Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Logo

Updated April 21th, 2017
Available Reviews
Circle X Ranch
Paramount Ranch
Castro Crest
Newton Canyon
Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa
Point Mugu State Park
Charmlee Wilderness Park
Sara Wan Trail
Santa Susana Mountain Park
Date of Review
4/15 & 2/9.

Quick Links:
How To Submit a Flower Report - Anyone can participate!
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.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone.
New! SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for Android smartphones (Pre-Release Beta Version).

Reports here suggest that this is the best flower season the Santa Monica's have seen in years. What better incentive could you have to follow through on that New Year's Resolution?

This site performs a public service that anyone can participate in. Let us all know what you are seeing! In general, if you are submitting a report I will get it much faster if you use the gmail account 'SMMWildFlowers' rather than my account. If you are new to submitting a report (or maybe even an old hand at it) be sure and read How To Submit a Flower Report
  — ed.

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa Loop.
         This is always an amazing hike filled with different habitats and the plants that inhabit them. We began our hike from the second parking lot after you pass the park visitor center, the one marked as the Mishe Mokwa trailhead. When we came to the Backbone Trail we turned left onto it and made a clockwise loop going to Sandstone Peak and then Split Rock before returning to the parking lot, about 6 miles.
         We were barely out of the parking lot before we were overwhelmed at the quantity of butterfly mariposa lilies, they filled the grasslands and trail edges, I don’t remember ever seeing so many. There was also blooming yucca, yarrow, black sage, popcorn flower, California chicory, chia, star lilies, twining snapdragon and yellow monkey flower. As we climbed toward Sandstone Peak we saw blooming chamise, sticky monkey flower, collarless poppies, mustard evening primrose and beautiful bush lupines. On the trail up to Sandstone Peak there were clumps of blooming phlox. Walking from Sandstone Peak to Split Rock there were blooming globe gilia, larkspur, yellow pin cushion and owls clover. Approaching Split Rock there are blue and white ceanothus that are not the usually found ones that are especially beautiful. From Split Rock back to the parking lot there were great patches of virgins bower, delicate woodland stars, parry’s phacelia, shiny lomatium, more blue dicks than can be imagined and a few of the flower we were hoping to find, chocolate lilies. It was a wonderful hike.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Paramount Ranch
Coyote Canyon Trail, Hacienda Trail, Backdrop Trail, and Bwana Trail
         I left out of the old western town, took the Coyote Canyon Trail to the Hacienda Trail to the Backdrop Trail and then came back to the western town on the Bwana Trail. At first I was disappointed that there didn't seem to be the masses of flowers that I have seen in some other locations, it just seemed to be blue dicks. Then there were also a lot of owl's clover, then added in popcorn and fiesta flowers, then there were fairy lanterns, a flower that I rarely see. The rest of the chaparral section had caterpillar phacelia, yellow monkey flower, woolly blue curls, chia, yarrow, parry's phacelia and whispering bells. When I walked through the grassland area I saw great masses of globe gillia interspersed with yellow collarless poppies as well as butterfly mariposa lilies, red maids, fiddle neck and johnny-jump-ups. A very pleasurable walk for flower lovers.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Castro Crest
Backbone Trail
         The Castro Crest area is easily visited by travelling the Backbone Trail between Corral Canyon Road and Latigo Canyon Road. This is a great hike for flowers at this time in this year. There are some, like star lilies that are scattered along the length of the trail, we must have seen hundreds. There are others that seem clustered in their own 'neighborhoods'. Some highlights are: The large quantities of twining snapdragon, in some places creating nearly a solid mass of them. The great masses of blue dicks that are interspersed with butterfly mariposa lilies. Patches of the tiny but vividly blue skullcap that line the trail in many places. The yellow johnny-jump-ups, cinquefoil, milkmaids and fiesta flowers that are in the shaded creekside places. There are large patches of woolly blue curls, of parry's phacelia, Indian paintbrush and scarlet bugler. This is not a trail to be missed.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Newton Canyon
Backbone Trail
         Climb up and over Tunnel 1 from the Newton Canyon Trailhead. About 15 minutes or into the trail you will find the most amazing stand of Hummingbird sage (aka Crimson pitcher sage) I've ever seen. It is on the right-hand side of the trail (upslope). There are several areas of it along the way.   — Gary Goldstein
  Contributer Supplied Photo  

Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa
         Went to Rancho Sierra / Satwiwa and saw some great blooms! You have to walk a little ways to where the hillsides burned a few years ago. There is more Purple Nightshade than I have ever seen in one place. There are California Poppies and Parry's Phacelia (a fire follower) blooming . The part of the Boney Mountain Trail that goes down to the waterfall (see park map) was the best place to see lots of flowers. The Hidden Valley Overlook Trail is also nice, as is the Stream Side Trail.
         Flowers seen: Parry's Phacelia California Golden poppy , Morning Glory, Purple nightshade Annual Coreopsis Winter vetch , Deerweed, Canyon Sunflower Bush Sunflower, Blue dicks ,pitcher Sage, Mariposa Lily, Pink Lady's Popcorn Flower,Stinging Lupine, Wishbone Bush, chia, Purple Larkspur, Collarless California Poppy   — Jim Garafalo
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Point Mugu State Park
Old Boney Loop
         Hillsides carpeted with California poppies. Gorgeous wildflowers all over the place including: morning glory, lupine, canyon sunflower, blue dicks, desert wishbone bush (five purple petals, five white stamens), purple nightshade, fiddlenecks (yellow, curling). Occasionally: paintbrush, shooting stars, clematis, pearly everlasting, treasure flower, Jimson weed. Other blooming plants: wild pea, wild cucumber, miners lettuce, black sage, ceanothus (blue and white), And many more whose names I don’t yet know. Thousands of lizards along the trail, particularly side-blotch, along with fence and alligator lizards.   — David Harris

Charmlee Wilderness Park
Botany Trail to East meadow Trail
         Tons of Flowers!!
         Fields of Shooting Stars in full bloom above the Nature Center.
         Fields of Blue Dicks on the entrance road.
         Hummingbird Sage in bloom with Anna’s Hummingbirds feeding in Oak Groves.
         MilkMaids, Canyon Sunflower, Stinging Lupine, Danny’s Skullcap, Wishbone Bush, Wild Peony, Prickly Phlox, Indian Paintbrush, Hairy leaf Ceonothus, Purple Nightshade.   — Joseph Brooks

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Sara Wan Trail
         The Sara Wan Trail can be accessed from PCH north of Puerco Canyon Rd and South of Corral Canyon Rd or you can use the pay parking lot adjacent to Malibu Seafood.
         The creek that runs along the bottom of the canyon is now full and rushing. In order to access the trail from the parking lot you will have to get wet feet or walk out to PCH, cross the bridge and take the trail that starts from the south side of the creek.
         This is a loop trail. I always take it clockwise for better ocean views on the descent. Near PCH there are a lot of bush sunflowers in bloom. Continuing on there starts to be a lot of wild cucumber. You come to the side of an old cabin or house with only the chimney remaining. Here the former garden has naturalized and although they are not wildflowers the splash of yellow, purple and orange flowers is striking. Continuing up the trail the blue dicks begin, first a few and then in great profusion. Indian paintbrush are in bloom here and there. I saw swallowtail and Sara orange tip butterflies. It was a clear day and on the descent Santa Barbara Island was clearly visible.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Santa Susana Mountain Park
         Hills are bursting with life from all the rain on Friday - wild cucumber, mustard, blue dicks, fiddleneck, wishbone plant, California everlasting, white ceanothus, yellow oxalis and one sticky monkey flower in dark orange opened. chamise looks to open in the next few days, and lupines are getting ready. I entered the park through the entrance on Andora just west of Lassen. Water is flowing everywhere, so please wear good hiking shoes or boots. If one turns left about a mile in, the waterfalls are incredible but possibly short-lived - also there's a vernal pond at the top of the stagecoach trail or devil's slide which may be accessed from Lilac Lane off of Santa Susana Pass Road.   — Adam Lieberman

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa and Backbone Trails
         Shooting Stars are now in full bloom along the Mishe Mokwa and Backbone Trails in the valley between Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks. They are most easily found directly on the Backbone Tail right by the intersection with the Mishe Mokwa Trail. It is easiest to park at the Sandstone Peak Trailhead and take either the trail up to Sandstone Peak or connect with the feeder to the Mishe Mokwa Trail (my preferred route).   — Steven Friedman
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Contact Information:

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

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