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Updated July 18th 2015
Available Reviews
Topanga Canyon
Cold Creek Preserve
Sara Wan Trailhead
Date of Review
7/8, 6/10, 6/9, 5/12, 5/5.

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This time of the year the true flower connoisseur must use all their craft to find the treasure. It is out there every month of the year.
 ‑ ed.

Topanga Canyon State Park
Santa Ynez Trail
         Trailhead: The very end of Vereda de la Montura which turns off of Palisades Drive.
         I went back to see if the monardella were in bloom. They are! Not the most spectacular year they've ever had, but it is a nice display. However not much else is in bloom. California buckwheat and heart leaf penstemon are the only flowers in any quantity. A few Humboldt lilies remain in the riparian area and there are some toyon and elderberries in bloom. Climbing into the chaparral, there are still a few scarlet larkspur, some twiggy wreath plant, chamise and sugar bush but the amazing flower displays from last month are now over.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Topanga Canyon State Park
Santa Ynez Trail
         Trailhead at the very end of Vereda de le Montura Street off of Palisades Drive in Pacific Palisades. You can also access this trail from Trippet Ranch.
        When all the flowers start withering away it is time to investigate the cool, dark, shady canyons. This is one that is home to several varieties of flowers that I don't know in any other places. Like in any moist, shady canyon there is a LOT of poison oak. Long pants and long sleeves are recommended.
        The humboldt lilies are out in the riparian area and they are hard to beat, so beautiful that they seem to illuminate the area around them. The cream bush, one of the "specials" of this canyon, is just coming into bloom. Additionally there is a lot of California buckwheat, California chicory, large flower phacelia, honeysuckle, Indian pinks and black sage. I actually debated with myself whether or not to head up into the chaparral, figuring everything up there would be done. I would have missed so much if I had not gone! There is a lot of scarlet larkspur and a number of gorgeous plummers mariposas, also white snapdragon, fleabane aster, white pincushion, Santa Monica dudleya, slender tarweed and the beautiful, tiny sapphire wool stars. When I returned I took the spur to the "waterfall" to see if there were any additional flowers there. The only ones I encountered were farewell-to-spring and another "special" coast boykinia growing on a wall above a puddle of what is left of the creek.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Topanga Canyon State Park
Los Liones Trail
         Find this trailhead at the very end of Los Liones St. which is the second left off of Sunset Blvd. when you turn inland from PCH.
         I went to this trail because a friend told me that she had recently seen Plummers mariposas here. No mariposas now. Not too much of anything. There were some nice large flower phacelias as well as white pin cushion and twiggy wreath plant which surprised me because I think of it as a flower of the late summer/autumn. But apart from those flowers it was a toyon blossom here and a sticky monkey flower there.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Cold Creek Preserve
Stunt High Trail
I thought this would be a good hike due to the riparian area at the start of the trail. To my surprise that was not the area with a lot of flowers. It was nice there. It is always wonderful to walk alongside flowing water and there delicate milkwort and stream orchids in bloom. But entering the chaparral portion was where I was rewarded with flowers. The trail is lined with bright yellow flowers. This seems to be a banner year for slender tarweed. There was also golden yarrow, sticky gum plant and golden star lilies mixed with the tarweed and the yellow was punctuated by bursts of pink and purple with patches of clarkia; elegant, purple and farewell-to-spring in abundance. There was also perezia and large flowered phacelia as well as some lovely dudleya and blossoming yucca.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Sara Wan Trailhead of the Corral Canyon Trail
Trailhead from the shared parking lot of Malibu Seafood off of PCH or directly from PCH just south of the bridge over the creek. I was curious to see if this trail in the coastal sage scrub still had any flowers. The answer is: not many. There are a few flowers but they are few and far between. There are still magnificent ocean views. The flowers that I saw were cliff asters, delicate bush mallow and twiggy wreath plant, slender tarweed, peers and coast golden bush. This late in the season go for the views but not the flowers.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Topanga Canyon State Park
Dead Horse Loop
From the Trippet Ranch Parking area go up the paved road the goes out from the northeast corner. As soon as you cross the bridge turn left on the marked dirt trail. I had thought that this year's flowers were pretty much over but in some places they seem to be getting more profuse. That is true on this trail especially in the chaparral section. The trail starts with oak woodland to your left and meadow to your right. At the meadow's edge there are blooming purple clarkia, sticky gum flower, golden star lilies and lots and lots of slender tarweed. When the trail heads into the chaparral there is a floral explosion of black sage, sticky monkey flower, woolly blue curls, honeysuckle, deerweed, elderberry and turkish rugging. It was an impressive display. To make the hike a loop I turned left off the Dead Horse Trail onto the connector to Entrada Road and then left again on the 92 Trail which is labeled as a return to Trippet. You go through alternating patches of meadow and woodland but the majority of the flowers are now behind you.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Topanga Canyon State Park
Musch Trail
I didn't have much time and only went a little ways. Still I was very surprised at all the flowers that I saw. I have been encountering a lot of dried out trails and this one was a pleasant surprise. The soap root lilies were out, being day time they were closed but clearly ready to bloom. The grasslands had purple clarkia, golden star lily, slender tarweed and golden yarrow. Otherwise there were the usual flowers, honeysuckle, Indian pinks and California buckwheat.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Contact Information:

Santa Monica Mountains NRA
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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