Available Sites


Circle X Ranch
Point Mugu State Park
Malibu Springs

Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Revised: 9/06/04

 See the photo gallery of What’s Blooming at: http://www.nps.gov/samo/bloom/bloom.htm

Flowers are still blooming in spite of mid summer heat and little rainfall this year. Try
some of the walks listed below. Early morning or late days are coolest.

Circle X Ranch


Date Observed:9/03/04

We are pretty much down to the summer bloomers now, many of which will continue to bloom for some time. At the dry top end of the trail you can find Milk-asters (both Tejon and Twiggy Wreath Plant) and the similar Cliff-Aster. The delightful purple and gold Woolly Aster is everywhere as are the Sawtooth Goldenbush. Finally, Both Hoary and California Fuchsia add a striking red to this bone-dry area.

Down below near the grotto we encounter Wild Tarragon and the related

Mugwort in bloom. Right in the damper area of the creek bed are several excellent examples of the dramatic Scarlet Monkey Flower.

Also seen blooming on the trail are Slender Tarweed, Narrow-leaved Milkweed,

Black Mustard, California Buckwheat, Ashyleaf Buckwheat, Felt-leaf Everlasting, Telegraph Weed, California Sagebrush, and Morning Glory.

And yes, there is still running water and tadpoles at the Grotto. (TV)

Naturalist's rating: Fair


Point Mugu State Park    

Ray MillerTrail

Date Observed:8/19/04

This first link of the Backbone Trail starts just off Pacific Coast Highway. The trail was in good condition, the cool ocean breeze was welcoming and the view of the Pacific Ocean (with cavorting dolphins) was grand, but the blooms were poor. The parched condition of the chaparral was disheartening and the flower sightings were limited to 11 species. The yellow blooms included sweet fennel, saw-toothed golden bush, slender tarweed, and hedge mustard. Several hoary fuchsias were the only reds and the pinks seen were wand buckwheat, and ashy-leaved buckwheat. Contributing to the violet tints were a few bush mallow, wooly aster, and wand chicory. Other sightings of note were a few mountain mahogany feathery seed pappi. (RWM)

Naturalist's rating: Poor



Malibu Springs Area

Malibu Springs Trail

Date Observed:8/05/04

Hiking the trails in the Malibu Springs area just off Mulholland Highway, we found the weather beautiful and cool, but the flowers were few in this dry area. Only 13 species were found to be blooming and these not very plentiful. Yellow flowers found were hedge mustard, slender tarweed, gum plant, saw tooth golden bush, and a single Spanish broom. Amongst the white blooms were only cliff aster, chaparral honeysuckle, and morning glory. Wooly aster was the only lavender bloom and the pink/red colors were represented by ashy-leaved buckwheat, Calif. Thistle, Calif. Fuschia and wand buckwheat. Other sightings were catkins on the sycamore treeds, the large powder puff pappus of the virgin’s bower, berries on the holly-leaved red berry and lots of mountain mahogany displaying their feather-like seed pappi. (RWM)

Naturalist's rating: Poor




Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Zuma Canyon and Loop Trails

Date Observed:8/02/04

The variety of plants seen on this hike were few, but the number of flowers blooming was amazing. This canyon obviously has underground water because of the number of large trees healthy trees, such as sycamore, elderberry and mule fat on the canyon bottom. Fog and fog drip certainly helps also. We saw 17 varieties blooming. Most memorable were the masses of ashy-leaf buckwheat blooms everywhere, the yellow blooms on the scale broom and the wooly asters with their purple petals and yellow centers. Also blooming are the artemisiasmugwort, California sagebrush and false tarragon. Laurel sumac is blooming again! (another indication of ground water.) On the upper areas if the loop trail you’ll see a few stray blooms including coast goldenbush.  (SB)

Naturalist's rating: Very Good



Contact Information:

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

web. www.nps.gov/samo

Thank you for your contributions:
Robert W. Maughmer

Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:

e-mail: sheila_braden@nps.gov
or phone her at