favorite of mine for a while, but any beach is perfect. I can only imagine Malibu area…that’s the area I haven’t been. But I heard it’s gorgeous there!

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      3. Yep it really is, depending on where you run. Funny you mention Seal Beach, I actually ran a half marathon there a few years back. Missed the turn around marker (it was a small race) and ended running more like 16 miles. Boy was I tired – I did it though!

        Have a great weekend, Karen, and lots of good running and time with your family. ❤ Be in touch anytime, you're a ray of light in my day! Debbie

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      4. Thanks Debbie! Sounds like a fun half marathon to do and you even got to do a bit more extra! 🙂 I was just there at Seal Beach this past weekend to finish up a mosaic piece and then explored another beach the next day. Beaches are glorious…it’s definitely a hard decision to go to the beach vs. running/hiking in the mountains or desert. 🙂

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