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Updated June 5th 2015
Available Reviews
Cold Creek Preserve
Sara Wan Trailhead
Topanga Canyon
Zuma Canyon
Stunt Ranch
Circle X Ranch
Date of Review
5/12, 5/5, 3/17.
4/8, 4/4.

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Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
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SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone/iPad.

I hear things are really drying out and that the SoCal drought continues. In that case the true flower connoisseur must begin using their craft to find the treasure. It is out there every month of the year.
         Julia Hammett reminded me to mention that this time of year there are some great flower displays along the road cuts in the mountains, as in this shot of her's along Mulholland Drive.
Contributer Supplied Photo
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Cold Creek Preserve
Stunt High Trail
I thought this would be a good hike due to the riparian area at the start of the trail. To my surprise that was not the area with a lot of flowers. It was nice there. It is always wonderful to walk alongside flowing water and there delicate milkwort and stream orchids in bloom. But entering the chaparral portion was where I was rewarded with flowers. The trail is lined with bright yellow flowers. This seems to be a banner year for slender tarweed. There was also golden yarrow, sticky gum plant and golden star lilies mixed with the tarweed and the yellow was punctuated by bursts of pink and purple with patches of clarkia; elegant, purple and farewell-to-spring in abundance. There was also perezia and large flowered phacelia as well as some lovely dudleya and blossoming yucca.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Sara Wan Trailhead of the Corral Canyon Trail
Trailhead from the shared parking lot of Malibu Seafood off of PCH or directly from PCH just south of the bridge over the creek. I was curious to see if this trail in the coastal sage scrub still had any flowers. The answer is: not many. There are a few flowers but they are few and far between. There are still magnificent ocean views. The flowers that I saw were cliff asters, delicate bush mallow and twiggy wreath plant, slender tarweed, peers and coast golden bush. This late in the season go for the views but not the flowers.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Topanga Canyon State Park
Dead Horse Loop
From the Trippet Ranch Parking area go up the paved road the goes out from the northeast corner. As soon as you cross the bridge turn left on the marked dirt trail. I had thought that this year's flowers were pretty much over but in some places they seem to be getting more profuse. That is true on this trail especially in the chaparral section. The trail starts with oak woodland to your left and meadow to your right. At the meadow's edge there are blooming purple clarkia, sticky gum flower, golden star lilies and lots and lots of slender tarweed. When the trail heads into the chaparral there is a floral explosion of black sage, sticky monkey flower, woolly blue curls, honeysuckle, deerweed, elderberry and turkish rugging. It was an impressive display. To make the hike a loop I turned left off the Dead Horse Trail onto the connector to Entrada Road and then left again on the 92 Trail which is labeled as a return to Trippet. You go through alternating patches of meadow and woodland but the majority of the flowers are now behind you.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Topanga Canyon State Park
Musch Trail
I didn't have much time and only went a little ways. Still I was very surprised at all the flowers that I saw. I have been encountering a lot of dried out trails and this one was a pleasant surprise. The soap root lilies were out, being day time they were closed but clearly ready to bloom. The grasslands had purple clarkia, golden star lily, slender tarweed and golden yarrow. Otherwise there were the usual flowers, honeysuckle, Indian pinks and California buckwheat.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Zuma Canyon
Zuma Loop Trail
I made a loop of going out on the Zuma Canyon Trail and returning on the Zuma Loop Trail. This hike is one of my favorite for spring flowers but the heat and drought have hit it hard. Although there are still flowers there are not an abundance of flowers and things look as though they are past full bloom. There are many elderberry bushes in bloom as well as California everlasting, purple and black sage, scarlet penstemon and cliff aster. Climbing up the Zuma Loop trail there are Indian pinks, bush sunflowers, white yarrow and lots and lots of slender tarweed. Along the Rim Trail I expected to find Catalina mariposas but there was not one. Instead I found half a dozen yellow mariposas, a flower I wouldn't have expected for another month.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Stunt Ranch
Stunt High Trail
It was a really hot and dry day, too hot to walk far but fortunately this trail is rewarding from the very beginning. The trail starts with a beautiful flowering yucca and a sampling of some of the flowers from various habitats along the trail including the lovely Catalina mariposas. Entering the riparian area there were star lilies, fiesta flowers, black sage and the magical looking globe lilies. I scrambled down to the edge of the creek and was rewarded by finding stream orchids. The meadow area was the most rewarding, it was covered in golden star lilies interspersed with areas of purple clarkia, blue larkspur, blue eyed grass, brodiaea and Chinese houses. Climbing up into the chaparral there were large stands of purple sage buzzing with bees and butterflies. There were also woolly blue curls, chia, globe gillia, sticky monkey flower and farewell-to-spring. It was an amazing hike.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa Trail
Not as prolific a display of wildflowers as I had hoped. Some areas are already drying out. Nevertheless, at 50-plus species in bloom from the trailhead to Split Rock, it's definitely worth the trip. Highlights of the hike were "fire followers" such as Large-flowered Phacelia, Many-nerved Catchfly, California Mustard, and Fire Poppy along with a couple of not-to-miss plants: Pitcher Sage and white-flowered Peninsular Onion.  ‑ Jay Sullivan

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa/Sandstone Peak Loop
It has been so hot and dry that we had low expectations of what flowers would be blooming on this trail. We did the loop counter clockwise, going to Split Rock before heading up to Sandstone Peak. At the trailhead we could see banks of mariposa lilies, California buckwheat, golden yarrow, blue dicks, popcorn flower, woolly blue curls and black sage. Heading up the trail we encountered flowering chamise, large flower phacelia, twining snapdragon, yellow monkey flower and woolly lomatium. Heading down toward Split Rock we saw sticky monkey flower, caterpillar phacelia, chia, deerweed, blue larkspur, Chinese houses and globe gillia. For the entire loop the sides of the trail were studded with star lilies. There was also miner's lettuce, fiesta flower, eucrypta, mustard evening primrose, parry's phacelia and purple nightshade. Holly leaf cherry and holly leaf redberry were helpfully blooming across the trail from each other. In the rocky section of the trail we saw owl's clover, goldfields and pincushion. Approaching Split Rock there were purple clarkia, yellow collarless poppies, fire poppies, whispering bells and virgin's bower seedpods. The creek at Split Rock was completely dry for the first time in my memory. Going uphill from Split Rock to Sandstone Peak there was cinquefoil, a very few shooting stars, wild sweet peas and flowering yucca. Beyond Sandstone Peak we were surprised to see prickly phlox still blooming and then common fiddle neck.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Contact Information:

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

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