Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Logo

Updated Feb 13th 2015
Available Reviews
Rancho Sierra Vista
Las Virgenes View Trail
Triunfo Creek Park
New Millennium Trail
Zuma Canyon
Sara Wan Trail
Topanga Canyon State Park
Stunt Ranch
Date of Review
2/9, 2/4.

Quick Links:
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains - Photos of 1000 SMM plants.
Archive - Previous “What's Blooming” reports.
Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
Wildflowers Facebook - A place where people can share about flowers.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone/iPad.

         A quick note to let people know I have moved out of the Santa Monica Mountains. This will make it difficult for me to include my customary ramblings here at the beginning of the newsletter. I have also been one of the significant contributers of the individual flower reports. Hopefully other people can step forward and fill the gap by sending in their flower observations. More than ever I will enjoy reading the reports people submit, especially as when I now look out my windows I see snow rather than flowers ;)
         It is still very early in the 2015 flower season but some of my favorites are already out. Keep that in mind there are plants that bloom year round if conditions are right. Maybe this is the year you might try to see those things that bloom only in the early part of the season.
         Finally, the drama of mudslides overshadow the fact that although the SMM have received some rain the effects of the drought of the last few years are far from over. Keep your fingers crossed that we get that needed rain!  ‑ ed.

Rancho Sierra Vista
         On 2/12/15, I hit the jackpot at the overflow parking area at Rancho Sierra Vista: the biggest display of chocolate lilies and shooting stars in one place I have ever seen. Also observed: California poppies, popcorn flower, filaree, common groundsel, ground pink, indian paintbrush, wishbone bush, star lily, squaw spurge, goldfields, Parry's phacelia, ground pink, speedwell, golden yarrow, johnny jump up, wild cucumber, common fiddleneck,and lacepod.  ‑ Kathy Jonokuchi
Contributer Supplied Photo

Las Virgenes View Trail
         Las Virgenes View Trail is located on the northwest corner of Las Virgenes Rd and Mulholland Dr. Parts of the trail are lined with Filaree. Further up I found Wishbone Bush, Popcorn Flower , and Blue Dicks. Turning left at the "T" intersection at the ridge, I went up the hill to find some Lupines (Broad Leafed I think) and more Blue Dicks, There are lots of plants growing that haven't bloomed yet , but they are facing the usual dilemma: will the winds dry them out, or will we get enough rain to keep the bloom going.  ‑ Jim Garafalo
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Triunfo Creek Park
Westlake View Trail
         This is a place where I have frequently been both rewarded with extraordinary flowers and confounded by the lack of trail markers. Today was no exception. For the first ten minutes of the hike I thought that the blooms that I have been observing had not made it to this area, I only saw big pod ceanothus. Then I started to see fuchsia flowering gooseberry, wild cucumber and wooly lomatium. I happened on a gorgeous group of Indian warriors, something I have not frequently encountered. Coming out of the chaparral and into meadow there were blue dicks, deer weed and popcorn flower but there was also the highlight of this hike; hillsides carpeted in ground pinks, thousands upon thousands of them. They were interspersed with shooting stars that looked as though their peak bloom was a couple of weeks ago. There were also tiny red and white flowers that I was unable to identify. At the edge of the meadow there were miner's lettuce and blue larkspur. Then the well trodden trail that I had been following disappeared into impenetrable chaparral, forcing me to backtrack. An outstanding hike.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

New Millennium Trail
         The New Millennium Trail is in the City of Calabasas. The trailhead that I used is in the Dog Park, just south of the intersection of Las Virgenes and Agoura Road , across the street from A E Wright Middle School. It is the ridge that is to your left if you are driving south on Las Virgenes Road.
         Thanks to a recent light rain, Purple Filliree is now lining the lower trail. There are also more Red Maids growing. I took the short-cut that goes up a ridge to join the south loop. Blue Dicks are growing on the short- cut trail, and near the top, some Lupines are starting to bloom. Turning right on the trail junction, I noticed that a lot of Caterpillar Phacelia is growing, but it is not blooming yet. Further on, near the top of the ridge, there is a nice patch of California Golden Poppies blooming (see pic). Continuing on, I turned right on the trail that stays on the ridge ( instead of staying on the loop trail). There I found more Blue Dicks, Popcorn Flower, Chia, and a few Bush Sunflower.  ‑ Jim Garafalo

New Millennium Trail
         The New Millennium Trail is in the City of Calabasas. The trailhead that I used is in the Dog Park, just south of the intersection of Las Virgenes and Agoura Road , across the street from A E Wright Middle School. It is the ridge that is to your left if you are driving south on Las Virgenes Road.
         Plants are starting to bloom. As I walked up the trail I saw a few Red Maids, some wild Cucumber , and some Blue Dicks. Turning left at the "T" intersection (1.2 miles) , I walked another half mile till I was coming down the hill into the next canyon. At that point, I was surprised to see a couple of nice patches of California Golden Poppies brightening up the top of a hill on the other side of the canyon. I followed the loop trail and was able to walk on the ridge of the hill about 200 yards to take some pics. Lots of stuff is growing on this trail. If it doesn't dry out and we get a little more rain it could be a good wildflower year.  ‑ Jim Garafalo
Contributer Supplied Photo

Zuma Canyon
misc. Trails
         Zuma Canyon is an under appreciated gem of a location. It's possible to hike a small loop, a medium loop, a large loop or an enormous loop. I joined the Zuma Canyon loop to the Canyon View and Ocean View Trails to make a fairly large loop. The flowers are really starting to come into bloom. The big pod ceanothus and the wild cucumber are already past their peak. The cucumbers are showing off their fruit more than their flowers. The fuchsia flowering gooseberry and Indian paintbrush are looking very nice. Additionally I saw; bush sunflower, chaparral currant, southern tauschia, toyon, poison oak in flower, wild sweet pea, blue dicks and purple nightshade. Alongside the still-dry creek were mule fat, cud weed aster and California everlasting. Climbing up the southern side of the canyon the only new flowers encountered were eucrypta and wishbone flower.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Sara Wan Trail
         The Sara Wan Trail is an excellent place to ramble through coastal sage scrub. It is a loop trail and I always do it clockwise in order to enjoy the ocean views on the descent. Things are not yet awash in blooms here. The predominantly apparent flowers are the wild cucumbers which sprawl over the tops of shrubs pushing up their racemes of white flowers and with spiky fruits dangling below. There are also bush sunflowers, mule fat, purple nightshade, some wild sweet pea in bloom as well as some poison oak. I saw the very beginnings of Indian paintbrush, wishbone flower and purple sage. As I descended the ocean facing hillside I could see pods of dolphins in the ocean. The hillside was covered with ground hugging lupines (Lupinus succulentus? I'm not sure)  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Topanga Canyon State Park
The Musch Trail
         After our little bit of rain the mountainsides are blooming with honey scented white blossoms of big pod ceanothus. I hiked The Musch Trail and it was everywhere. When there was a breeze there was a "snowfall" of white blossoms. Additionally the manzanita are in bloom with bell shaped flowers and wild cucumber is really getting going. There is an occasional splash of color from purple nightshade. I returned on the fire road where there were California everlasting and telegraph weed blooming alongside the road. So there was not a great variety of plants in bloom but the quantity of the blooming ceanothus make getting your boots muddy well worth it.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Stunt Ranch
Stunt High Trail
         The milkmaids are out alongside the creek. I always think of them as the first harbingers of spring. Even more impressive were the many varieties of mushrooms and other fungus in evidence. I wish I knew them better. There was also a fair amount of wild cucumber. Venturing up into the chaparral the big pod ceanothus are just starting to bloom. There were also chaparral currant, both the usual pink flowered ones and also the white flowered ones that I only know from this trail. We saw a single blooming bush poppy.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Contact Information:

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

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