Page Revised: 01/20/2012


Available Reviews

Point Mugu State Park

Castro Crest

Circle X Ranch

Date of Review

01/14 & 12/14/11.


12/10/11 &11/26/11.

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        I’ve hiked most of the trails up here at Circle X this past week and have little to add to previous reports. It’s still too early for most of the flowers but slowly more things continue to make an appearance. The most significant thing I noted is how dry it is. This week I visited five different fields that are usually full of shooting stars but all of them show only a few plants in bloom. Most of the plants have withered and the leaves have curled up and turned yellow. I suspect they are done for the season. I’m also wondering how the ceanothus are doing. The plants I looked at were very dry. When I examined them withered flowers and unopened buds fell off the branches with only the lightest touch. Hopefully the rain they are predicting for this weekend is not coming to late to save this year’s flowering season. Time will tell. See you on the trails. – ed.




Point Mugu State Park

Backbone Trail

 Date: 1/14/2012



        Today’s hike was the first leg of the NPS 2012 Backbone Trail hike series.  We are hiking west to east in 8 segments, one every two weeks.

        On a clear January day the ascent from the shoreline always provides a plethora of terrific vistas in all directions.  Less so with plants in bloom due to this year’s rare rain pattern.  Along the ridge we found and added a few more.  Likewise, descending on Wood Canyon Vista, but the walk up Sycamore Canyon to Danielson revealed little.

        The perennials were putting on a better show than the annuals.  Some of the blooms were near solitary.  The following native species were noted in bloom: Mule fat, Deer weed, Busch mallow, Sedge, Bladder pod, Lemonade berry, Hedge nettle, Ashy-leaved buckwheat, Big pod ceanothus, Prickly phlox, Morning glory, 4 o’clock, Bush sunflower, Chaparral currant, Green bark ceanothus, Lessingia, California buckwheat, Paint brush, Golden yarrow, Shooting stars, Canyon sunflower, Wild cucumber, Purple nightshade, Chaparral sweet pea, Peony, and Monkey flower.  – R. Waycott (and others).


Castro Crest

Backbone Trail:

Corral Canyon Rd. to Latigo Rd

 Date: 1/1/2012



        This hike is fantastic in the spring and not bad in the winter.  The big pod ceanothus is well into blooming, there is California buckwheat, wild morning glory and milkmaids by the creek.  To my surprise there were already peonies in bloom.  The other flowers we saw were just small occasional patches.  There was some chaparral current, twiggy wreath plant, purple nightshade, cliff aster, Indian paintbrush, bush sunflower and cudweed aster.  – Dorothy Steinicke.


Point Mugu State Park

La Jolla Canyon Trail

 Date: 12/14/2011



        Surprised to see a Giant Coreopsis blooming already, probably the season's first, only fifty yards from the Ray Miller Trailhead in that area where stone blocks are gathered together.  In late afternoon I noticed an evening primrose had opened, a yellow one, near where I have found speckled Clarkia last summer.  A Golden-Fleece is still presenting a few blooms.  Almost all the flowers I saw today were yellow.  – Alexander Walker.


Circle X Ranch

Sandstone Peak Trail

 Date: 12/10/2011



        We hiked to the peak yesterday with a group who came to hear Ranger Mike’s presentation on the geology of the area. Along the way we of course watched for and chatted about flowers. We still are not seeing many of the new season’s annuals in bloom but there was a nice scattering of chaparral currant and up near the top there were a few manzanita in bloom. It might be still too early to recommend this trail for flower watching but the vista of the ocean and the valley behind was well worth the trip (to say nothing of Mike’s excellent presentation.) It is worth noting that we saw a few stray shooting stars in bloom near the Mishe Mokwa trailhead.  – ed.


Circle X Ranch

Canyon View Trail

 Date: 11/26/2011



        This trail passes through several different ecosystems and has several exposed south-facing sections which ramp up to the blooming season quite fast. Consequently I hike this trail frequently early in the blooming season when I am most eager to see the new arrivals. Things have greened up quite nicely and there is a lot of our old favorites in leaf, but not too much in bloom yet. Some of the early perennials are in bloom and of course several of last season’s late bloomers are still around, but we did not see any of the new season’s annuals yet.  California fuchsia, telegraph weed, woolly aster, wild morning glory, sawtooth golden bush, wishbone bush, twiggy wreath plant, white hedge nettle, narrow-leaved bedstraw, chaparral current and bush mallow.  – ed.



Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360



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