Available Sites

 Date of Review

 Site Revised: 10/29/04

Circle X Ranch
Point Mugu State Park
Rancho Sierra Vista
Paramount Ranch

10/22/04 & 10/13/04
10/20/04 & 10/12/04
10/20/04 & 10/11/04

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

The Rec Area has seen enough rain that the creeks and falls are now running in many areas. The ground in exposed areas is turning green as we begin to see a wealth of small plants poking through the damp soil. By this weekend many of the trails will have dried enough to be free of the worst of the mud. The cool fall weather helps make strenuous hiking more safe and enjoyable.


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail

Date Observed:10/22/04

The recent rain and cooler weather has made everything feel fresh and clean. The sunny sides of slopes are showing a multitude of tiny green plants that have sprouted in the last few days. However, it seems even the summer bloomers are running out now, many of which are down to a few isolated individuals still blooming when most of their siblings have already gone to seed. In addition, many of the individuals still blooming are a bit faded and/or wilted. At the top end of the trail you can still find Milk-asters (both Tejon and Twiggy Wreath Plant) and the similar Cliff-Aster. The Woolly Asters are looking a bit faded but are still easy to find. Only a few Sawtooth Goldenbush are still blooming, most instead showing their brown dandelion-like seed heads. The California Fuchsia is still plentiful adding a striking red to the landscape. Down near the grotto we encounter California Sagebrush and Wand Buckwheat. The tadpoles are at last gone but the pools of the creek are all full again and the sound of water is everywhere.

Elsewhere at CXR one can see booming Bush Senecio, Black Mustard, California Buckwheat, Ashy Leaf Buckwheat, Felt-leaf Everlasting, Telegraph Weed, California Brickelbush, Coyote Brush, Toyon, Tree Tobacco, and even a few Red Shank blossoms.

Naturalist's rating: Poor


Rancho Sierra Vista /

Point Mugu State Park

Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail

Date Observed:10/20/04

This hike was done on a very overcast morning during a respite between the showers of a multi-day storm. Starting from the inner most parking lot at Rancho Sierra Vista, hike to the Sycamore Canyon Road and turn left on Old Boney Road just before the Sycamore Canyon Road starts downhill. You will be returning up this hill. Hike along the rim of the canyon, up a steep hill, then down into the canyon. As Boney Road begins to level out in the canyon turn right on the narrow Sycamore Canyon Trail. There are almost no flowers, but the green of many trees is deepening, contrasting with the pastel colors of fallen leaves and grasses. The pink of the Ashyleaf Buckwheat merges nicely with the other pastels. Occasionally brilliant scarlet California Fuchsia is seen with the flowers bowed from being pummeled by the rain. The stream is running for the first time in many months, but by the fourth crossing is again underground. Turn right at the Big Sycamore Canyon Road and hike back to the start. One can always count on seeing the yellow bloom of the Telegraph Weed along the road. Out in the open now, Coyote Brush is beginning to add its bright white to the scene. The soil on this hike drains well and what little mud is present is easily avoided. It can be hiked even in light rain. (BE)

Naturalist's rating: Poor


Circle X Ranch

Sandstone Peak Trail

Date Observed:10/13/04

It seems even the summer bloomers are running out now, many of which are down to a few isolated individuals still blooming when most of their siblings had already gone to seed for the season. In addition, many of the individuals still blooming are a bit faded and/or wilted This is a good time of year to see if you can identify plants when in seed. Nevertheless, we saw a few saw examples of Bush Senecio, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Tejon Milk Aster, Wooly Aster, Sawtooth Golden Bush, and California Buckwheat. (TV)

Naturalist's rating: Poor


Point Mugu State Park

La Jolla Canyon Trail

Date Observed: 10/12/04

       On 10/12/04 we hiked the La Jolla Canyon Trail to the Large pond at the north end of the trail and returned via one of the loop trails. The degree of the present drought was evidenced by the total lack of water in the pond. Over the last 6 years I have never seen this pond dry, but this year the cracked mud bottom was fully exposed. The little pond and spring about 0.6 miles north of the trail head was also completely dry, another first. Despite these outward signs of the drought a surprising number of blooms were encountered along the trail, 23 different species to be exact. This is more than were seen on hikes in July and August this year.

       The yellow blooms were the dominant group and included sawtooth goldenbush, telegraph weed, Calif. sage brush, sweet fennel, tree tobacco, western goldenrod, hedge mustard, gum plant, and ragweed. White flowers seen were morning glory, ashy-leaved buckwheat, coyote bush, mule flat, cud weed, cliff aster and laurel sumac. Even reds were represented with scarlet monkey flower, hoary fuchsia, and wand buckwheat being spotted. Wooly aster, vervain, Calif. loosestrife and several bush mallow represented the lavender/purple colors.

       The wildlife seen included brush rabbits, groups of tits, and one granddaddy of a Calif. whiptail lizards that must have been 16 to 18 inches long. I don't know where the wild life is getting its water, but it seems to be plentiful with lots of deer tracks also seen. (RWM)

Naturalist's rating: Fair


Paramount Ranch

Coyote Canyon Trail

Date Observed: 10/11/2004

The hillside behind the meadow and the Coyote Canyon Trail are covered with large yellow hawkfield tarweed flowers interspersed with blue flowers of chicory. The trail has a very nice patch of vinegar weed. Also blooming were coast goldenbush, bush mallow and ashy leaf buckwheat. (SB)

Naturalist's rating: Fair


Rancho Sierra Vista

Native Plant Garden

Date Observed: 10/11/2004

Reliable water brings out continual bloom here. You'll see both spring (fuchsia flowered gooseberry, verbain, California wild rose, sticky monkey flower, purple sage, bladderpod, yerba mansa) and summer blooms (California fuchsia, conejo buckwheat, wand buckwheat) as well as dried berries (rose hips) and pods (yerba mansa, narrow-leaved milkweed) (SB)


Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


Ph. 805-370-2301


web. www.nps.gov/samo


Thank you


for your contributions:


Robert W. Maughmer
Burt Elliott
Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:


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