Beautiful views from Cabrillo National Monument.

People on patio behind Visitor Center take in a breathtaking panorama.
People on patio behind Visitor Center take in a breathtaking panorama.
View from Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center scenic overlook. Downtown San Diego is visible to the east.
View from Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center scenic overlook. Downtown San Diego is visible to the east.

Last Sunday, after I checked out the new Yankee Baleeiros whaling exhibit in the Visitor Center, I wandered about Cabrillo National Monument and took in the many beautiful views. My camera was very busy!

Tall ship America sails south down the channel out of the bay and into the open ocean.
Tall ship America sails south down the channel out of the bay and into the open ocean.
Looking out over San Diego Bay. Shelter Island lies in the distance beyond Naval Base Point Loma.
Looking out over San Diego Bay. Shelter Island lies in the distance beyond Naval Base Point Loma.
One of many interesting signs. This one shows typical commercial and pleasure craft seen on the water below.
One of many interesting signs. This one shows typical commercial and pleasure craft seen on the water below.
Statue of Cabrillo donated by the Portuguese government at a popular lookout spot.
Statue of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo donated by the Portuguese government at a popular lookout spot.
Naval Air Station North Island seems to glow beyond the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center building.
Naval Air Station North Island seems to glow beyond the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center building.
I took lots of photographs while climbing up toward the beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
I took lots of photographs while climbing up through native coastal vegetation toward the beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Looking southwest over two World War II bunkers toward the distant Coronado Islands, which are a part of Tijuana, Mexico. The new lighthouse is down by the water.
Looking southwest over two World War II bunkers toward the distant Coronado Islands, which are a part of Tijuana, Mexico. The new lighthouse is down by the water.
People gaze out at the beautiful sky and ocean from a popular whale-watching point.
People gaze out at the beautiful sky and ocean from a popular whale-watching point.
Gray whales migrate past Cabrillo National Monument from December through April. Spouts are often seen from here!
Gray whales migrate past Cabrillo National Monument from December through April. Spouts are often seen from here!
Sculpture of a gray whale and a cetacean's vertebrae along walkway that leads from the old lighthouse.
Sculpture of a gray whale and a cetacean’s vertebrae along walkway that leads from the old lighthouse.
Looking northwest toward the tidepools below and Pacific Ocean breakers.
Looking northwest toward the tidepools below and Pacific Ocean breakers.

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Fresnel lens in Old Point Loma Lighthouse museum.

Looking up at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument.
Looking up at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument.

Everyone likes to explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. You can climb up the winding staircase and peer into several interesting rooms where the lighthouse keeper and his family lived. But the small museum in the nearby assistant keeper’s quarters contains the true marvels of science and art. Come inside and let us have a quick look!

The assistant keeper's quarters next to the lighthouse today contains a small museum.
The assistant keeper’s quarters next to the lighthouse today contains a small museum.
Sign outside lighthouse shows huge Fresnel lens which guided ships with focused light 400 feet above sea level.
Sign outside lighthouse shows huge Fresnel lens which guided ships with focused light 400 feet above sea level.
The heart of a lighthouse is the lens and lamp. 19th century lenses are works of art made of polished brass and glass.
Sign at entrance to museum.  The heart of a lighthouse is the lens and lamp. 19th century lenses are works of art made of polished brass and glass.

The highly polished Fresnel lenses utilized by lighthouses are beautiful objects. They refract and reflect light, creating prismatic colors when viewed from certain angles. It’s almost a miracle that a small flame in a lamp can be magnified to the extent that ships far out at sea can easily see it and be guided to safety. Light intensified by lenses in this museum could be seen 18 to 24 miles away!

This 3rd Order Fresnel lens was used by the New Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1891 down by the water.
This 3rd Order Fresnel lens was used by the New Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1891 down by the water.
An optical wonder, this huge lens is an amazing, highly polished light bender.
An optical wonder, this huge lens is an amazing, highly polished light bender.
Diagram shows how a complex Fresnel lens functions.
Diagram shows how a complex Fresnel lens functions.
The base of the heavy Fresnel lens with chariot wheels visible.
The base of the heavy Fresnel lens with chariot wheels visible.
There are different orders of size, as illustrated in this display.
There are different orders of size, as illustrated in this display.
Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827) was an accomplished engineer and scientist. Fresnel lenses are used in many modern applications today.
Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827) was an accomplished engineer and scientist. Fresnel lenses are used in many modern applications today.
Small museum by Old Point Loma Lighthouse contains various very cool exhibits.
Small museum by Old Point Loma Lighthouse contains various very cool exhibits.
This small 5th Order lens lighted the Ballast Point Lighthouse from 1890 to 1960.
This small 5th Order lens lighted the Ballast Point Lighthouse from 1890 to 1960.
Log book of daily expenditures for oil, wicks and chimneys.
Log book of daily expenditures for oil, wicks and chimneys.
This clockwork of gears slowly turned the light above.
This clockwork of gears slowly turned the light above.
The keeper's service box contained cleaning supplies and delicate tools for maintaining the lamp.
The keeper’s service box contained cleaning supplies and delicate tools for maintaining the lamp.
The Coast Guard removed this large Fresnel lens from the New Point Loma Lighthouse in 2002.
The Coast Guard removed this large Fresnel lens from the New Point Loma Lighthouse in 2002.
Looking at the iconic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and small museum beside it.
Looking at the iconic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and small museum beside it.

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Float your boat on San Diego Bay!

Fishermen enjoy a day on San Diego Bay with downtown skyline in background.
Fishermen enjoy a day on San Diego Bay with downtown skyline in background.

I made a discovery last weekend as I searched through hundreds of old pics on my computer. It seems I really like to photograph anything that floats in San Diego Bay! There’s just something very striking about purposeful objects that move across the sparkling water. Here’s a variety of photos…

Ferry approaches Coronado while navigating past other ships and boats.
Ferry approaches Coronado while navigating past other ships and boats.
Kayakers paddle under the Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
Kayakers paddle under the Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
Kayaker checks out the water underneath Joe's Crab Shack.
Kayaker checks out the water underneath Joe’s Crab Shack.
Paddling away on San Diego Bay. Looks like a fun adventure!
Paddling away on San Diego Bay. Looks like a fun adventure!
Guy in small inflatable with bucket, net and fishing rods hopes to catch something.
Guy in small inflatable with bucket, net and fishing rods hopes to catch something.
USS Ardent (MCM-12) mine countermeasures Navy ship cruises along the bay.
USS Ardent (MCM-12) mine countermeasures Navy ship cruises along the bay.
Huge Dole cargo ship brings in millions of bananas from Central America.
Huge Dole cargo ship brings in millions of bananas from Central America.
Sailboat heads out from Shelter Island Yacht Basin past Scripps research ship Melville.
Sailboat heads out from Shelter Island Yacht Basin past Scripps research ship Melville.
Billowing sail is colorful under San Diego blue sky.
Billowing sail is colorful under San Diego blue sky.
Man casts from shore of Shelter Island, hangars on North Island in the background.
Man casts from shore of Shelter Island, hangars on North Island in the background.
A bunch of beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
A bunch of beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Boats docked in large marina between Harbor Island and Spanish Landing.
Boats docked in large marina between Harbor Island and Spanish Landing.
Maritime Museum of San Diego's Swift Boat, PCF-816, returns from a harbor cruise.
Maritime Museum of San Diego’s Swift Boat, PCF-816, returns from a harbor cruise.
The Harbor Island Fuel Dock is always a hub of boating activity.
The Harbor Island Fuel Dock is always a hub of boating activity.
Sailboat leans on sparkling water of our endlessly fascinating big bay.
Sailboat leans on the sparkling water of our endlessly fascinating Big Bay.

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Cool mural at Restaurant Depot in Barrio Logan.

Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.
Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.

I don’t know much about this mural, apart from the fact that it’s huge, colorful and super cool. For years, it seems, scaffolding has stood against the long portion along Harbor Drive. Just recently the scaffolding vanished, and the brilliant, dynamic street art is fully visible in all its glory!

You can find this urban art at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Parkway and Harbor Drive, just south of downtown in Barrio Logan. It decorates the high wall that encloses the parking lot at Restaurant Depot.

I took these photos as I walked south to north along Harbor Drive, then turned west at the intersection for a little more fun artwork.

Enjoy!

Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Nearby Chicano Park's pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Nearby Chicano Park’s pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we'll turn west for a bit more...
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we’ll turn west for a bit more…
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!

UPDATE!

I learned years later (shame on me) that this 1993 mural is titled The Kelco Historical Community Mural, by artist Salvador Roberto Torres and his wife Gloria Rebolledo Torres. It was restored by Salvador Torres in 2012, which explains the scaffolding I had previously seen.

Salvador Roberto Torres is one of the founders of nearby Chicano Park, the largest collection of outdoor murals in the United States. He saw the great freeway pillars supporting the ramps to the San Diego–Coronado Bridge as potential concrete canvases, and so created the Chicano Park Monumental Public Mural Program in 1969. He was also one of the founders of the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

During that later walk I took additional photos of the mural!

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San Salvador galleon replica nears completion!

Seaworthy replica of galleon San Salvador built by San Diego Maritime Museum.
Seaworthy replica of galleon San Salvador built by San Diego Maritime Museum.

On my way to the Cabrillo Festival yesterday, I swung by Spanish Landing across from the airport to check out the San Salvador. As you might recall from my blog post from early last December, the San Salvador is a replica of the galleon sailed by explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. The San Diego Maritime Museum is building it.

I was surprised to see the cool ship is nearly completed! Check out some pics I took over the surrounding fence! I spoke to a young volunteer who was working near the ship, and she told me the San Salvador is expected to launch in early 2015. The galleon will be sailing up the coast of California, recreating the historic trip by the famous explorer. And a documentary will be filmed during the voyage!

The peculiar-looking vessel will be able to navigate the open ocean, she assured me, and is ready to go today, but the folks building her are doing as much additional detail work as they can while the ship remains on dry land.

Bow modeled after historic ship sailed by explorer Cabrillo in 1542.
Bow modeled after historic galleon sailed by explorer Cabrillo in 1542.
Stern of the wooden galleon that will sail on the Pacific in early 2015.
Stern of the wooden galleon that will sail on the Pacific Ocean in early 2015.
View of the San Salvador and a huge mast from Harbor Drive sidewalk.
View of the San Salvador and a huge mast from Harbor Drive sidewalk.
People on the upper deck of the almost finished galleon.
People on the upper deck of the almost finished galleon.

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Art adds life beside the ocean in Imperial Beach.

Ocean Riders bronze sculpture by Wyland has three dolphins.
Ocean Riders bronze sculpture by Wyland has three dolphins.

Imperial Beach is in many ways a typical Southern California beach community. The Pacific Ocean and surfing are dominant themes. You see it in the local culture; you see it just about everywhere you turn.

The above photo is of a very cool sculpture just steps from the beach, in Imperial Beach’s Dunes Park. Ocean Riders, dedicated in 1996, was created by Wyland, a famous environmental artist who is known worldwide for his graceful depictions of marine animals.

Utility box on Seacoast Drive shows girl playing in the sand.
Utility box on Seacoast Drive shows girl playing in the sand.
Sea and Sky sculpture by Ken Smith.
Sea and Sky sculpture by Ken Smith.

The above sculpture can be found adjacent to the beach a short distance north of the Imperial Beach pier.  In 2009, it was part of an Urban Trees exhibition along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Fantastic mermaid and shark street mural in Imperial Beach.
Fantastic mermaid and shark street mural in Imperial Beach.

This mural represents typical Imperial Beach street art. I found this on the side of a building on Palm Avenue.

Surfboard sculpture in outdoor museum.
Surfboard sculpture in outdoor museum.

You see in this pic one of 26 surfboard sculptures placed along Palm Avenue between Third Street and Seacoast Drive. They belong to The Imperial Beach Outdoor Surfboard Museum and represent the history of surfboard design dating from ancient times to 1985.

Shiny metal sculpture of abstract surfer on Palm Avenue.
Shiny metal sculpture of abstract surfer on Palm Avenue.
Cool surfboard rack on a bicycle near the beach!
Cool surfboard rack on a bicycle near the beach!

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Pacific Beach boardwalk down to Mission Beach.

Beginning my walk south from Crystal Pier along boardwalk.
Beginning my walk south from Crystal Pier along the boardwalk.

Now please walk with me as I head south down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. We’re starting at Crystal Pier and going all the way to Hamel’s down in Mission Beach. It’s one of the most amazing walks (or bike rides) in all of the world!

Cool octopus art made of tile, stones and shells.
Cool octopus art made of tile, stones and shells.

This bit of artwork was next to the walkway right by the pier.

Folks head toward a shark and big ice cream cone!
Folks head toward a hungry shark and big ice cream cone!
Youth hostel by Pacific Beach boardwalk has sunny mural.
Youth hostel by Pacific Beach boardwalk has a sunny mural.
A small backyard is paradise on the beach!
A small backyard is paradise on the beach!
Colorful surfboards by beach contain happy messages.
Colorful surfboards by beach contain happy messages.
Fish tacos are a San Diego specialty!
Fish tacos are a San Diego specialty!
Shells and boogie boards line the boardwalk for passing tourists.
Shells and boogie boards line the boardwalk for passing tourists.
Just a sample of what you'd see while walking along the beach.
Just a sample of what you’d see while walking along the beach.
Looking out toward the blue Pacific Ocean.
Looking out toward umbrellas and the blue Pacific Ocean.
Several camps on the sand teach people to surf.
Several camps on the sand teach people to surf.
Kids learning to surf file along carrying surfboards.
Kids learning to surf file along carrying surfboards.
People chat as a lifeguard watches the beach from a tower.
People chat as a lifeguard watches the beach from a tower.
Colorful beach toys left on the concrete sea wall.
Colorful beach toys left forgotten on the concrete sea wall.
Beautiful and unusual homes line the boardwalk.
Beautiful and unusual houses line the boardwalk.
The Surf Rider building includes a huge surfboard!
The Surf Rider building includes a huge surfboard!
Bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation.
Bicycles are a very popular mode of transportation.
I reached the Hamel's castle surf shop in Mission Beach!
I reached the Hamel’s castle surf shop in Mission Beach!
Lady looks through a high stack of surfboards.
Lady looks through a high stack of surfboards.
Cool mural in alley shows a roller coaster.
Cool mural in alley shows a roller coaster.

This mural in the alley behind Hamel’s shows a roller coaster. Is there a roller coaster nearby in Mission Beach? Yes, indeed! We’ll visit Belmont Park in my next blog post!

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Walking out on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.

Archway of Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages at end of Garnet Avenue.
Archway of Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages at end of Garnet Avenue.

Many years ago (decades actually), I used to occasionally go fishing from Crystal Pier. It’s located in Pacific Beach, at the west end of Garnet Avenue, which I strolled along in my last blog post.

While it isn’t a very long pier, it’s definitely one hundred percent cool. One reason is because fishing from Crystal Pier is both free and amazingly productive. While I never seemed to catch anything but mackerel, I remember seeing nice catches of bonito, rock fish, sea bass, barracuda, guitar fish, sharks and even halibut! (One nice thing about pier fishing in San Diego is you legally don’t need a fishing license.)

Why else is this pier super cool? Because there are small cottages built right on it! The historic Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages was built in 1930. Once known as Pickering’s Pleasure Pier, for a short time the privately owned pier featured a Crystal Ballroom and carnival midway out at its end!

If I were a tourist visiting San Diego, I’d absolutely want to stay here. At night the pier is closed to the public, and you can lie in bed listening to the ocean waves below. During the day you have easy access to the famous Pacific Beach boardwalk, which I’ll show you in my next blog post!

One of the small, quaint cottages actually on the pier!
One of the small, quaint cottages actually on the pier!
Looking along the short pier past fishermen and visitors.
Looking along the short pier past fishermen and visitors.
Turning back eastward toward the cottages.
Turning back eastward toward the cottages.
Surfers below Crystal Pier floating and waiting on their surfboards.
Surfers below Crystal Pier floating and waiting on their surfboards.
This surfer caught a good ride on a nice wave.
This surfer caught a good ride on a nice wave.
This pic shows fishing, surfing and the beach.
This pic shows fishing, surfing and the beach.
Leaving Crystal Pier, to walk down the Pacific Beach boardwalk.
Leaving Crystal Pier, to walk down the Pacific Beach boardwalk.

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Cool urban art on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach.

Cool art on a music store window on Garnet Avenue.
Cool art on a music store window on Garnet Avenue.

Yesterday I went for a very long walk through Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, two extremely popular beach destinations just a few miles north of downtown San Diego.

I began by walking west along Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, from around Ingraham Street all the way to the beautiful and historic Crystal Pier. This stretch contains more bars, tattoo parlors, smoke shops and swimwear stores than just about anywhere else in Southern California. It’s a young, hip, beachy sort of place, that’s mostly laid back and unpretentious. You’ll see bikinis and skateboarders and tourists and families and surfboards atop cars and under arms just about everywhere you go.

You’ll also see a lot of very cool urban art: on walls, on windows, on rooftops, in alleys…all over the place! Here are some random pics I took as I walked westward in the sunshine…

Aloha Spirit mural on side of Pacific Beach building.
Aloha Spirit mural on side of Pacific Beach building.
Surfers are a major theme in this popular beach city.
Surfers and the ocean are major themes in this popular beach community.
Mural shows lifeguard climbing a tower among palms.
Mural shows lifeguard climbing a tower among palms.
Street art between two buildings on Garnet Avenue.
Funky street art between two buildings on Garnet Avenue.
Pacific Beach public art features a large seagull.
Pacific Beach public art features a large seagull.
Street art in an alley behind a tattoo parlor.
Street art in an alley behind a tattoo parlor.
Hubcaps and tiles add flavor to a colorful local eatery.
Hubcaps and tiles add flavor to a colorful local eatery.
Another tattoo parlor embellished with urban art.
Another tattoo parlor embellished with bold swirls of urban art.
Photo mural on one wall shows old Crystal Pier and Garnet Avenue.
Photo mural on a wall shows old Crystal Pier at west end of Garnet Avenue.
Sunny Pacific Beach has a sunny utility box.
Sunny Pacific Beach has a sunny utility box.
Images of surfers and beach scenes are everywhere.
Images of surfers and beach scenes are everywhere.

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Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Hiking to the beach from trailhead in Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Hiking to the beach from a trailhead in Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Today is National Trails Day, so it seems the perfect time to blog about one hike I took recently at Torrey Pines State Reserve! The hike was down the Beach Trail, which is one of the most popular hikes in this beautiful place. The coming photos demonstrate why!

The 3/4 mile downhill Beach Trail begins at the edge of a small parking lot near the Torrey Pines State Reserve’s historic lodge, which serves as the visitor center. On this spring day, many small flowers were blooming along the trail, and lots of hikers were enjoying the sunshine as well. Should you ever go hiking here, make sure you wear good shoes because it can be a bit steep in places and the sand often makes slippery footing.

Hikers take beautiful trail through coastal chaparral.
Hikers take beautiful trail through coastal chaparral.
People enjoy vistas from atop sandstone formation.
People enjoy vistas from atop sandstone formation.
Endangered Torrey pine seen beyond fork in the trail.
Endangered Torrey pine can be seen beyond fork in the trail.

You can observe many more examples of the endangered Torrey pine tree in the north part of the reserve. See my post about the Guy Fleming Trail!

The blue Pacific Ocean comes into view!
The blue Pacific Ocean comes into view!
Typical scenery along trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Typical rugged scenery along trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve.
The Beach Trail is often covered in fine sand.
The Beach Trail is often covered in fine sand.
Now we're getting really close to our destination!
Now we’re getting really close to our destination!

It gets much steeper as one approaches the ocean. You can see La Jolla way off in the hazy distance.

Erosion of layered sandstone creates unusual, fluid forms.
Erosion of layered sandstone creates unusual, fluid forms.
Flat Rock can be seen on Torrey Pines State Beach.
Flat Rock can be seen below on Torrey Pines State Beach.
Steps head steeply down from cliffs.
Steps head steeply down from cliffs.
Hikers arrive at the beach!
Hikers arrive at the beach!

The transition from the reserve to the beach seems very sudden as you hike down from the cliffs. Suddenly you hear the surf and see many sea birds. It’s an amazing experience!

Down on the sand.
Down on the sand.
People walk north along Torrey Pines State Beach.
People walk north along Torrey Pines State Beach.

A walk north along the beach about a mile or so brings one back to the main Torrey Pines State Reserve parking lot by the Pacific Coast Highway. If you’d like to enjoy a relatively easy nature hike, I’d highly recommend this one! (Going uphill is more difficult!)

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