Torrey Pines Gliderport


To be honest, I rarely get visitors from out of town. Which blows my mind considering how warm and beautiful San Diego is and how not San Diego-y the hometowns of my friends and family are. Come on people! I live beachfront now!

I digress.

Unfortunately, when I am lucky enough to have visitors in town, I go completely blank on the tour guide front. Embarrassing right, since I blog about San Diego and all? Gahhh. 

During Mare's visit back in March I was determined not to have this happen again. And the easiest way to avoid it was to pretend that I was visiting San Diego for the first time too. It was time to play tourist in my own city. So what were some cool, unique sites that I hadn't been to before?

That's when I remembered hearing about the gliderport in La Jolla, a beautiful, scenic cliff in San Diego where hang gliders and para gliders launched from. It also happens to be a  registered historical landmark: Charles Lindbergh supposedly set early records flying from here.

I decided to take Mare there after brunch and a short driving tour of La Jolla. We pulled up to the giant, dusty dirt parking lot, not sure what to expect, and headed over to the only building situated on the cliff. 

This building happens to house the office for the gliderport as well as the Cliffhanger Cafe, which serves deli sandwiches, soups and salads from 11am to 4pm daily. We were too stuffed from brunch to try the food, but I will definitely back whenever I'm in the mood for lunch with a view.

Past the cafe and patio area there are sections of the cliff for setting up your gear, takeoffs and landings. We stood and watched the gliders, mesmerized by the colors and the serene way they floated away and back. There were plenty of other spectators taking in the scene as well as an entire kid's birthday party taking place on the patio.

Next to the launch zone, people were climbing around the rocks and trails. There were professional photographers and tourists alike, all there to capture the gorgeous views of San Diego. It is a truly beautiful spot to take people if they want to get some great shots on their visit.

There is also a path with stairs that leads down to Black's Beach below. FYI - if you're not from San Diego then you probably don't realize there's likely going to be a bunch of nude dudes down there. You've been warned. But it's a major surf spot as well, and endurance runners often repeat this path to train for races with elevations in them. The hike back up to the top from the beach takes about 15 minutes.

Of course, if you're a bit more adventurous and looking to get in on the action, tandem glides start at $175 for paragliding and $225 for hang gliding. The gliderport doesn't take reservations, so just call beforehand to make sure the wind is good and then head on over! Their tandem rides are offered seven days a week from 9am-5pm and are as safe as can be: they haven't had an injury in over 20 years.

Torrey Pines Gliderport
Phone: (858) 452-9858
2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037