Guy Fleming Trail is a .8-mile loop trail in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla, California, that offers spectacular coastal views. This is one of the premier hikes in San Diego.
|Elevation Gain/Loss||50 feet/-50 feet|
|Trailhead Coordinates||32.922919, -117.255439|
|Location||Torrey Pines State Reserve|
|Best Season||Year-round, fall recommended|
Getting to Guy Fleming Trail
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is split into two sections. Guy Fleming Trail is located within the southern portion of the reserve, south of Los Penasquitos Lagoon and Marsh. The reserve’s south entrance is located on California Highway 101 just south of the roadside beach parking for Torrey Pines State Beach (across from the trailhead for the Marsh Trail; see map below).
The parking lot at the south entrance fills quickly during the summer tourist season, at which point you will be diverted to the larger north parking lot, off Carmel Valley Road (from where you can walk south along the beach to the south part of the reserve).
There are three options for parking. You can park in the lot near the entrance kiosk and then hike up the park road to the trailhead for Guy Fleming Trail. Or you can drive up this road and park near the trailhead in a small gravel parking area, just after a sharp right bend in the steep road.
The third option is to drive further up the hill to park near the visitor’s center and then walk back down the road to the trailhead. The trailhead is marked by a sign a few yards up the road from the parking area.
Guy Fleming Trail is a quick and easy hike that offers amazing views within Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve, a 2,000-acre reserve along a stunning stretch of San Diego’s coastline. The reserve offers a network of eight miles of hiking trails along the Pacific coast that wind through sage and cactus scrubland.
The mellow, sandy trail starts in a grove of Torrey Pines, The rare trees for which the reserve is named.
Pinus torreyana, also known as the Torrey pine, is a species of pine tree that is found only in coastal San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island, off the California coastline near Santa Barbara.
The tree is named after botanist John Torrey, who was the first to collect and describe the species. The tree has a distinctive pyramid-shaped crown and dark green needles. The tree is critically endangered due to habitat loss and damage from recreation and development.
After a short distance, the trail splits to go either clockwise or counterclockwise around the loop–your pick. This upper portion of the loop is shaded by the tall Torrey Pines and passes in places by rugged hills eroded by the coastal wind and rain.
Hiking Guy Fleming Trail you will see a number of habitats and rare plants. There are often wildflowers in the spring, maritime succulent scrub, coastal sage scrub, chaparral and the beaches below.
Plants include yucca, sand varbena, black sage, toyon, California poppy, and prickly pear cactus.
The portions of the trail closer to the ocean have fewer Torrey Pines and offer jaw-dropping views of the coast. Two short spur trails off the loop lead to overlooks.
Looking to the south from the overlooks on Guy Fleming Trail, you can see to the rugged coastline of La Jolla.
To the north, you can see Torrey Pines State Beach and the mouth of Los Penasquitos Lagoon. The cacti in this area are part of the maritime succulent scrub.
Guy Fleming Trail is one of a number of terrific hikes in the reserve. Check out our full guide to the reserve to learn about all of the trails in the area.