Wouldn’t you like to explore a secluded beach that lies beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pines? Blacks Bleach is two miles long and is situated at the base of majestic cliffs up to 300 feet high. It is formally known as Torrey Pines Beach. Many people believe Black’s Beach got its name due to the prominent amount of black sand that covers the beach. However, this is not the case. Black’s Beach actually got its name from a man named William Black, Sr., an oil millionaire, who owned and developed most of the land on the cliffs above Black’s Beach.
There is an old stairway built into the cliffs that take you to the beach. Despite the fact signs encourage you to stay away because of the eroding sandstone, it’s not too difficult to use for those in decent shape and it’s much better than following some surfers who have their own, more direct path down the side of the cliffs.
A more direct but difficult route is the dirt trail beginning at the Torrey Pines Flight Park (the Glider port) at the end of Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, a mile north of the Farms off Torrey Pines Road. There’s a spacious public parking lot by the Flight Center where you can watch hang gliders, para gliders and glider planes soar on the thermal updrafts created by the cliffs, or leave your car for the long trek to the beach. Once safely arrived on the beach at Blacks, one is still confronted with hazards. Just look around and you’ll see boulders the size of cars that have fallen from the cliffs above. Lay your beach towel at the foot of ravines, well clear of sheer cliff walls. To enjoy this quiet beach, you have to be willing to descend 300 feet down the side of the Torrey Pines Cliffs to access the beach… which means you have to climb those 300 feet back up to your car after an afternoon of soaking up the sun, running sand through your toes, and listening to the ocean waves crash on the beach.
Nudism is unlawful in San Diego, but it has persisted at Blacks for decades, the only real deterrent being cold weather. The nudists (or ‘nakes’ as surfers call them) tend to hang out north of the Gliderport Trail, while surfers head south to the main peaks. For the most part, surfers and nakes are the only people motivated enough to make the mission to Blacks, so if these aren’t your motives, think about giving Blacks a miss and heading to La Jolla Shores instead.
A gated private road, jointly-owned and maintained by the residents and the university, leads to the beach off of La Jolla Farms Road. Stately eight-figure mansions and state-of-the-art medical research labs now line the bluffs where stables and pastures once lay. Unless you can procure a much-coveted key to the gate, you will have to park above and walk down the road.
If you’re up for an adventure, then discovering Black’s Beach will be most entertaining. The Shoal Beach Hotel La Jolla isn’t far from this hidden beach, so you can have the freedom to go explore the nearby hidden treasures.
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