Morning Trails in San Diego

There is no better way to wake up then to the fresh air and a short walk to invigorate the body. Both the Point Loma trail, easily accessible from downtown San Diego in less than 20 minutes, and the beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve offer the perfect viewpoints to take in the beauty of Southern California’s coastline.

The Point Loma Trail, starting just beyond the Cabrillo National Monument, is approximately 3 miles and can be done in around an hour. It is a there-and-back trail, wrapping down the mountainside, offering a view of the expansive Pacific Ocean and across the bay to downtown San Diego, along with (of course) Point Loma Naval Base. During the proper seasons, it is also possible to view migrating whales from the viewpoint near the lighthouse.

View of the Point Loma Bay & Downtown San Diego

View of the Point Loma Bay & Downtown San Diego

Before starting the trail, be sure to visit the lighthouse that has been properly restored and offers a small museum about the history of the lighthouse as it pertains to the city’s prosperity. The old, glass structure of the light, weighing over 1 ton, has also been moved into the center of the small museum (next door to the lighthouse, not the main museum besides the parking lot). It is a fascinating example of early maritime technologies, and a rarity of its kind.

Note: There is a $5 parking fee.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States


Torrey Pines State Reserve is located a little further north along the coastline and offers a few different trail options (trails times varying from 45 minutes – 2 hours). Park along the highway or within the parking lot (small parking fee) and begin your trek up the hill. There is a parking lot that is closer to the top, where the trails start, but who wants to miss all the pretty trees on the way up? Plus, the lots fill up fast. Just walk!

The morning tide along the beachfront

The morning tide along the beachfront

An easy route is to take the middle trail towards the “Ocean” and follow as it twists through the Torrey Pine trees and sandy cliffs. Take note that there are only two locations where Torrey Pines can be found – here and the Channel Islands. Therefore, one belief is that at some-point these pieces of land were connected and later broke off from each other.

Once you have meandered along the cliff edges and finally made your decent to the sandy beach, it is possible (tide permitting) to continue back to the starting location (and presumably your car, bike, or other mode of transportation).

Parking lot: Small fee
Along the Highway: Free
12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, California 92037, United States

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