Torrey Pines Mesa from the East (3+3 photos)

Looking for a little bit of exercise (photographic and otherwise) on a Sunday afternoon, Shuwen, my friend Tracy and I went to check out Penasquitos Marsh, an area that none of us had been to before.

Penasquitos Marsh can be accessed either from the west, across the street from the parking lot at the beach entrance to Torrey Pines State Park, or from the south-east in Sorrento Valley. We chose the south-east entrance – I was always curious to get closer to the east-facing side of the Torrey Pines mesa, and that approach seemed to provide just that.

Right at the entrance, a fairly big sign warned us of illegal drug trade activity in the area – charming! After a gate, the first part of the hike is on a fairly good graded dirt road, but past one lonely building the trail gets narrow and a bit sketchy because of washed out areas.

I have to admit that I didn’t see any photographic appeal in Penasquitos Marsh itself (unverified sources claim they overheard the author muttering that this was easily one of the shittiest hikes in San Diego). So instead, I focused on the views to the east-facing side of the Torrey Pines Mesa. The vegetation there is quite dense and chaotic – coastal chaparral mixed with Torrey Pines. I found it very appealing, but as usual, it isn’t easy to photograph.

Where the trail was flooded we decided to turn around and find ourselves a better spot for sunset. The nearest point with a view was the Torrey Pines Glider Port, where the towering cliffs of the Torrey Pines mesa are actually the highest, overlooking Black’s Beach – so the gallery below contains three bonus pictures. :-)

PS: check out Tracy’s photos here: Quick Hike Through Penasquitos Marsh (opens in a new tab).

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