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Guidebook Getaway: Hike Among Rare Torrey Pines in Usually Warm Southern California

Even when it's chilly by Southern California standards, coastal bluffs still offer an inviting destination for a stroll.

The place: Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The attraction: a 2,000-acre park with hiking trails that is one of just 2 places in North America where Torrey pines grow. (The other: Santa Rosa Island, near Santa Barbara.)

Bonus attraction: Nearby Torrey Pines State Beach and its tall, 45-million-year-old sandstone cliffs.

All of the above are a total treat in sunny conditions, even cooler days, such the ones taking place when this post was written. Los Angeles set a new record low for Jan. 14: 34°F.

Today's Guidebook Getaway take a look at a trail guide that offers a fine overview of the hiking opportunities within the reserve as well as other walks in America's typically toasty southwestern corner.

The book: 50 Best Short Hikes: San Diego, written by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press).

Here you can get a free trail description from Schad's guide. Or get the enitre book.


Photos courtesy of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Docent Society. Above (bluffs): by Mark Goodkin. Below (beach): © 1997 Bill Evarts.

Schad, sad to say, is no longer with us. The former chairman of the physical sciences department at San Diego Mesa College, an endurance athlete and author of many trail guides, Schad died of kidney cancer in September 2011. As the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in its obituary, Schad was 61.

He is probably best known for Afoot and Afield: San Diego County, a popular, long-running guide to the region now in its fourth edition.

He authored 2 other books in the Afoot and Afield series (Orange County and Los Angeles County), Cycling San Diego (his obituary noted that he was an avid cyclist as well as a hiker), 101 Hikes in Southern California and other titles.

I used 101 Hikes as my guide for another recent Guidebook Getaway, the audacious Cactus to Clouds hike (with 10,200 feet of elevation gain) from Palm Springs to the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Thanks for all the tips, Jerry Schad.

No doubt Jerry would want people in Southern California to make the most of a sunny winter weekend. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve sounds like a good option.

Footnote: When SoCal temps slip into what most Americans consider to be just chilly to cold, that makes news in the region—and prime lampoon fodder for Jimmy Kimmel:

Note: This post was modified on April 16, 2013.

Posted on at 9:15 AM

Tagged: Guidebook Getaways, Hiking and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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