Page Revised: 02/10/2012


Available Reviews

Las Virgenes View Park

Zuma/Trancas Canyons

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 have not had a chance to get out into the field much the last couple of weeks. We continue to see incremental increases in the variety and numbers of the annuals blooming but it is still too early to say we’ve entered the wildflower season. Seems like every time we get a bit of rain it is followed by a significant drying-out event. It’s been hard on the flowers so far this year. Let me know if you see something significant so I can pass it on to everyone. See you on the trails. – ed.




Las Virgenes View Park

New Millennium Trail

 Date: 2/6/2012



             I was hiking on the New Millennium trail yesterday and was surprised to see a lot of Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia circutaria var.hubbyi) growing on the hillside.  Just a few of them are blooming right now, but in couple of weeks they should be putting on a decent show.  I didn't see much else on the trail, a few Red Maids, a few Indian Paintbrush and a couple of  lupine.

      To reach the Caterpillar Phacelia, hike the New Millennium trail 1.2 miles to the "T" junction.  Turn right, and go about another quarter of a mile. This is a nice trail that not a lot of people know about.  In a good year it can have spectacular wildflowers.  – Jim Garafalo.


Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Backbone Trail

 Date: 2/3/2012



        Kanan Dume to about halfway to Encinal Canyon. Red stem filaree, wild cucumber, blue larkspur, shepherd’s purse, common groundsel, wishbone, Indian warrior, milkmaids, chaparral current, chickweed, bur clover, mule fat, wild sweet pea (one), hummingbird sage (one), purple nightshade, California everlasting, black mustard, cliff aster, tobacco tree, bush lupine (one and more close to blooming), Spanish broom, green bark ceanothus, big pod ceanothus, sticky monkey flower, and deer weed..  – Barbara & John.


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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