Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Torrey pine a protected species?

Natural groves of Torrey pines are protected on Santa Rosa Island by the National Park Service and at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve by California State Parks. Outside those boundaries, local ordinances apply. 

In the City of San Diego, no tree on public right of way can be pruned or removed without a permit:

§63.07 Destruction, Injury of Torrey Pines Trees — Prohibited That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to cut, injure or destroy any trees known as the “Pinus Torreyana” growing upon Pueblo Lots Nos. 1332, 1337 and 1338 or any other public lots or lands, belonging to and within the corporate limits of the City of San Diego. (Incorp. 1–22–1952 by O–5046 N.S.)

The City of Del Mar has somewhat stricter guidelines that extend to private property for protected trees like Torrey pines (see Del Mar Ordinance 23.50).

Is the Reserve open on holidays?

The Reserve is open 365 days a year.

Can I come to the Reserve before 8 AM?

The Reserve's South Beach gate opens 7:15 AM and closes at sunset. Sunset is between 5 PM in the winter and 8 PM in the summer. The exact closing time is posted at the kiosk at the entrance to the South Beach Parking Lot. 

What is the address and phone of the Reserve?

12600 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037

GPS:  32.92183,  -117.2497


How can I get to the Reserve using public transportation?

North County Transit Bus 101 stops at the beach level. To reach the upper Reserve, get off at the National University stop and walk in from the Reserve's South Entrance.

Are there guided tours at the Reserve?

Yes. There are free, docent led, tours on Sat, Sun, and holidays at 10 AM and 2 PM. Typically they last 1 to 1-1/2 hours and can be tailored to the abilities of the participants.

 I want to bring a group to the Reserve. What do I need to do?

For a group of more than twenty-five people, you must reserve at least two weeks ahead of the requested visit.

Corporate or family gatherings, contact Special Events Coordinator Julia Miura at 619-688-3385 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for a Special Event Permit. NOTE: Julia’s office is not on-site, but at the Old Town State Park headquarters in San Diego.

Can we picnic at the Reserve?

No. You can picnic on the beach, just not in the Reserve. Food is not allowed because we don't want to accidentally introduce foreign material into the ecology. Hikers are advised to bring and carry drinking water on the trails - especially in the summertime.

Can I camp at Torrey Pines State Beach?

No. Camping is not allowed at TPSNR. The nearest beach camping areas are San Elijo State Beach (760-753-5091) or Carlsbad State Beach (760-438-3143). Or call the California State Parks reservations 1-800-444-7275.

Can I bring my service dog (includes guide dogs) to the Reserve?

Yes. Service dogs (working only) are allowed at TPSNR, on the beach and in the Visitor Center (Lodge). We do request that you notify the entrance station or a ranger, on the day of your visit, if you are going to be in the Reserve or on the beach. We would like the animal to be identified with a blanket or tag, so that it is easily identified as a service animal. This helps reduce the number of calls to the rangers and will reduce the number of visitors who may tell you "dogs are not allowed". To help eliminate the potential of exotic plant seeds being brought in from the dog we ask that the dog be freshly brushed. If you have additional questions or concerns, please call the Visitor Center at 858-755-2063.

Is it possible to have a wedding in the Reserve?

Yes. Contact Julia Miura at 619-688-3385 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for a Special Event Permit. NOTE: Julia’s office is not on-site, but at the Old Town State Park headquarters in San Diego.

Does Torrey Pines have wheelchair access to the beach?

No.  However, a beach (balloon tire) wheelchair is available at both the North and South parking lot kiosks. If the kiosk is closed call the Visitor Center at 858-755-2063 and make arrangements to use the beach chair.

Are there trails in the Reserve with wheelchair access?

No. Currently most trails do not meet ADA standards. However, we are working to bring some trails up to ADA standards.  The Discovery Trail (sign with map just to the right as you reach the Visitor Center) has wheelchair access.  Also, the Whitaker Garden (with many plant information signs) near the entrance to the Parry Grove Trail is accessible after a short sandy slope at the entrance, which may require assistance.

 Are there rattlesnakes in the Reserve?

Torrey Pines has rattlesnakes as well as gopher snakes and racers. Snakes often bask on sunny trails. Please be alert and keep children with you. A snake will not bite unless provoked.

What are those black "Chinese lanterns" hanging in the trees?

These pheromone-containing traps are used to monitor the bark beetle, which attacks Torrey pines. This is  one of the many projects funded by TPA to protect Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. 

Torrey Pines Association

P.O. Box 345
La Jolla, CA 92038