Page Revised: 2/14/05


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch
Nicholas Flat
Arroyo Sequit
Zuma/Trancas Canyons
Rancho Sierra Vista
Point Mugu State Park

Date of Review

2/12/05 & 2/4/05 & 1/22/05 & 1/14/05
1/25/05 & 1/15/05

See the photo gallery of What’s Blooming at:

Recent heavy rains have damaged some of the Rec Area’s trails. If you are not up to mud, stream crossings and climbing into and out of washouts you might want to call the park office to check on trail conditions.


Circle X Ranch

Canyon View Trail

 Date: 2/12/05



        This trail, running from the Sandstone Peak trailhead to the campgrounds passes through several ecosystems and consequently often has a wide variety of flowers represented. The trail drains well and is mostly dry and pleasant going even a few hours after a heavy rain, although the grass is now getting high enough in places to get shoes wet if done immediately after a rain. Crossing a rock-bottomed creek and running above the West Fork of the Arroyo Sequit it is frequently serenaded by the sound of running and falling water. Be sure to take a quick side trip of a few hundred yards and walk part way down the Grotto trail just below the small falls. This short “flower alley” is worth any flower watcher’s time.

        My personal highlights include masses of Blue Dicks, a large patch of Globe Gila, a small but dense patch of Skullcap, California Peony, frequent scatterings of Wishbone Bush, many Wild Cucumber, the wonderfully scented Hollyleaf Cherry, masses of Greenbark Ceanothus, what my wife and I call the Valley of the Blue Curls, a nice spray of Virgin's Bower, Shooting Stars, both Purple and White Nightshade, both Succulent and Stinging Lupine, some Blue Larkspur, several Collarless California Poppy, a few Owl Clover, and a single Parry's Phacelia. It is always fun to see a new flower for the first time and for me it was the Twining Snapdragon.

        Completing the list we saw Wild Morning Glory, Common Fiddleneck, Popcorn Flower, Mule Fat, Miners Lettuce, Black Sage, Common Groundsel, Black Mustard, Woolly Aster, Henbit, Eucrypta, California Black Walnut, California Laurel, Mustard Evening Primrose, Narrow-leaved Fringe-pod, Golden Yarrow, Yellow Monkey Flower, Chaparral Current, Hollyleaf Redberry, California Saxifrage, Pineapple Weed, Mountain Mahogany, Elderberry, Western Sycamore, Deerweed, Pacific Sanicle, Telegraph Weed, Small Evening Primrose, California Buckwheat, one of the small yellow Lotus, both Bush and Canyon Sunflower, both Yellow Sweet and Bur Clover, both Red-stem and White-stem Filaree, both Shiny and Woolly Lomatium, Felt-leaved, California, and Two-toned Everlasting, and Narrow-leaved, Climbing and Annual Bedstraw. We also saw several examples of Poison Oak in bloom -- a good reason to stay safe by staying on the trail. All told a count of 65 different species in bloom but since many have not yet really hit their stride we can't give as high a rating as we otherwise might. (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail

 Date: 2/4/05



        The trail is dry except for a few muddy patches that are easy to avoid. Getting to the grotto itself is a little different than a month ago because the stream bed has shifted a bit and a few sections are still flooded.

        We counted forty three different species in bloom but most are only lightly represented. Highlights include many Greenbark Ceanothus, Purple Nightshade, and Wild Cucumber. In the reds the California Peony is well along while the Crimson Pitcher Sage is just beginning. Chaparral Currant, Milkmaids, scatterings of Wild Sweet Pea and a few Winter Vetch blossoms add pink to the landscape. In the blues a large patch of Stinging Lupine is close to the almost open buds of the Wishbone Bush. Near the first waterfall several Blue Larkspur are open with a promise of many more to come. Blue Dicks were plentiful in the grassy meadow. For yellows we have along the lower trail both Bush Sunflower and Canyon Sunflower with Telegraph Weed and Deerweed near the upper end. The whites were well represented by Wild Cucumber, Wild Morning Glory, Virgin's Bower, White Nightshade, and Popcorn Flower.

       Also in bloom along this trail were California Everlasting, Two-tone Everlasting, Felt-leaf Everlasting, California Buckwheat, Red-stem Filaree, Redberry, Bur-clover, Woolly Aster, Elderberry, Yellow Sweet Clover, Pineapple Weed, Poison Oak, Mountain Mahogany, Mule Fat, Miner’s Lettuce, Narrow-leaved Bedstraw, Black Sage, Oxalis, Southern Tauschia, Arroyo Willow, Common Groundsel, and Black Mustard. (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Leo Carrillo /

Arroyo Sequit

Nicholas Flat /

Arroyo Sequit Loop Trail

 Date: 2/3/05



        On 2/3/05 we hiked two areas just a few miles apart, Nicholas Flat and Arroyo Sequit. We first entered the trail off Decker School Road and made a clockwise loop around the Nicholas Flat Area. We found the large pond to be full but extremely muddy, but with none of the water plants yet revived. We did find purple nightshade, wild cucumber, wild sweet peas and even some Vinca major blooming. Miner's lettuce was plentiful and snake root was starting to flower. A few fuchsia-flowered gooseberries, poison oak and hedge mustard also were in flower. Greenback ceanothus, both white and blue blossomed were conspicuously positioned along the way. In the grassy areas many fiddlenecks and some horehound were blooming along with slender oats and Calif. everlasting. Red stem filaree and blue dick were also present in the grasslands mostly. Some arroyo willow were sporting their catkins and the bur clover held aloft its tiny yellow flower. Some hold-over Western ragweed was seen and the canyon sunflower was starting to bloom. Scarlet pitcher sage, bush monkey flower, black sage, deer weed, bush sunflowers and morning glory were also encountered. The masses of shooting stars continue to delight as does the coast paintbrush. Some hog fennel was spotted as well as popcorn flower, dandelion, several yucca, chaparral current and bigpod ceanothus and the tiny common groundsel. The trail was dry but deeply rutted with loose stones from the recent rains, requiring more attention to the trail than one would really like. This loop is about 3.5 miles and the bloom rating is still fair with about 22 species found to be in bloom.

        The second part of the hike was over the 1.5 mile loop at nearby Arroyo Sequit. Many of the same plants seen at Nicholas Flat were also seen on this part of the hike, but additionally wooly lomatium, holly-leaf redberry, Calif. peony, and Bermuda buttercup. Also seen were gum plant, prickly phlox, chamise (budding), and shiny lomatium. Two-tone everlasting and felt-leaf everlasting were found as were elderberry, telegraph weed, and eucrypta. The prize, for me, was several Indian warriors, the first that I have found. The bloom rating was fair and the two creek crossings which had been washed out were found to be significant obstacles since they were sheer eight foot banks that someone had hacked some foot holds in to aid in descending and ascending. (RMW)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Zuma loop trail from Bush trailhead

 Date: 1/29/05



Encelia californica

Helianthus annuus

Paeonia californica

Calystegia macrostegia

Solanum xantii

Mara macrocarpus

Lathyrus laetiflorus

Ceanothus spinosus

Castilleja affinis.





Rancho Sierra Vista /
Point Mugu State Park

Wendy and Upper Sycamore Canyon Trails

 Date: 1/25/05



        On Jan. 25, 2005 we hiked down the Wendy Trail and made a 5.5 mile loop around the area returning from the South along the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail with a stop at the Waterfall before returning to the trail head on Portrero Canyon Rd. The weather was cool and comfortable, the trail dry in most places and the flowering species observed numbered 54 warranting a good rating for the first time this year. Across the grasslands the wild radish dominated with colors of lavender, lavender and white, white, yellow and rose observed. The usual hedge mustard was present, but the less frequently seen hog fennel and Johnny-jump-ups were also seen. Blue dick, big-pod ceanothus, morning glory, deerweed and a single rose in a large stand of wild rose were observed along the way. Red stem filaree and quite a few shooting stars were on display as well. Amongst the grasses in flower were both wild and slender oats and foxtail barley. Bush lupine were seen as well as stinging lupine. Several small stands of fiddleneck were in bloom as was the arroyo willow. Other trees blooming were an eucalyptus globulus, Calif. laurel and what appeared to be a domestic apricot along the trail to the waterfall. Bush sunflower and canyon sunflower were passed as were three of the everlasting: Calif., velvet leaf, and two-toned.  The ubiquitous telegraph weed, common groundsel and some coyote bush and ragweed were still hanging around from last year. Horehound and black sage were both starting to bloom and the green-bark ceanothus was thick on the hillsides with a few adding their bouquet along the trail. The first popcorn flower, wishbone bush, and golden yarrow for this year were starting to bloom. The sow thistle and wild cucumber were still blooming as well as a couple of wooly asters and purple sage. There was a lot of wild sweet pea seen and a few scarlet pitcher sage blooming. Holly leaf redberry, and chaparral current and poison oak displayed their blooms in various locations. Seen for the first time this year was miner's lettuce and fiesta flower. Virgin's bower was blooming wildly as it crawled over the adjacent chaparral. Milkmaid and blue larkspur and eucrypta was spotted along the trail to the waterfall. Also seen in passing were some bur clover and Calif. collarless poppy.

        The water fall was pouring copious quantities of water down its cascade and the babble of the running water in the stream was a constant sound to be heard throughout the hike up the Upper Sycamore Canyon trail. Even the accursed "macadam road" was a pleasant walk since we chose to go down it and hike back up via the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail. (RMW)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Circle X Ranch

Backbone Trail below Triunfo Peak

 Date: 1/22/05



        This Hike ran from the Eastern intersection of the Backbone trail with Yerba Buena Road to the Sandstone Peak trailhead, a distance of about 5.5 miles. We are now seeing new flowers every trip out and counted twenty-four species in bloom (including the weedy ones like black Mustard and Common Groundsel). Ceanothus were represented by Bigpod, Greenbark and the beginnings of a few Hairy-leaved Ceanothus. Bush Sunflower, Hollyleaf Redberry, Wild Cucumber and Chaparral Current were plentiful in spots as were Woolly Lomatium and Purple Nightshade. The diminutive Bur Clover, Small Evening Primrose and Popcorn Flower were only seen in only a few scattered locations and required a sharp eye. Black Sage and Deerweed had begun to bloom in several locations and although already blooming elsewhere I saw my first Morning Glory, Wild Peony and Yellow Monkey Flower blooming here at Circle X this day. Just below the Mishe Mokwa trail we encountered a good-sized field of Shooting Stars. Scattered holdouts from the last blooming season included a few Twiggy Wreath Plants, some Coyote Brush, and even a Rock Rose.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Point Mugu State Park

La Jolla and Loop Trails

 Date: 1/18/05



        We got back on the trail again on a beautiful warm and dry weekday morning. The trails of choice were the La Jolla and Loop Trails on Jan. 18, 2005. During the hike of about 5.5 miles we encountered 39 different species exhibiting blooms. Starting right from the trail head we spotted bush sunflower, giant coreopsis, bladder pod, bush mallow, mulefat, deer weed and morning glory. There were spots of coast paintbrush throughout the hike with red-stem filaree, black sage, fountain grass and Calif. everlasting also seen. Blue dicks were seen sporadically all along the trails and some mustard was already showing color. The lemonade berry bush was starting to bloom as well as a single chaparral yucca and several bush monkey flowers. A single coast wallflower was found and a lot of Southern Tauchia and wild sweetpea. Amongst the usual pink and white sweetpeas was one plant with all pure white blooms. A few wild blackberries were present and purple nightshade as well as one white nightshade plant. Several Fuchsia flowered goose berries were in bloom as well as a lot of chaparral current. Only a few bigpod ceanothus and greenbark ceanothus were flowering. A few sweet fennel and Calif. sagebrush showed their flowers as did the two-toned everlasting and purple sage. Several lupines were seen that may have been of the foothill variety. Snakeroot, poison oak and common groundsel was seen , but the special treat was a large group of shooting stars. The large pond at the trail campsite was full and overflowing, but muddy as could be. The last time we had been here the pond was completely dry. The two waterfalls on the La Jolla Trail were flowing with copious quantities of water and the little pond at the foot of the upper fall was full and inviting. (This pond was also dry during our last visit).

        The trails were mostly dry, but were like small river beds full of rocks from the water flow during the heavy rains. Rating for blooms is a fair approaching good with lots of promise for the weeks ahead.  (RMW)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Rancho Sierra Vista

Satwiwa garden

 Date: 1/15/05



         Satwiwa garden has nice early spring blooms in a very small space. Many golden currants are in bloom along with a few hummingbird sage plants. There is one small yellow monkeyflower along with one or two fuchsia flowered gooseberry with multiple flowers. Both of these are great plants for home gardens. Several blooming sugarbushes make a nice backdrop for the garden. (SB)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa and Sandstone Peak Trails

 Date: 1/14/05



        A very brief update to the report on 1/1/05: The trail condition is generally good but there are muddy patches and there is one place where you have to pass a large rock completely covering the trail. The stream crossing at Split Rock will require balancing on the rocks in the streambed to keep your feet dry. The flower situation is essentially the same as on 1/1/05. (TV)


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa and Sandstone Peak Trails

 Date: 1/1/05



        This hike is an annual New Year’s Day event with the Conejo Group of the Sierra Club. The hike consists of a counterclockwise loop, beginning up the Mishe Mokwa Trail and coming back down the Sandstone Peak Trail, using the connector trail to get back to the starting point; a distance of about 6 miles.

        This year the emergence of the usual flowers is much later due to colder fall weather. Today a thick overcast barely cleared Sandstone Peak. There are still a lot of Big Pod Ceanothus blooming, but many are now forming seedpods. Without the sun, the Red Stem Filaree flowers refused to open. The Chaparral Current is still quite beautiful, in shades of red to light pink. A single Pearly Everlasting was just beginning to bloom and Bay Laurel is budding. There is a fair amount of mud in places on the trail. A few hours of sunshine would probably dry it out. The sound of running water is everywhere. The stream crossing at Split Rock is 8 to 10 feet wide. Side streams cross the trail on the way down from the hillsides. About a tenth of a mile beyond Split Rock, on the right, is a huge Chalk Live-Forever. I expected to find Silk Tassel in bloom in the area of Split Rock, as in years past, but could only find dried tassels from last season. There are Shooting Stars and Black Mustard coloring some of the grassy areas. Many Bigberry Manzanita are blooming. After checking the flower book I have come up with a good way to remember the difference between the Bigberry and the Eastwood Manzanita:  the Eastwood variety is hairy, the Bigberry is not. Clint Eastwood played Dirty Harry in the movies. (BE)


Naturalist's rating: Fair




Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


Ph. 805-370-2301




Thank you


for your contributions:


Sheila Braden
Burt Elliott
Robert W. Maughmer
Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:




or phone him at 310-457-6408