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Circumnavigate Del Mar on foot via beach and pine-dotted canyons.

Combining beach, lagoon, crest, and canyon, this looping hike touches upon every natural landscape the community of greater Del Mar (the west-of-Interstate-5 part, anyway) has to offer. On a typical early-summer day, with a tepid temperature and a good breeze, the journey of six miles is a one-water-bottle effort. Hike or run as you see fit, and be aware that early Sunday morning is great if you like solitude.

Start off at Durango Drive and Del Mar Heights Road, four blocks west of Interstate 5, where plenty of curbside parking is available on Durango or any other nearby quiet street. Head 0.3 mile north on Durango to where it curves right and becomes Lozana Road. Take the steep, eroded path on the left descending into Crest Canyon Open Space Park. In barely a hundred yards, at the shallow bottom of Crest Canyon, pick up a wide path heading north and gradually downhill. Note the elaborate drainage systems along the sandy canyon bottom, which have solved erosion problems of the past. A number of large Torrey pines grace the slopes of Crest Canyon; long needles in bundles of five give their identity away. You'll see plenty more of these pines near the end of the hike.

At the 1.0-mile mark of the hike, you reach Racetrack View Drive, across from the southern arm of San Dieguito Lagoon, a tidal basin currently undergoing an elaborate restoration. Make a left, and soon you'll be on San Dieguito Drive, a sparsely traveled roadway edging along the scenic lagoon. Be cautious -- the road is narrow and you must share space with cars.

When you reach Jimmy Durante Boulevard (1.75 miles into the hike), turn left, follow it and then Camino Del Mar ahead to 15th Street in Del Mar's business district. Hang a right and descend to the adjacent Seagrove and Powerhouse parks (2.7 miles), where you cross the railroad tracks and get access to the beach. Now go south along the coastline. All but high tides are fine (and low tides are perfect) for the 1.8-mile straight stretch of sand-walking ahead.

At 4.5 miles into the hike, turn inland under the Camino del Mar bridge and find yourself in a large parking lot for Torrey Pines State Beach (restrooms and water are here). Walk out to the parking lot entrance on Carmel Valley Road, cross over to the other side, and keep going on Del Mar Scenic Parkway. In a short while, this residential street ends at the boundary of the Torrey Pines State Reserve Extension. Like the main Torrey Pines reserve just south, this serene, sage-scented patch of landscape harbors scattered but robust specimens of the rare Torrey pine, which can be seen either on the main trail ahead -- the Mar Scenic Trail -- or along side trails both left and right. If you stick to the Mar Scenic Trail, you reach the south end of Mar Scenic Drive at 5.6 miles, and Del Mar Heights Road at 5.9 miles. Your starting point on Durango Drive is just one block east.

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Combining beach, lagoon, crest, and canyon, this looping hike touches upon every natural landscape the community of greater Del Mar (the west-of-Interstate-5 part, anyway) has to offer. On a typical early-summer day, with a tepid temperature and a good breeze, the journey of six miles is a one-water-bottle effort. Hike or run as you see fit, and be aware that early Sunday morning is great if you like solitude.

Start off at Durango Drive and Del Mar Heights Road, four blocks west of Interstate 5, where plenty of curbside parking is available on Durango or any other nearby quiet street. Head 0.3 mile north on Durango to where it curves right and becomes Lozana Road. Take the steep, eroded path on the left descending into Crest Canyon Open Space Park. In barely a hundred yards, at the shallow bottom of Crest Canyon, pick up a wide path heading north and gradually downhill. Note the elaborate drainage systems along the sandy canyon bottom, which have solved erosion problems of the past. A number of large Torrey pines grace the slopes of Crest Canyon; long needles in bundles of five give their identity away. You'll see plenty more of these pines near the end of the hike.

At the 1.0-mile mark of the hike, you reach Racetrack View Drive, across from the southern arm of San Dieguito Lagoon, a tidal basin currently undergoing an elaborate restoration. Make a left, and soon you'll be on San Dieguito Drive, a sparsely traveled roadway edging along the scenic lagoon. Be cautious -- the road is narrow and you must share space with cars.

When you reach Jimmy Durante Boulevard (1.75 miles into the hike), turn left, follow it and then Camino Del Mar ahead to 15th Street in Del Mar's business district. Hang a right and descend to the adjacent Seagrove and Powerhouse parks (2.7 miles), where you cross the railroad tracks and get access to the beach. Now go south along the coastline. All but high tides are fine (and low tides are perfect) for the 1.8-mile straight stretch of sand-walking ahead.

At 4.5 miles into the hike, turn inland under the Camino del Mar bridge and find yourself in a large parking lot for Torrey Pines State Beach (restrooms and water are here). Walk out to the parking lot entrance on Carmel Valley Road, cross over to the other side, and keep going on Del Mar Scenic Parkway. In a short while, this residential street ends at the boundary of the Torrey Pines State Reserve Extension. Like the main Torrey Pines reserve just south, this serene, sage-scented patch of landscape harbors scattered but robust specimens of the rare Torrey pine, which can be seen either on the main trail ahead -- the Mar Scenic Trail -- or along side trails both left and right. If you stick to the Mar Scenic Trail, you reach the south end of Mar Scenic Drive at 5.6 miles, and Del Mar Heights Road at 5.9 miles. Your starting point on Durango Drive is just one block east.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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