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Plants at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

One of the best parts about hiking at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is the variety of plants you might encounter. 

The main plant communities found in the coastal reserve are categorized as Torrey Pine Woodland, Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Coastland Strand, and Salt Marsh. Most of San Diego’s rainfall occurs during winter or early spring. However, there is always something beautiful to enjoy regardless of the season. (Full plant list here.)

Point out plants as you hike with your family. Talk about how they provide food and shelter for animals that live in the reserve. Look for fun shapes and textures.

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What’s So Special About Torrey Pines?

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is named after the Torrey Pine, a rare and endangered pine species that is native to the reserve. A subspecies also grows on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. One characteristic of a Torrey Pine is that it has 5 needles in each bunch. 

Even though California doesn’t get a lot of rain, the Torrey Pine has a smart watering system. Moisture from coastal fog collects on pine needles and drops to the ground to help distribute water to tree roots. 

It’s easy to spot Torrey Pine trees in the reserve as you explore San Diego using our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to Torrey Pines & Solana Beach.

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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

A morning hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is first on the list of activities in our Beyond the Zoo Guide to Torrey Pines & Solana Beach. We’ll share more about what makes this hike special in the next few posts. 

Before you visit: 1) Learn about Hours and Parking. Expect to park in a pay lot near the beach and walk uphill to the Visitor Center where most of the trails begin. 2) Bring a water bottle, but save food for eating on the beach. There is no food allowed in the reserve which is a protected area. 3) Dogs are not allowed.