Eight hikers were stranded on the bluffs at Torrey Pines State Beach Friday night after the high tide rolled in, covering the path the group planned to use to exit the recreation area.
The hikers were exploring the northern end of the cliffs along the 12000 block of North Torrey Pines Road around 8:40 p.m.
Suddenly, they noticed they couldn't use the stairs to get back down because ocean waves had covered the area, Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said.
One of the hikers called 911 to request emergency assistance.
"There was a group of eight people hiking and walking on the beach, and the tide came in and cut off their path of exit from the beach," explained SDFD Battalion Chief Lane Woolery.
The hikers were stranded for a little over three hours.
Woolery said lifeguards swam out to the group, helped calm them down and told them to move to a safer location on a large rock.
The hikers remained on the rock while SDFD crews and lifeguards assessed the situation and figured out a way to safely get them out of there.
San Diego lifeguards planned to wait for the tide to recede enough to help the hikers walk out of the area. Lifeguards also had jet skis on hand, in case they needed to reach the hikers via watercraft.
"We just waited out the tide," Woolery explained.
Just after 11:45 p.m., the tide had receded enough for the hikers to walk up the trail alongside lifeguards and other officials.
They were all unharmed; outfitted with backpacks, most of them had smiles of relief on their faces.
Woolery said this case serves as a reminder for all hikers to be aware of the tide times when enjoying beachside trails.
"Any time you're going to be on the beach, you need to be aware of the surf, the waves, rip currents -- things like that. If possible, talk to a lifeguard before you go to the beach to try to get some information; they have plenty of safety information to give you," Woolery added.