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Pottery Canyon
Pottery Canyon

Pottery Canyon Park in La Jolla

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Tip of the Week: September 27, 2008


"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay,
with millions of thumb-prints on it." -John Updike

This sort of adventure you can explore enroute to something else. It doesn't require packing up a backpack, water for the day or sunscreen. It also doesn't require a tank of gas or a Thomas Bros. guide. It does require you to stop and take notice, listen to the silence, check out a piece of of history, appreciate a gem amidst the urban sprawl and then get on with whatever you've got going.
Pottery Canyon Trail
Pottery Canyon Trail

This "tip" is good for anyone with small children whom you'd like to introduce to trails and basic natural environments.

Just off La Jolla Parkway which runs into La Jolla, make a right turn on Torrey Pines Road. At the first major signal, make a quick and hard right turn on Pottery Canyon Driveway. Drive slowly onto the property. Follow the paved road until you arrive at the small dirt parking area. Look carefully along the way because you might find some four-legged friends you'd least expect to see in La Jolla. No, we can't give it away. We take the 5th.
In 2012, construction has been underway for new digs on the property.
You have entered a special place of 18.8 acres of public open space with towering eucalyptus trees. You'll see the private home of some "lucky duck" who shares access to the property. The canyon trail is very short at 1/5th-mile. That is not a 'typo'. The tiny trail is only 1/5th-mile. Maybe it isn't suitable for the Siera Club Master Hike Committee, but it is perfect for children or for pulling off the beaten path once in awhile and getting a quick injection of nature. It is long enough to step off from the world. It is short enough and close enough to city life to do it often.

Ah, but there's more. Isn't there always?

In 1928, two brothers from Jalisco, Mexico migrated to the U.S. to look for a place that they could use for pottery making. They found what San Diegans know so very well today, the San Diego soil is rich with clay. Good for pottery. Bad for modern day landscaping. The guys bought the property, built their homes and developed a thriving business known as the La Jolla Canyon Clay Products Company. Look at the rooftops of many of the old Spanish-style buildings in San Diego and you'd be safe to assume these guys produced some of the red clay tiles. For over 20 years, their hands created handmade roof and floor tiles, adobe and other clay products. They stayed in the canyon for the remainder of their lives.

Pottery Canyon received San Diego Historic Landmark designation back in 1976. To see some neat old photos, you'll need to follow us!

Make a pitstop at Pottery Canyon if you are heading to La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores, Birch Aquarium, the Gliderport, or anywhere along the Torrey Pines Road/ La Jolla Parkway area. It won't take much time and you'll see something you wouldn't have otherwise.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park
Torrey Pines Road and Pottery Canyon Driveway
Hours: 8am-6pm, daily.

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