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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

Walking through natural beauty at Torrey Pines.

It’s easy to find breathtaking natural beauty in San Diego. Three of my favorite places to walk along the coast are Torrey Pines State Reserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, and the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The high sandstone cliffs topped by rare, windswept Torrey pines, the beautiful beaches stretching at their feet, the endless surf, blue San Diego sky, lingering banks of fog . . . all of these elements combine to produce an experience that is difficult to match anywhere in the world.

Over the years I’ve taken many photographs around Torrey Pines. And it’s quite likely I’ll be taking many more!

This morning, as I sit at my computer wondering where I might walk today, I’ve decided to revisit some of those old blog posts.

Click these links to see great natural beauty…

Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

The historic Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

A walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

Taking flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport!

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!

Oil painted walks in nature’s beauty.

It’s going to be hot this weekend. So I’m planning on taking it easy–do some reading by the water, perhaps write something.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to create even more digital oil paintings!

My recent walk in San Clemente Canyon has inspired me to select a few past photos of nature’s beauty, and transform them into “paintings” with GIMP’s graphic Oilify filter.

If you think you recognize the ocean at Torrey Pines State Reserve, the San Diego River, Mount Laguna, snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Mission Trails Regional Park–in no particular order–you’d be correct!

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!

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

This morning I enjoyed an incredible (and relatively easy) hike along several short trails through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s less-visited Northeastern Extension.

I started from the trailhead at the northeast end of Del Mar Scenic Parkway and, watching for rattlesnakes, climbed north along the Mar Scenic Trail to the DAR Trail.

When I reached the trail junction where one turns to reach the DAR plaque, I elected to continue west downhill for a short distance, just to enjoy the amazing scenery. Beyond picturesque Torrey Pine trees stretched the wide blue Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Finally I retraced my steps, turned north on the West Ridge D.A.R., and made my way to the historic DAR plaque.

It reads:

TORREY PINE STATE RESERVE

D A R TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE

THIS TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE
ARE DEDICATED TO OUR PLEDGE TO SAVE
AND FAITHFULLY DEFEND FROM WASTE
THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF OUR COUNTRY.
ITS SOILS, MINERALS, ITS FORESTS,
WATERS AND WILDLIFE.

THE CALIFORNIA STATE SOCIETY
OF THE
NATIONAL SOCIETY
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
MRS. LEROY CONRAD KAUMP, STATE REGENT
NOVEMBER 16, 1971
U.S.A. BICENTENNIAL PROJECT

What a fantastic walk!

Unlike the very popular main section of Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is located to the south across Los Penasquitos Lagoon, it’s possible you won’t encounter another human being while hiking through this small area of protected wilderness. Wear sturdy shoes or boots because the sandy path can be a bit slippery. And bring some water. It can get pretty warm!

Enjoy the following photos!

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!