Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is the home of one of the rarest pines in the world. The reserve is located on the coast with terrain that provides a number of different vistas.

The Torrey pine growing in the area of the reserve, which is located in San Diego, is one of two species. The other variety grows on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. The Torrey pines are able to survive conditions of persistent drought, growing in poor soil with wind blasts from storms followed by intense sun. But this gives the Torrey pines character and they have the claim to fame of being the rarest pine in the U.S.

The terrain of the reserve was shaped by sand and clay of fifty million years ago which became sandstone and has been raised far above above sea level by tectonic forces. As the sea rose and fell over the past million years, erosion and depositing of other sediments have caused what we see today.

This is a two picture panorama of the eroded sandstone which is known as the Bay Point Formation.


Another view of these scenic badlands.

A view of the coastline to the North. There are a few people walking along the beach though you might have to look at the full size picture to see them.

A closer view of the flowers seen in the lower right of the previous picture.

Other flowers growing among shrubs.

The small caves in the rock are called “wind caves” though water had more to do with their formation than wind. Uneven erosion of the sandstone leads to shallow holes which eventually become deeper. The roundish structures were caused by deposition of calcite and iron oxide cements. The deposits grow on earlier deposits so the concretions often start at a point and grow in nearly spherical layers.

These pictures and two more of Torrey pine trees can be seen in the Torrey Pines picture gallery.

For more info see the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve website.

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