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Guy Fleming is one of Torrey Pines Reserve’s most popular trails.
It is an easy hike and close to the front entrance, but it also happens to have great ocean views and is perhaps the reserve’s best trail for seeing the namesake Torrey pine, an endangered species.
The trees grow more densely here than in most other areas of the park, and the trail passes right through several groves.
You may even have to duck under their bowing branches in a place or two. The Torrey pine, though it superficially resembles other pine species, is actually a rare variety that grows wild only here and on one of the Channel Islands.
It used to be more widespread across Southern California but is now restricted to these two small populations.
It’s unique for an extensive root system that allows it to survive on these dry, sandy cliffs.
Though some of the trees grow quite tall and straight, those that cling near the gusty cliff edge become contorted like oversized bonsais.
The trail finds a few groves of these fantastically wind-warped trees. On Guy Fleming Trail you will see a lot more natural scenery as well, including a red sandstone bluff towering overhead, impressively large yucca plants, agaves, and prickly pears beside the path, and expansive views over the ocean.
During the winter migration season, you may even spot whales out at sea. Another unique natural feature is the lagoon and marsh visible to the north, next to the town of Del Mar.
This salt marsh at a river outlet is one of the few ecosystems like it in Southern California and is a crucial habitat for migrating seabirds and waterfowl.
As you hike Guy Fleming Trail, take time to notice all these unique displays of nature that have become rare along the urbanized coastline. Note that Torrey Pines State Reserve has special rules to protect the fragile ecosystem.
Leaving marked trails is not allowed.
Pets are not allowed in the reserve.
Food and drink (except water) are not allowed on reserve trails. Sources: https://torreypine.org/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torrey_Pines_State_Natural_Reserve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torrey_pine https://torreypine.org/wp-content/uploads/maps/mapa.pdf