The last time we hiked the Torrey Pines Extension, it was overcast and cold so we came back today at sunset. This separate area to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is on the opposite side of Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. This extension was acquired in 1970, eleven years after the main Torrey Pines Reserve became a State Park, to preserve the threatened grove of pine trees on the north bluff. This 197 acre piece of land holds half of the 3,000 Torrey Pines in San Diego. Santa Rosa Island off the coast holds the remaining trees.
We headed up the sandy Mar Scenic Trail and then turned left to ascend the ridge up the DAR Trail which stands for Daughters of the American Revolution. We first headed South on the ridge dotted with the rare Torrey Pine to a viewpoint with benches overlooking the lagoon and ocean before back-tracking to the North side of the DAR Trail that led down into small forest of trees. Our total hike was only 1.5 miles out and back but we saw some awesome views and the setting sun painted the chaparral-covered hillside a rosy glow.
Next time we come back, we will hike the Margaret Fleming Nature Trail to the east side of the small valley and circle the Red Ridge Trail along the top of the plateau. In total, there is 4.3 miles of trails crisscrossing this reserve. The trails do not connect to the beach like in the main reserve, but there is free parking.
We returned on New Year's Day to hike up to the Red Ridge Trail via the Margaret Fleming Nature Trail.
On our walk back, we encountered two locals who live near the trail who gave us a tour and told us about the history of the surrounding sights.