Page Revised: 6/27/08


Available Site Reviews

Circle X Ranch

Point Mugu State Park

Topanga State park

Date of Review

6/26, 5/16.



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        After our recent heat most of the spring’s flowers have finished for the year except in the more sheltered  nooks and crannies. The heat also makes these same sheltered areas, often with groves of trees, a more pleasurable hike. The flower hunt may now be more of a challenge but also more rewarding when some elusive treasure is found. Indeed, many of the summer flowers, like the lilies and larkspurs, are quite spectacular even if not found in great numbers. Summer is also a time to inspect the many different forms that fruit and seed capsules can take, some of which are quite interesting if not beautiful in their own right. By the way, don’t forget that you dog is much less able to deal with the heat than we are. Every year people kill their dog on our hot summer trails, and I do mean literally kill them dead.  –ed.




Circle X Ranch

Grotto and Canyon View Trails.

  Date: 6/26



        We did a quick scope of the upper Grotto Trail and the lower portion of the Canyon View Trail and discovered about forty different flowers in bloom. Some of the highlights include the California fuschia (which is just beginning), both the lance-leaf and chalk Dudleyas, three different monkey flowers, scarlet larkspur, heart-leaved penstemon, a couple of different clarkia’s, bush mallow, narrow-leaved milkweed, bird’s beak, morning glory, Plummer’s mariposa lily, Toyon, Perezia, white pincushion, twiggy wreath plant,  a pretty spectacular display of dodder in full bloom, and even a few Yuccas still looking quite nice.  –ed.


Point Mugu State Park

Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail

  Date: 6/23



        The flower display is rapidly diminishing with the very hot weather of the past week. The excitement this morning was a stunted Humboldt lily (my first of the year) and several Chalk live-forevers with their lantern-like flowers. Also impressive was a hillside of decomposing shale with a pretty grouping of Scarlet larkspur.  There also was a large dark rattlesnake across the trail with an impressive array of rattles. The tongue kept curling in my direction as I stood stationary. I made a slight noise and the snake turned and left the trail. Enough excitement to make the hike well worth while.  (Burt Elliott)


Topanga State Park

Backbone Trail

  Dates: 6/14 & 6/15



        This is a flower report on the tenth and last segment of the 2007-2008 Backbone Trail NPS hike series. We hiked one part of the Backbone trail each month, repeating the hike with different groups on Saturday and Sunday. Our hike was from Trippet Ranch to Will Rogers State Historic Park; 11 miles.

        We noted about 40 species in bloom. Trails leaving Trippet and passing through Musch Camp to Eagle Springs Junction have the greatest variety of flowers passing through open and canopied areas. The most numerous flowers are on Black sage, Heart-leaved penstemon, Indian pink, Bush Monkey flower, and Bush mallow. I missed the first Scarlet larkspur, but then there were several hanging right over the trail at eye level. Just before the Junction we found several White snapdragons still blooming. Plummer’s Mariposa Lilies were out, scattered along our entire route. The open areas of this part of the mountains always have a great show of California buckwheat and Dodder. One species of Dodder prefers Laurel sumac as host and we saw small white flowers on that Dodder. Another Dodder prefers buckwheat, but the profusion of buckwheat flowers makes it difficult to see if this Dodder is blooming. Toyon, Laurel Sumac and Elderberry are heavy with blossoms. There was no mistaking the Redberry with a great crop of berries.   (Greg Sweel and Burt Elliott)


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa to split rock.

  Date: 5/16



        The day was hot and sunny but this section of the Mishe Mokwa loop has enough shade on it that you get some respite from the heat.  We spent more time in the cool air at Split Rock enjoying the shade and the trickle of water than we did a month ago.  The flower have dried up quite a lot in the recent heat. Although the total numbers were significantly down compared to even just a few weeks ago the species count was still respectable at close to sixty,  Many that we did see were holding on only in the more shady and sheltered areas so you will need to look carefully to see that many.  On the other hand, some of the dramatic summer flowers, like the yellow mariposa lily, are beginning to show up,  Flowering highlights included the yucca, Catalina mariposa lily, flax flowered linanthus, sapphire wool stars, golden yarrow, Turkish rugging, both white and yellow pincushions, soap plant, wooly blue curls, bush mallow, bird’s beak, golden stars, speckled clarkia, willow-herb clarkia, collarless California poppy, blue dicks, caterpillar phacelia, large-flowered phacelia, yellow and bush monkey flowers, lance-leaf dudleya, pitcher sage, star lily, heart-leaved penstemon, sticky cinquefoil, Chinese houses, peninsular onion, wild sweet pea, snowberry, blue larkspur, globe gilia, and the large fluffy seed heads of the virgins bower.    –ed.


Rating:  Fair.



Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360




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or phone Tony at 310-457-6408