Best of 2000: Best Beach Hike

Between Scripps Pier and Torrey Pines State Preserve

Beaches are for hiking as well as swimming and sunbathing, and for that purpose none is better in our county than the four-plus-mile stretch between Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Torrey Pines State Reserve. For most of this length, sharp cliffs rise behind the beach and hide the outside urban world's sight and sound. Sunny fall and winter days are perfect for this hike, particularly around the time of new and full moon, when the afternoon tide sinks to nearly its lowest possible level, exposing both tidepools and broad, gently shelving expanses of wet sand. Nude bathing is a long-accepted, though not legal, custom along the midsection (Black's Beach) of the hike; not as much nudity occurs during the fall/winter off-season. The northernmost mile of the hike has perhaps the most impressive scenery. There the breakers run up over the sand and rocks toward the base of the Torrey Pines cliffs, the tallest bluffs in western San Diego County.

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