Tag Archives: Los Penaquitos Lagoon

Flecks of Gold at Torrey Pines State Reserve

IMG_8973I spent another weekend in San Diego and this time I decided to check out Torrey Pines State Reserve. Rumor has it that there is a short hike to a small cove which I was unable to find. I parked my car on S21 and Carmel Valley, got my ticket stub, and headed down the path to the beach. The path was very easy and short, though steep as I came to the railroad crossing. Just a little bit further and I arrived at the beach with dark black sand along the rocks.

I walked straight to the ocean, took off my shoes and allowed my toes to feel the cool refreshing water. I stood there looking both ways, surfers scattered along the break. The waves were super mushy, but looked super fun and I debated asking a nearby surfer to borrow his board and paddle out into the water fully clothed but decided against it. Next time I will have to bring my surfboard.

I headed south along the water’s edge and started to encounter many tiny gold flecks in the sand. I wasn’t sure what they were and stopped for a moment to investigate. After further analysis I learned that they were tiny mica flecks which are rarely found in beach sand. It was so beautiful I tried to capture the flecks with my camera, but the picture just doesn’t do them justice.


I continued along my journey and came across a saltmarsh called the Los Penaquitos Lagoon. The lagoon is constantly changing due to the rise and fall of the tides and life inside the lagoon depends on that. Often, the channel leading to the ocean fills, harming the ecosystem within the marsh and has to be reopened. Today the channel was running freely. There was a lady fishing and a pelican swimming all within 50 feet from each other. It’s beautiful when people and wildlife can coexist so peacefully like that.

I walked up and over the bridge, coming down along the rocks on the other side. I walked a little farther until it became uncomfortable to walk any further barefoot. The beach had become filled with small flat rocks, perfect for skipping. At that point I decided to head back to my car, wishing I had a little bit more time to continue to explore.

After getting home and doing a little more research I learned that there are multiple hikes in that little area. I know that I will soon return to surf, hike, and possibly find Black’s Beach.