Page Revised: 7/11/05


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch
Point Mugu State Park
Malibu Creek State Park
Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Date of Review

7/10/05, 6/18/05, 6/12/05
7/1/05, 6/30/05
6/28/05, 6/14/05

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Circle X Ranch

Mishe MokwaTtrail to Split Rock and back

   Date: 7/10/05



        This trial is often one of the best in the spring, but now as the summer heat dries things out much of it is only Fair. Less than fifty species were encountered, and even this number is artificially high since several were added to the count based on only a few dried-up specimens. In addition, many others in the count might be considered uninteresting "weedy" species. I have given a rating of Good because of the presence of a few of summer's great flowers. They are the Humboldt Lily, Plummer's Mariposa Lily, and Scarlet Larkspur. The Scarlet Larkspur is particularly plentiful on the trail right now, but the other two are uncharacteristically plentiful as well. These flowers are making great displays on several of the Recreation Area's trails this year.

        Other highlights (although several of these are only lightly represented) include Flax-flowered Linanthus, Woolly Blue Curls, Birds Beak, Red Shank, Laurel Sumac, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Pitcher Sage, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Bush Monkey Flower, Scarlet Monkey Flower, Chalk Live-forever, Chaparral Honeysuckle, Fish's Milkwort, Bush Mallow, California Fuchsia, Soap Plant, Cliff Aster, and the inconspicuous Rein Orchid.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Point Mugu State Park

Serrano Canyon and Big Sycamore Canyon Trails

 Date: 7/1/05



        This report begins in the Serrano Valley and follows a little used trail through Serrano Canyon, down the last mile of Big Sycamore Canyon to the Pacific Coast Highway. I hiked up Sycamore Canyon to Serrano Valley to a destination and the flowers were so good I decided to record them on the return, so this report begins in Serrano Valley. The out and back distance from the day parking lot at Sycamore Canyon is 7.6 miles. Seventy one species were identified. Do be cautious of poison oak on this trail.

        Beginning in the grassland were Bush Mallow, Cliff Aster, California Buckwheat, Chicory, Black Mustard, Slender Tarweed, and Slender Aster. In small clumps of chaparral, becoming denser as the trails dips into the canyon were Laurel Sumac, Chemise, Deerweed, Morning Glory, and Black Sage. There are stands of Toyon with limbs bending, heavy with flowers. One Golden Star was seen among an abundance of Purple Sage, Bird’s Beak, Bush Monkey Flower, and Narrow Leaved Milkweed; and less common are California Fuchsia and Horehound. Creek Monkey Flowers are at most of the many stream crossings, with Scarlet Monkey Flower much less frequent. At the upper end of the canyon are many Heart Leaf Penstemon, Plummer’s Mariposa Lilies, and Scarlet Larkspur. A new sighting for me turned out to be the rare Cream Bush. Only one of the largest plants still had blossoms, but there is a sizable distribution along several hundred feet of trail. Farewell-to-Spring, Honeysuckle, and Indian Pink are distributed along most of the trail. Bright red Rose Hips now outnumber Wild Rose blooms. A few Humboldt Lilies are still blooming along a section of trail where the sound of the rushing stream is muffled by many ferns on both sides of the trail. Also seen in the canyon were Yucca, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Chalk Live-Forever, Lance Leaved Live-Forever, Fleabane Aster, and Hedge Nettle. Turning down Big Sycamore Canyon, the trail is lined with Poison Hemlock, Elderberry, large Datura blossoms, Castor Bean, and Wild Elderberry.  (BE)


Naturalist's rating:  Very Good


Rancho Sierra Vista &

Point Mugu State Park

Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail

 Date: 6/30/05



        We hiked a loop beginning at Rancho Sierra Vista on the Satwiwa Loop Trail and headed out to the waterfalls in Upper Sycamore Canyon. From there we headed down the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail to the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road and then back to the parking lot at RSV, perhaps a total of four miles. About seventy five different species were encountered, but because many are of the weedy variety or only lightly represented we only give a rating of good.

        Highlights include Slender Tarweed, Turkey Mullein, Spanish Clover, Narrow-leaved Milkweed, Gum Plant, Bush Mallow, Morning Glory, Soap Plant, Long-beaked Filaree, California Poppy, Laurel Sumac, Toyon, Elderberry, Cliff Aster, Twiggy Wreath Plant, a good showing of Plummer's Mariposa Lily, a couple Humboldt Lily, Farewell-to-Spring, Elegant Clarkia, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Scarlet Larkspur, Bush Monkey Flower, Scarlet Monkey Flower, Round-leaved Boykinia, Yarrow, Bush Lupine, California Wild Rose, Fish's Milkwort, Snowberry, Pitcher Sage, Crimson Pitcher Sage, Leather Root, Fleabane Aster, Branching Phacelia, Large-flowered Phacelia, Bird's Beak, and Indian Pink.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Malibu Creek State Park

Miscellaneous trails near the main entrance

 Date: 6/28/05



        We hiked several of the trails between the main entrance parking lot and Century Lake including the whole length of the beautiful Mott Adobe trail. As elsewhere wildflowers are on the wane, but the appearance of some of the summer bloomers reminds us that there are still plenty of reasons to get and enjoy the view. About ninety species were encountered, but because many are of the weedy variety or only lightly represented we only give a rating of good,

        Twiggy Wreath Plant, Slender Tarweed, California Wild Rose, Elderberry, Purple Clarkia, Elegant Clarkia, Farewell-to-Spring, Vinegar Weed, Narrow-leaved Milkweed, Bush mallow, Annual Paintbrush, Cattail, Speedwell, Wand Mullein, Turkey Mullein, Cliff Aster, White Sage, Purple Sage, Golden Yarrow, Morning Glory, Turkish Rugging, Caterpillar Phacelia, Sticky Phacelia, Branching Phacelia, Sticky False-gilia, Chaparral Honeysuckle, Foothill Penstemon, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Gourd, Gum Plant, Soap Plant, Datura, Woolly Blue Curls, Fleabane Aster, Matilija Poppy, Toyon, Wild Heliotrope, Long-beaked Filaree, Indian Milkweed, Chalk-leaved Live-forever, Lance-leaved Live-forever, California Fuchsia, and Water Cress.  (TV).


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail

 Date: 6/18/05



        We started from the group campground and walked down to the Grotto and back, a round trip of about 2.5 miles. The trail has been recently brushed so it was a pleasure to walk. Now heading into summer we were pleased to see some of our favorite flowers including Plummer's Mariposa Lily, Humboldt Lily, Bush Mallow, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Scarlet Monkey Flower, Fleabane Aster, and Scarlet Larkspur. Lately I've been seeing California Fuchsia in several places here at Circle X and was pleased to see they are beginning to bloom on the Grotto trail as well. All told we encountered almost 70 species in bloom. Other highlights include California Wild Rose, Soap Plant, Bush Monkey Flower, Yellow Monkey Flower, Elegant Clarkia, Farewell-to-Spring, Toyon, Woolly Blue Curls, Elderberry, White Nightshade, Morning Glory, Golden Yarrow, Golden Stars, Indian Pink, Fish's Milkwort, Bird's Beak, Western Thistle, and even a holdout Catalina Mariposa Lily.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Very Good


Malibu Creek State Park

Tapia Spur Trail

 Date: 6/14/05



        We only hiked the section of this trail between the entrance road of the Salvation Army camp in Tapia Park to the group campsite in Malibu Creek State Park, a bit less than a mile. Highlights include Indian Milkweed, Narrow-leaved Milkweed, Golden Yarrow, Foothill Penstemon, Canchalagua, Sticky False Gilia, Chamise, Common Vervain, Purple Clarkia, Elegant Clarkia, Woolly Blue Curls, Bush Mallow, White Snapdragon, Woolly Monkey Flower, Yellow Monkey Flower, Bush Monkey Flower, Scarlet Larkspur, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Elderberry, Indian Pink, Honeysuckle, Toyon, Yellow Pincushion, White Pincushion, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Turkish Rugging, Bush Poppy, Purple Nightshade, Branching Phacelia, Cliff Aster, Lance-leaf Live-Forever, Yucca, Mustard Evening Primrose, Long-beaked Filaree, White Sage and a couple of different Sunflowers.  (TV).


Naturalist's rating:  Very Good


Lower Zuma Canyon

Ocean View &
Canyon View trails

 Date: 6/13/05



        Although the lower trails in lower Zuma Canyon tend to be rather "weedy," the upper ones can provide a nice display of native wildflowers. The Ocean View / Canyon View loop is only a little over two and a half miles, but the elevation change adds significantly to the workout. I also added the short Scenic Trail loop and found a couple of nice flowers there as well. Parts of the Canyon View trail had an annoying burden of star thistle and made wearing shorts uncomfortable. Over 70 species of flowers were seen, although there are many "weedy" ones in this count and some are only lightly represented as they are on their way out for the season. Sections of the trail were worthy of a very good rating although most was only good.

        Highlights include Datura, Elderberry, Common Vervain, Bush Mallow, Canyon Sunflower, Yucca, Horehound, Turkey Mullein, White Nightshade, Branching Phacelia, Morning Glory, Cliff Aster, Yarrow, Golden Yarrow, Bush Lupine, Twiggy Wreath Plant, California Poppy, Bush Monkey Flower, Creek Monkey Flower, Scarlet Monkey Flower, Toyon, Black Sage, Purple Sage, Gum Plant, Western Thistle, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Pink, Soap Plant, Plummer's Mariposa Lily, several different Dudleyas, Chamise, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Chaparral Honeysuckle and Fish's Milkwort.  (TV).


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Circle X Ranch

Sandstone Peak via the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead

 Date: 6/12/05



        Our main purposes on this hike were to visit Sandstone Peak and to check on the progress of the Rein Orchids on the Mishe Mokwa trail. These inconspicuous slow growing plants are finally beginning to bloom, rewarding the real die hard flower enthusiast. The variety of flowers is down as we head into summer, although this section of trail is never spectacular in that particular way.

        Many of the fifty or so species encountered are of the "weedy" variety or on their last legs, so to speak. However, there are still respectable displays of Bush Lupine, Yellow Monkey Flower, Woolly Blue Curls, Black Sage, Chamise, Deerweed, Yucca, Caterpillar Phacelia, and the Clarkias, although they are on their way out.

        Still going strong are California Buckwheat, Bush Monkey Flower, Turkish Rugging, Golden Yarrow, Lance-leaf Live-forever, Golden Stars, Yellow Mariposa Lily, Branching Phacelia, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Flax-Flowered Linanthus, Chaparral Honeysuckle and Pitcher Sage.

        Early yet in their blooming cycle are Scarlet Larkspur, Slender Tarweed, Soap Plant, Bird's Beak, Chalk Live-forever, Rein Orchid, and the magnificent Humboldt Lily.   (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good




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:


Burt Elliot
Dorothy Steinicke
Jack Gillooly
Kathy Jonokuchi
Ken Low
Lynne Haigh
Michael Charters
Matt Friedman
Robert W. Maughmer
Sheila Braden
Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:




or phone Tony at 310-457-6408