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Scripps Coastal Reserve

Scripps Coastal Reserve  

Scripps Coastal Reserve occupies nearly one thousand acres in La Jolla, California, ranging across a complex landscape including mesa top, coastal canyon and bluff, sandy beach, rocky intertidal, submerged coastal plain and deep submarine canyon.  

Hundreds of thousands of people visit annually, so environmental awareness is essential for protecting the rare and sensitive habitats and species. There are two distinct parts to the reserve: the shoreline and marine protected area, and the upland area, commonly referred to as the “Knoll” or “Cliffs.” 

The Knoll

The upland area, commonly referred to as the “Knoll” or “Cliffs,” includes a mesa 400 feet above the beach, and Black’s Canyon, with a paved, gated road with pedestrian access to Black’s Beach, and Sumner Canyon, which is privately owned.   

The Shoreline

Comprising coastal ocean and intertidal areas that are now included in the San Diego-Scripps State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA.)

Visit the reserve

The Scripps Coastal Reserve is an undeveloped natural area, with the scenic beauty, but also the dangers that are inherent in such a landscape. At the “Knoll” there are uneven paths, steep cliffs, spiny plants, and poisonous insects and snakes. Along the shoreline there are unstable bluffs, unpredictable waves, slippery rocks, stingrays, and rip currents. Please consider these and other potential dangers when visiting, always watch where you are going, and keep children close or under supervision.

All educational and research users and groups should apply to use the reserve as far in advance as possible and should have waivers signed for each individual before the visit. California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife collecting permits are required for collection, experimentation, and hands-on observation.

The reserve is very photogenic!  We welcome submissions to our page by all. However, for close up photos of individuals, we will need a Photo Consent Form (PDF). Please post your images/video on our Facebook, or contact for other modes.






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