If you missed Torrey Pines Area, part 1, here it is.
Let us start at the far north of the Torrey Pines Area as defined by this map:
That blue just below Carmel Valley Road is Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. It’s a great place to go train watching since Amtrak, Coaster, and BNSF freight use the single track through the marsh.
Those trees you see on the hill behind the bridge are torrey pines in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
The torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is the rarest pine species in the United States. It grows only in a small area here in San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island, one of the islands in Channel Island National Park off the coast of Southern California.
I went to the Reserve at 7:00 one morning and did everything within my power not to just sit out there and watch the trains go by. Long-time readers probably realize how difficult it was for me to ignore the trains. Nonetheless, here’s a walk through a couple of the trails in the Reserve:
The first time I visited the Reserve was back in May 1993. As I remember it, there was very little sunshine to be found on the trails since it was a fairly dense forest of torrey pines. Sadly, the pines slowly are losing their fight for existence due to drought, insect attacks, and pollution from nearby developments and roadways.
There are two named beaches below the 400-foot cliffs of the Reserve: Torrey Pines State Beach and Blacks Beach. Blacks Beach is one of the world’s largest and best naturist beaches. It is difficult to get to because one has to navigate trails down the 400-foot sandstone cliffs, and each time you go, the trails are different due to erosion from human traffic and rainfall during the winter weeks.
My knees don’t like me going up and down cliffs anymore, so these pictures are from a trip a couple of years ago:
The Torrey Pines Golf Course is San Diego’s best and most beautiful course, and it’s a municipal course! It is where Tiger Woods won his last major championship, the U.S. Open, back in 2008.
Overlooking the golf course is The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a AAA Five Diamond hotel:
The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) is in the Torrey Pines Area. UCSD was established in November 1960, and in just 54 years has risen to prominence among universities worldwide, with U.S. News & World Report recently ranking it as the 18th Top World University.
The campus has many unique buildings and public art, and is worth spending a day just walking around gawking at everything. The library, shown in the first picture, is named after Theodore Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss.” Geisel was a La Jolla resident when he died, and many of his works are in the Geisel Collection in the library.
Across the street from the campus is the historic Torrey Pines Glider Port. I have been known to sit there for hours at a time and just watch the hang gliders.
On the beach below the Glider Port is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, founded in 1903, and one of the world’s foremost oceanographic institutions. The Institution is now a part of the University of California San Diego, and also includes the Birch Aquarium. Take an afternoon to visit the Aquarium because the view of the beach and ocean is unparalleled, and the aquariums and fish are pretty nice, too!
At the very south of the Torrey Pines Area is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:
The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. It often is ranked as the premier biological & biomedicine institute in the world.
Constant praise is heaped upon the architecture, but I find it to be absolutely atrocious. Bare concrete everywhere; just depressing and oogie.
There you have it. An absolutely gorgeous and historic area, so if ever you are in San Diego, take a day out of your schedule and go visit the Torrey Pines Area in La Jolla. You won’t regret it.
For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.
For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
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