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North County Neighborhood Guide: Torrey Highlands

View of San Diego Neighborhoods from Black Mountain

The upscale North County neighborhood of Torrey Highlands is located within the city limits of San Diego and is served by the prestigious Poway Unified School District. It is part of the North City Future Urbanizing Area, and development is controlled by the Torrey Highlands Subarea Plan. This plan designates 50% of the 1,134 acres for residential housing, 30% for parks and open space, 12% for school campuses, 5% for commercial areas and 3% for employment centers.

While the portions of Torrey Highlands that are designated as Planned Urbanized are limited to 2,600 housing units, there are 93 additional units in Fairbanks Highlands, which is an affluent, gated community consisting of 368 acres and designated as a Future Urbanizing Area.

The estimated median household income for Torrey Highlands in 2011 was $134,402, which is more than double the median household income across San Diego at the time ($60,797). According to the SANDAG Demographic & Socio Economic Estimates for Torrey Highlands, the estimated 2013 median household income was $162,176 and that approximately one-third of residents have a household income of more than $200,000.

Torrey Highlands is located on Highway 56 between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15, which offers residents easy access to North County, Orange County and downtown San Diego for commuting, arts and culture, shopping and enjoying all that the area’s beachside communities have to offer.


The Torrey Highlands Subarea Plan, which controls development in this North County community , was approved by the San Diego City Council and City of San Diego voters in 1996. Most of the housing units in this neighborhood were constructed after 2000.

Prior to the approval of the plan, the area was historically used for agricultural purposes, including ranches and nurseries.


The approved community plan for Torrey Highlands allows for 2,600 housing units, which includes single-family, detached homes, apartments, condominiums and low-income housing. Most of the homes in the neighborhood are newer construction, and prices range from condos listed under $500,000 to well over $2,000,000 for luxury homes in gated communities.

Examples of properties for sale at the time of this writing include:

A three bedroom, three bathroom, 1,823-square-foot condo listed at $556,000

A five bedroom, five bathroom, 3,098-square-foot home built in 2012 listed at $1,100,000

A four bedroom, three bathroom, 2,793-square-foot home built in 2012 listed at $948,000

A five bedroom, five+ bathroom, 5,664-square-foot home on 1.28 acres on the market for $2,490,000

A six bedroom, six+ bathroom home on 1.2 acres in a gated community listed at $2,780,000

Median rent in 2001 was $1,970, which is significantly higher than the 2011 median rent of $1,201 across the City of San Diego.


Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

The primary shopping hub in the neighborhood is the Torrey Highlands Village Center, which is a 90,000-square-foot shopping center that is home to Alberstons, The UPS Store, Wells Fargo Bank, Fast Frame, Golf Etc, Kitchen Complete, Submarina, Villa Capri I, Carvel Ice Cream, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Pick Up Stix, Hair Reaction, Torrey’s Nail Salon, Luna Grill, Rubio’s Mexican Grill, Starbucks, Earthwise Pet Supply and more.

The smaller Torrey Highland Plaza located at 13350 Camino Del Sur is home to Subway, Fresco Pizza and Grill, and the Prodigy Dance Company.

Traveling east on Highway 56 just a few minutes will take you to the Rancho Peñasquitos Town Center located at 13255 Black Mountain Road. This large shopping center has just about anything you would need for everyday essentials, including Vons, Chase Bank, Bank of America, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Time Warner Cable, Starbucks, Round Table Pizza, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Jack In The Box, Cotijas Mex Grill and Seafood, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Kahoots Pet Store and Black Mountain Road Pet Clinic. A post office, Shell gasoline station and CVS Pharmacy are also in this area.

Parks & Recreation

Torrey Del Mar Neighborhood Park is located in the neighborhood and offers visitors access to a playground, basketball court, grass field, picnic benches and a walking path.

In addition to this community gathering spot, Torrey Highlands is near the Black Mountain Open Space Park, which is a 2,352-acre park with miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians to enjoy. One of the most popular trails in this trail system is the Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail, which is a 2.5-mile loop offering a moderate hiking experience with fantastic views. This Black Mountain Open Space Park Trail Map is a great resource for planning a day of hiking or riding.

There is also the Black Mountain Multipurpose Center, which is a community facility that is shared with Black Mountain Middle School, and the Hilltop Recreation Center and Community Park, which offers a large, open space park and organized activities.

The nearest golf courses can be found at The Santaluz Club, The Farms Golf Club, Del Mar Country Club and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.

Other nearby parks and outdoor recreation areas include Adobe Bluffs Neighborhood Park, Del Mar Mesa Preserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, Del Mar beaches, Torrey Pine State Reserve, Ashley Falls Park and Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Cathedral Catholic High School


The well-respected Poway Unified School District serves public school students living in Torrey Highlands. Most public elementary school students attend either Deer Canyon Elementary, Adobe Bluffs Elementary or Willow Grove Elementary. For middles school, most attend either Black Mountain Middle School or Mesa Verde Middle School. Most public high school students attend Westview High School, which is located within the community.

Private schools serving this area include Cathedral Catholic High School, Maranatha Christian School, Cal Coast Academy, Halstrom High School, La Jolla Country Day School, Diegueno Country School, San Diego Jewish Academy, Horizon Prep, Good Shepherd Catholic School, Del Mar Pines School, Notre Dame Academy and The Nativity School.


Torrey Highlands is located south of Black Mountain Ranch, west of Rancho Peñasquitos, north of Del Mar Mesa, and east of Pacific Highlands Ranch and Fairbanks Ranch.

Additional Information

Torrey Highlands, like its adjacent communities, is an upscale neighborhood offering the coveted North County lifestyle within the City of San Diego. Potential home buyers considering this area can benefit from the central location that allows easy access to downtown San Diego, North County attractions, outdoor recreational opportunities, beaches, wineries, equestrian centers and more.

If you are interested in learning about nearby North County neighborhoods, check out these previous articles:


Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Wikimedia Commons/Ocatecir (CC-BY-SA-3.0-MIGRATED; Licensed under the GFDL by the author; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License); morgueFile, GreenThumbsUp; Wikimedia Commons/Anonymous Real estate and demographic data gathered from SANDAG Demographic & Socio Economic Estimates for Torrey Highlands,,, and

AJ Davis-Varela: AJ is a freelance writer and blogger at Articles by AJ specializing in travel, real estate, natural wellness and green living. She is a magazine columnist, a former San Diego newspaper columnist, has been published in a variety of print and online publications, and regularly contributes to several websites and blogs. You can connect with AJ on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+