Learn about nature at Torrey Pines trailhead!

At Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, several popular trails (including the Beach Trail and Razor Point Trail) can be accessed from a small parking lot south of the Visitor Center.

At the trailhead visitors will see a wooden structure, the words Torrey Pines Docent Society, and many smiling volunteers who are happy to provide information or explain interpretative displays before you begin your hike. The structure is called the Trailhead Information Kiosk, or TIK for short. Docents greeting visitors here are called TIK Talkers!

I remember how, many years ago, this trailhead “kiosk” was nothing more than a portable table and EZ Up canopy. Today’s handsome, sturdy structure is a testament to what volunteer hands can create!

The Trailhead Information Kiosk is a great place to learn about Torrey Pines’ native plants and animals. There are signs detailing what hikers might encounter, photographs of wildlife, and cool models of insects, snakes and other animals.

Before beginning a short hike the other day, I paused at the TIK to absorb a little knowledge.

Reptiles of Torrey Pines

Birds of Torrey Pines

Insects

Flowering Plants of Torrey Pines

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Torrey Pines Lodge prepares for its centennial!

The Torrey Pines Lodge has been welcoming visitors for nearly 100 years. In 2023 the historic adobe building, nestled in the beauty of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, will celebrate its centennial!

When I visited the Torrey Pines Lodge this weekend, several docents told me that plans are now being made for observing its centennial. I hope to attend public celebrations next year!

As I walked through the old building, which today serves as a Visitor Center, I viewed a few displays concerning its history.

I’ve taken photographs for you to enjoy. (If you’d like to see more of the Lodge’s interior, and several of it’s museum-like exhibits, check out an old blog post here.)

The San Diego Union newspaper article, dated January 1, 1923, describes the new Beautiful Adobe Lodge.

Tableware from the days when the Torrey Pines Lodge served as restaurant.

Dinner was one dollar! Motorists on their way through to San Diego or Los Angeles could also purchase Mexican and Indian rugs, blankets, pottery, baskets, etc. at the Lodge.

The Torrey Pines Lodge was dedicated on April 7, 1923.

In the summer of 1922 when construction began on the Torrey Pines Lodge, this area consisted of a treeless and windswept sandstone bluff.

Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, a noted San Diego Philanthropist and the sole contributor to the acquisition of what was called at the time, “The Torrey Pines City Reserve,” donated the funds to build the Torrey Pines Lodge…

…Architect Richard Requa was noted for his pueblo and Mayan style of architecture, and designed many buildings in San Diego’s Balboa Park…

The Lodge was built from sun baked adobe bricks, made on the construction site from local clays. Miss Scripps also brought Hopi Indians from the Southwest to aid in the making of authentic adobe bricks…

The Lodge and its restaurant opened to the public in February of 1923 and was an immediate success, perhaps due to its stunning scenery and location adjacent to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Highway…the main road between Los Angeles and San Diego until the mid-1930’s…

…the Lodge was a favorite day trip…as well as being a popular stop for tour buses of the era. The Model T Fords of the 1920’s found the highway’s steep grade a challenge…

Old photographs shows dining tables on the Lodge’s front terrace.

The beautiful Torrey Pines Lodge in 2022. Some restoration work is visible.

A wooden plaque inside the Lodge.

The Torrey Pines Lodge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Planting rare trees at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

An important reforestation effort is underway at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

In recent years the critically endangered Torrey pine population has been reduced significantly by bark beetles, particularly in the park’s North Grove. So over 450 Torrey pine seedlings and 581 native shrubs grown in the nursery at the San Diego Safari Park are being planted in different locations around the Reserve.

You can read more about the project, an effort of California State Parks, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, and the U.S. Forest Service, by clicking here.

I walked the loop of the Guy Fleming Trail yesterday, where visitors can see many of the dead Torrey pines. Among dead trees, clustered close to the ground, stand strange blue tubes. These plastic protectors shield growing trees and other plants from animals and drying winds.

Native shrubs that have also been planted, mostly above the west-facing bluffs facing the Pacific Ocean, include sea dahlia, jojoba, lanceleaf liveforever, fingertips (San Diego dudleya), lemonade berry, coast lilac, and San Diego mountain mahogany.

As I walked along, observing all those blue tubes, I paused to read signs that explain how bark beetles kill the rare and beautiful Torrey pine. This tree’s natural protection against beetle infestation is sap. During drought trees produce less sap than usual and become especially vulnerable.

Without sufficient water, trees cannot produce enough oleoresin, an oozy sap-substance, and one type of chemical defense that can flush beetles from trees…

Bark Beetle Trapping and Observation in Progress.

The Five-Spined Engraver Beetle is a native insect that survives by burrowing in the Torrey pine tree. During normal conditions, the pines will excrete sap to prevent beetles from laying eggs within the tree. The sap simultaneously protects the damaged bark from fungus and disease…

…The stacked black funnels that are seen on a dead Torrey pine contain a specialized chemical pheromone to attract and trap beetles…

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Torrey Pines’ scenic, very easy Discovery Trail.

The very easy Discovery Trail at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a fine place to walk or sit on a bench, while drinking in nature’s beauty.

The short .13 mile highly accessible trail follows the edge of a bluff just east of the historic Lodge (the park’s Visitor Center) and its parking lot.

There are scenic overlooks with views of Carmel Valley, Los Peñasquitos Lagoon and even the Pacific Ocean. Signs describe many of the natural marvels around you. Native plants along the way are identified with information plaques.

Last weekend I slowly walked north along the Discovery Trail.

I began at Torrey Pines Park Road across from the Beach Trailhead parking lot. That’s where I saw the sign pictured below. I then headed north until I reached the rear of the old Lodge.

TORREY PINE WOODLANDS. The Torrey Pine tree is one of the most rare pine trees in all of North America. The young trees that you see today may be the remnants of what was once an ancient coastal forest. This natural plant community is found only in nutrient-poor sandy soils, along the sandstone bluffs, canyons, and ravines of Torrey Pines State Reserve and on Santa Rosa Island…

Wherever you stand, you are in a watershed. Here Carmel Valley Creek, Los Peñasquitos Creek and Carroll Canyon Creek all drain to one point: Los Peñasquitos Lagoon’s exit to the Pacific Ocean…

You are looking at a saltmarsh, where salt water from the ocean mixes with fresh from rivers and streams…Los Peñasquitos Marsh Natural Preserve remains a natural coastal wetland.

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Beauty and history on Torrey Pines Park Road.

Explore the south end of Torrey Pines Park Road at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and you’ll discover breathtaking beauty and fascinating history.

Last weekend I walked north along the paved trail, which a century ago was part of the main road from San Diego to Los Angeles. The following photographs begin near Torrey Pines Golf Course and end just short of the Visitor Center at Torrey Pines State Reserve’s old Lodge. The historic road, closed to vehicle traffic, is how hikers access Broken Hill Trail, which winds through a rugged landscape down to the beach.

In my photos you’ll see native coastal sage scrub and chaparral plants, rare Torrey pine trees, the Pacific Ocean in the distance to the west and sandstone cliffs overlooking North Torrey Pines Road to the east. Signs along the way speak of the history of this place.

Come along as I walk down old Torrey Pines Park Road on a sunny November day!

Other walkers and bicyclists were also enjoying a fun adventure.

To the east beyond an information sign and historical marker one can see North Torrey Pines Road, Carmel Valley and Interstate 5.

FROM SAN DIEGO TO LOS ANGELES

The Torrey Pines Park Road was once part of the main highway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A dirt road built in 1910 and paved in 1915 with the concrete surface you see here, its steep grade posed a special challenge to the cars of the era. Because Model Ts used gravity to deliver gasoline to the engine in front of the car, motorists had to climb up the hill in reverse.

As the number of cars and their speed increased, the hairpin curve near the Guy Fleming Trail became the scene of many accidents. Local officials sought a new roadway, proposing to cut into the seaside cliffs across the front of the Reserve. A compromise resulted in the current North Torrey Pines Road, completed in 1933. When the City of San Diego transferred the title of the park to the state in 1959, this end of the road was closed to cars.

The steep hill and its hairpin curves mentioned in the sign are north of the Lodge, beyond this particular walk. Cars entering the park still use it.

If you’d like to see past photos of the Guy Fleming Trail which is also referenced in the sign, click here!

TORREY PINES PARK ROAD

1915

HAS BEEN LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

22 OCTOBER 1998

Hikers explore nature’s beauty.
The North Fork Trailhead leads west to the Broken Hill Trail.
Picturesque sandstone cliffs overlook North Torrey Pines Road (not visible) to the east.
A sign details the history of Camp Callan, which was located here from 1941 to 1945.

THE GUNS OF TORREY PINES

In 1940 the U.S. Army leased 710 acres on Torrey Pines Mesa from the City of San Diego to build a training camp for long range artillery to defend the west coast against a Japanese attack during World War II. Most of the camp was on areas now occupied by UCSD, the Gliderport, and the Golf Course, but it also extended into the area of Broken Hill. Later, Penasquitos Marsh was annexed into the Camp. A variety of firing ranges allowed training with everything from hand guns to large artillery. In 1942, the Camp’s focus shifted from coast defense to anti-aircraft.

CAMP LIFE

The Army took care to keep the 15,000 residents of this instant city busy. In addition to this grand outdoor stage, there were two indoor theaters, sports teams, social clubs, three chapels, a weekly newspaper, a band and a drama club.

The 300-bed hospital was staffed by 30 nurses who practiced evacuating from a sinking ship by leaping off the Del Mar Pier. The original caption on the 1943 photograph reads, “Smiling and realizing that they had again accomplished what the male soldier is required to do, the three nurse lieutenants Mae Despain, Myra Adams, and Johynee Parmley step gaily from the surf after the jump and long swim ashore.”

Camp Callan’s final mission was to train soldiers for massive overseas amphibious assaults. In November 1945, the Camp was declared surplus. The buildings were dismantled and sold to a local utility, and the kitchen appliances sold to a hospital. This end of the mesa returned to nature, with little trace of the once bustling training camp.

A postcard. Greetings from CAMP CALLAN CALIFORNIA.
Torrey pine trees in the distance.
More eroded sandstone to the east.
Approaching a small parking lot at the Beach Trailhead near The Lodge.

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The beautiful Torrey pines of Cabrillo.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument is picturesque by itself. But the historic 1855 lighthouse, rising into the sky near the end of Point Loma, seems to belong in a painting when several rare Torrey pines that grow nearby are framed with it.

The lighthouse and tall windswept trees seem to belong together.

I did my best to capture the extraordinary beauty with my small camera during a visit today.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sunset photos at Torrey Pines State Beach!

I took this series of beautiful photographs today during sunset at Torrey Pines State Beach.

Enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Plaques honor golf champions at Torrey Pines.

San Diego’s beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course is one of the most beautiful and famous golf courses in the world. It has a history of great competitions between the world’s top professional golfers.

Last weekend I walked a little around Torrey Pines Golf Course and took photos of outdoor plaques that honor notable past champions.

Plaques along one side of a practice putting green at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Plaques along one side of a practice putting green at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The Century Club WALK OF FAME.
The Century Club WALK OF FAME.

Arnold Palmer, San Diego Open Champion 1957, 1961.
Arnold Palmer, San Diego Open Champion 1957, 1961.

Billy Casper, San Diego Open Champion 1966.
Billy Casper, San Diego Open Champion 1966.

Gene Littler, San Diego Open Champion 1954.
Gene Littler, San Diego Open Champion 1954.

Tom Watson, San Diego Open Champion 1977, 1980.
Tom Watson, San Diego Open Champion 1977, 1980.

Craig Stadler, Buick Invitational Champion 1994.
Craig Stadler, Buick Invitational Champion 1994.

Jack Nicklaus, San Diego Open Champion 1969.
Jack Nicklaus, San Diego Open Champion 1969.

Scott Simpson, Buick Invitational Champion 1998.
Scott Simpson, Buick Invitational Champion 1998.

Gary Player, Buick Invitational Champion 1963.
Gary Player, Buick Invitational Champion 1963.

108th United States Open Championship, June 12-16, 2008. Champion Tiger Woods.
108th United States Open Championship, June 12-16, 2008. Champion Tiger Woods.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

El Camino Real Bell at Torrey Pines.

After finishing my walk along North Torrey Pines Road last weekend, I waited for a bus at a stop near the north end of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the south end of Torrey Pines State Reserve. For a while I watched groups of bicyclists fly past. Then I noticed that an El Camino Real Bell rose from the nearby sidewalk!

I’ve taken photographs of various historic El Camino Real Bells all around San Diego over the years. You can revisit a few of my sightings by clicking here.

As I explained in that blog post: “Many of these guidepost bells were placed in 1906 by the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. They marked the primitive roads that connected the old Spanish missions in California. El Camino Real, which means the Royal Road or King’s Highway in Spanish, led to 21 missions in Alta California, plus a variety of sub-missions, presidios and pueblos. The bells stand on tall posts in the shape of a shepherd’s crook. In subsequent years, bells have been removed or added to the California landscape.”

This bell appears similar to others I’ve come upon. An old plaque at the base of this one reads:

Donated by
California Federation of Women’s Clubs
Bostonia Woman’s Club

And, like other examples I’ve seen, this appears on the bell itself:

Loreto
Oct 25 1697

Solano
July 4 1823

According to the California State Parks website: “On October 25, 1697, Father Salvatierra founded the first permanent mission in the Californias on a sheltered plain opposite Isla Carmen. It was named Nuestra Señora de Loreto Concho…” (That original mission was built in what today is Baja California, Mexico.)

The 21st mission in Alta California (the present state of California) was established in San Francisco on July 4, 1823. It was the final and northernmost mission. It was named Mission San Francisco de Solano.

The name and founding date of both the first and last mission explains what is written on every El Camino Real Bell.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!