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La Jolla Shores, Scripps Pier and Two Swings

A walk from La Jolla Shores Beach to Scripps Pier, across a pedestrian bridge to two hidden tree swings.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 1.6 miles
Duration: Unknown
Family Friendly

Overview :  La Jolla is the jewel of San Diego County. There are pristine beaches, tourist-friendly seals, world-class restaurants and theatre... more »

Tips:  This walk goes from sand and surf, over cement, blacktop and wooded glade so footwear needs to be easily removable or waterproof. ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Kayak Launch Site

I'm starting you here because the waves are smaller, the parking is on-street and there's a restaurant with a very nice ocean view. This is also the starting-off point for thousands of kayakers who will be paddling from here to La Jolla Cove and back. To hire a kayak, all you do is walk 300 paces east and inquire at any of a dozen companies who ... More

This restaurant is one of very few that are right on the beach in La Jolla. One other is the Marine Room and a third is on this tour. Two are owned by the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and all are public. This one is less pretentious and casual attire is just fine.

3. Map of La Jolla Marine Sanctuary

This is an excellent place to begin (even though it's stop number three on this tour) because it gives you the layout of the La Jolla Marine Sanctuary -- the topside of which we will be walking. There is some interesting reading, an interactive map (interactive in that you can run and play on it), and some interesting pictures of sea life -- all ... More

4. Mom and Baby Beach

Although not the official name, local moms tend to bring their babies here, due to the proximity to bathrooms, a playground and plentiful parking. Also the waves are small and the lifeguards are near. At La Jolla Shores, the waves get bigger the farther north you go. Smallest waves belong to the rarified air of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis club.

5. Green Wall

Some of the best surfing at La Jolla Shores beach happens at green wall. You will notice that the wall is not green. It was green until the early nineties but locals still meet at Green Wall. A lot of surf schools post up at Green Wall and the video is what you can expect if you get a snarky surf instructor with a waterproof camera.

6. Caroline's Restaurant Best View in La Jolla

Caroline is not mentioned in the signage but maybe on the menu. Her restaurant is on the property of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and near a protected marine sanctuary. The people who run the restaurant also run the restaurant at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla,

The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch; it has... More

7. Scripps Pier

This is really the best surfing in La Jolla Shores. (Green Wall is better for lessons and beginners). This pier also has a camera that broadcasts video to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and wave-hungry surfers.

I put a link to it below. See if you can draw on the sand and have your message picked up by the camera.

8. Scripps Coastal Marine Reserve

Just so you know, Scripps is a big name in this town and the family name is attached to the Kellogg name as well. They own property, banks and businesses and have endowed many of the buildings at the University of California.

The reserve actually goes from La Jolla Cove to Black's Beach. And it's all underwater. Literally, I mean, not... More

9. Naga and Discovery

Watch the video below to see how to get from the pier to two secret tree swings. (Note: a few steep steps and a lot of stairs).

10. Naga and Biological Grade

This is where the going gets steep, the stairs multiply like biological creatures and you see if you can make the grade.

11. Stairway to... wait! There's an elevator.

There is a whole plaza of wooden and cement stairs and wood decks supporting several elevators. Either way, it's a journey up, up, up. On each level remember to look back towards the ocean to admire the view.

A note on the architecture. These buildings were built in the late 60s and early 70s before the University of California's iconic library... More

12. Pedestrian Bridge

This bridge gets you from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the Birch Aquarium. You'll find a secret tree swing or two on the bluff overlooking the aquarium, the pier and the Pacific Ocean.

13. Downwind and Discovery

On the map it looks like this stretch trundles downward. Even the name of the road entices you to roll Downwind but make no mistake; this is a long, hot steep climb.

14. Downwind and Expedition

If you thought the last hill was bad... This one is steeper and hotter. This is why you should take a left at Expedition and keep them in your sights. (Note to those with kids: if you make a right you're at the Birch Aquarium, which is packed with snacks and bathrooms.) At just about the top of the hill, you will see, across the street, a trail... More

15. Eucalyptus Grove and Tree Swings

Once you cross the street (watch for cars) it's relatively easy to find the swings--both of them face the ocean.

Short cut:
If you look at the photo below of a driveway going nowhere, that's a clue to a quick though very steep short cut to the swings. If you find this cut curb, look across the street and you'll see a trail that leads right up ... More