For a unique look at La Jolla -- bottom to top -- climaxed by the conventionally famous yet still fabulous view of the city from Soledad Park, try this unconventional six-mile (round trip) walking or bicycling route. Cyclists beware: there are some tough uphill stretches here, suitable only for bikes with very low gears.
Easter cross on Mt. Soledad
Seek out a parking space somewhere near the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street, and start from there. Go to Exchange Place and begin walking or riding southeast (uphill). Soon Exchange Place splits into Country Club Drive on the right and Soledad Avenue on the left. Take the latter. After one block on Soledad, go right on Al Bahr Drive. On it you follow a curious curlicue under and then over a gracefully curved, arched bridge. At the top of the curlicue, turn right on Crespo Street.
After a hairpin turn on Crespo, look for the intersection of Mecca Drive on the right. A worthwhile side trip up this dead-end narrow lane takes you higher to a startling dropoff offering airy and unobstructed views of La Jolla Bay and the North County coastline. Here you can enjoy the same stupendous views afforded by some of La Jolla's finest homes.
Ahead on Crespo Street, look for the inconspicuous intersection of Castellana Road, where you veer right. Just ahead, you can visit a hidden overlook at the point where Puente Road, a stubby cul-de-sac, passes over Castellana Road on an arched bridge similar to the one seen earlier. From there, tall trees frame a view of tile rooftops and La Jolla Bay.
Next, back up a little and follow Castellana as it goes under the bridge and descends to meet Hillside Drive. Turn right on Hillside and follow its steep and winding course upward along the north slope of Soledad Mountain. When you reach Rue Adriane, which leads to Via Capri, simply keep straight on the old (closed to traffic) roadbed of Hillside Drive. In time you reach Via Capri, and from there you have only another five minutes of walking to reach Soledad Park. The park has a water fountain that usually works.
After taking in the view from the summit, where the perennially controversial memorial cross stands, head back downhill, returning the way you came.