This Short And Sweet Trail Is One Of California's Prettiest Coastal Walks

San Diego is for the outdoor or wilderness enthusiast. It is the perfect place to start the day with fresh air and sunlight on a morning stroll or cap the evening with a vigorous sweat sesh. Rugged sandstone cliffs, panoramic ocean views, and a vibrant plethora of native flora provide a picturesque backdrop for coastal walks paralleling the Pacific Ocean. With 139 hiking trails across San Diego, recorded on AllTrails, locals have the best of this beach city's pristine wilderness at their fingertips. 

While it may have garnered an impressive reputation for housing some of California's prettiest beaches off tourists' radar, this West Coast city has an equally impressive hiking scene. There's a trail to satisfy every wilderness junkie, whether it's San Diego's most popular beachside trails like Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or Annie's Canyon Trail. Or, perhaps, the winding networks that snake through the canyons of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Wedged atop the cliffs overlooking the beautiful community of La Jolla, the famous Black's Beach, and the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, is a hidden gem that offers peace and seclusion from the city's urban dwelling spaces. The Scripps Coastal Meander Trail may not be the place to train for your next half marathon, but it offers a short strip of paradise instead. Stretching just half a mile near the Scripps Coastal Reserve, it's the perfect place for a picnic and sunset viewing, a relaxed evening stroll, or a fun photo shoot with an enviable backdrop.

Get lost in the scenic beauty of the Scripps Coastal Meander

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography inaugurated the Scripps Coastal Meander Trail. While it may not be hailed like San Diego's most iconic loop trails, it is more of a local's spot than a well-known tourist footway. Situated in the captivating community of La Jolla, hikers can find the starting point of the Scripps Coastal Meander on Biological Grade Street, located on the Scripps Institute for Oceanography's campus.

The Scripps Coastal Meander Trail features a boardwalk, manicured pathways, and a coastal terrace with a bench overlooking the vista. This small yet captivating stretch was integrated as part of the larger California Coastal Trail. Spanning over 1,230 miles from Oregon to Mexico, the California Coastal Trail was a project designed to foster a sense of connectedness and accessibility between humans and the sacred landscape that characterizes the coastline. With 70% of the trail completed, an interactive mapping system allows hikers to see the most up-to-date record of trail sections.

Perched on the upper portion of this bluff is the knoll, supporting the trail that skirts the sandy mesa atop these coastal cliffs. The western tip of the knoll offers views of powerful waves crashing onto Black's Beach, the Scripps Pier, and the charming village of downtown La Jolla. Informational graphics and signage provide visitors with insight into the history and heritage of the Scripps Coastal Reserve and the native wildlife that call this habitat home. 

Explore the picturesque beach town of La Jolla

This sweet and simple nature trail leaves hikers plenty of time to explore the surrounding area of La Jolla. Located less than five minutes from La Jolla Shores Beach, the Birch Aquarium, and downtown La Jolla, make it a day trip and explore all this laid-back beach town has to offer. Downtown La Jolla is a treasure chest of local gems, from upscale art galleries and boutique shops to artisan coffee roasters and cozy cafés. 

Stroll along the coastal boardwalk perched above the idyllic La Jolla Cove and gaze out at the seals regularly seen soaking up the sunlight. Less than half a mile away, explore the Cave Store (La Jolla's historic sea cave) or peruse the shelves of Warwick's, the country's oldest operating family-owned bookstore. For a pre- or post-hike caffeine boost, stop by Java Earth Coffee to sample one of their specialty brews. Should you need a lunchtime recommendation, Puesto is known for its heavenly tacos, which have even been recognized with a Michelin Plate Honor.