Access to Black's Beach

This page last updated May 8, 2009 by Lloyd Johnson

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There are no easy ways to Black's. There is either a steep climb, a long hike or entry by water route. There are several steep climb options, and there are two long hike options. Access by water is done only rarely and very few do it.  I usually enter by way of the gliderport.

The long hike means either entry at La Jolla Shores and hike north or entry at Torrey Pines and hike south. Each of these entries will be challenging at high tide.

Maybe you just want GPS coordinates.    N 32.887734    W 117.243721
                                                                N3253.403'    W11714.994'    302 ft
The gliderport address                              2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, 92037

Our Mailing Address                                Black's Beach Bares
                                                                PO Box 12255
                                                                La Jolla, CA 92039

Torrey Pines State Beach Gliderport Salk Canyon Road La Jolla Shores
Pay Parking Dirt or Street Parking Street Parking, Restricted Weekdays High Demand Parking
Long Flat Hike Steep Trail Steep Road Long Flat Hike
Impassable at High Tide Slippery When Wet   Impassable at High Tide


Access Through Torrey Pines State Park:

Exit interstate 5 at Carmel Valley Road and head west.  Turn left at Camino Del Mar.  Enter through the gate and park where you can.  Walk to the beach and turn south, which is left.  Black's Beach is about 2 miles south.  On the seaside of that gap is a flat rock, usually in the surf.

At some point you will pass through a gap, called Flatrock.
A View Looking back at Flatrock.
When you see this sign, you will know you're almost there.
There are rocks with crabs hiding inside.

Then you enter a disputed area, called Mussel Mesa.  If you don't cover the usual body parts in this area, you risk a citation.

The disputed area is another 100 yards to this steel buoy.

South of the buoy, you may finally undress.

The nude section continues south for a little more than a mile.

Access Through Gliderport:

Exit I-5 at Genesee and head west. Turn left on North Torrey Pines Road. The next turn is close, the second signal. Turn right on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive.  You might also notice the sign for Salk Institute.
After you've made the turn, you will see a sign for Torrey Pines Gliderport.

I found a You Tube clip that shows the route.

Follow that road to the end. At the end is a cul de sac and straight ahead is a driveway to a dirt road with a gate. I think the gate is only locked at night. Pass through the gate and bear left. 

Park near the glider port, or wherever you feel comfortable.

Mud puddles linger for a few days after a storm.
There is a path to the south of parking, set apart by railroad ties. Follow that path, bearing left.
To your right is a small mosaic.

Straight ahead you will see a few signs.

One describing beach access

another warning against night use

and a third listing more regulations.

To the left of those, the rugged trail to the beach begins.  Black's Beach Diggers build and maintain parts of the trail, as they see fit. Most people wear hiking shoes on the steep winding path.
They lead to a narrow ravine that begins with a railroad tie and a few steps attached.
There is one big rock in the trail that makes a step, followed by a few anchored steps.
That is followed by another staircase.
The steps at the bottom are crumbling into dust.

That's because vandals take them as firewood as fast as they are replaced.

During winter months the sand is often covered in mud from recent erosion.
Nudity is legal only a hundred yards or so to the left and about a mile to the right. Lifeguards used to mark the southern boundary with a sign they set up daily.  Then the city marked it with a yellow post for a time, but the only marker now is the northern-most "nudity prohibited" sign. Recently I've noticed they put out a few orange cones daily.  If you go south of the first sign that says "nudity prohibited," you've crossed their line.
To your left is the southern boundary.  You can recognize it by this large rock, about the size of a very small car. 
 The boundary is twenty yards or so south of the rock.
It's also marked by a few orange cones.
It says, "BOUNDARY", but it doesn't say what boundary.  We know what boundary it is.
Walking south, you will see the cones marked with an ambiguous label.  This means you should dress before going further.
Walking north, you will see the label that says you have arrived, and you may now undress 

Access Through Salk Canyon Road

Exit interstate 5 at La Jolla Village Drive and turn west.  Follow that street as it curves right and becomes North Torrey Pines Road.  Turn left at La Jolla Shores Drive then right onto La Jolla Farms Road.  Where La Jolla Farms Road meets Black Gold Road is the access road to Black's Beach.  Vehicle access is controlled by UC San Diego, but pedestrian access is unrestricted.

Parking is restricted on weekdays.  It's a two hour zone.  Park where ever you can find a space and walk back to the gate.  Salk Canyon Road is a one lane asphalt road that winds its way to the beach.  There is one place where you can take a steep shortcut.  

There are some off-road shortcuts.

You will eventually reach a place with an outhouse and enough space to park a few cars.  Continue down to the beach.

If you look to your left, you will see the mushroom house.  To your right is the remainder of the road to the beach.  At the end of that road you will be on Torrey Pines City Beach, which used to be called Black's Beach.  

Continue following the directions under, "Access Through La Jolla Shores."
Nudity is prohibited there by local ordinance.  You want to reach the southern edge of Torrey Pines State Beach.  That is about half a mile to the north.  You will know you are still on the city beach because you will occasionally see signs against the cliff stating that nudity is prohibited.


Access Through La Jolla Shores:

Exit interstate 5 at La Jolla Parkway, which is at the highway 52 merge.  Head west on La Jolla Parkway and turn right on La Jolla Shores Drive.  Turn left on Vallecitos, Calle Frescota or Calle de Oro.  Any one of those will take you to La Jolla Shores.  Park where you can and walk to the beach.  Once on the beach, turn north, which is to the right.  It's about a three mile walk to clothing optional territory.

Once you pass this beach house, you have about a half mile to go.
When you see this line of cones, you have arrived.
Even the label on the cone says, you're there.
The post doesn't tell you much.
Check for this rock, just a little further north, and everything checks out.

The nude section stretches a little over a mile beyond.