Available Sites

 Date of Review

 Page Revised: 11/2/04

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

11/2/04   & 10/22/04
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 some of the creeks and falls are now running. The ground in exposed areas is turning green as we begin to see a wealth of small plants poking through the damp soil. Most trails 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

Mishe Mokwa loop Trail

Date Observed:11/2/04

Very few flowers blooming on this six mile loop that includes a stop at Sandstone Peak. The trail itself is in excellent condition with essentially no mud left from last week's rain. Green grass and other small plants are a welcome sight. There were a few patches of Wooly Aster, a single example of Bush Senecio in bloom, a couple of small Sawtooth Goldenbush blossoms, some Coyote Bush, California Sagebrush and a sparse scattering of California Buckwheat.


Blooming elsewhere at Circle X (but none plentiful): California Fuchsia, Cliff Aster, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Tejon Milk-aster, Ashy Leaf Buckwheat, Wand Buckwheat, Toyon, Telegraph Weed, California Brickelbush, Tree Tobacco, Black Mustard, Felt-leaf Everlasting, Deerweed, and even a few Red Shank blossoms. (TV)

Naturalist's rating: Poor


Rancho Sierra Vista

Hidden Pond Trail

Date Observed:10/29/04

        The recent rains are evidenced by the deep runoff ruts cut in the trails on the steeper slopes of the Hidden Pond Trail out of the Rancho Sierra Vista area on 10/29/04, but no water is running in any of the creeks as yet. Only 15 different species were displaying blooms with only a single sample of many of them. For a 9 mile hike only 15 species rates a poor rating on the old bloom-o-meter. The Hidden Pond was virtually still hidden in as much as only a 20 foot puddle was seen whereas the dried Tules implied nearly 3/4 acre pond when the water was plentiful. Since the pond is atop a mesa like meadow, there are no streams to feed it so I assume it must get all of its moisture from direct rainfall, which would indicate that a lot more rain is needed to fill it up.

        The dominant color of blooms were in the yellow hues and included hedge mustard, telegraph weed, a single deerweed and prickly pear and coast golden bush, sweet fennel and a few bush monkey flowers. Amongst the whites were coyote bush, ashy-leaved buckwheat, cliff aster and mule fat. In the lavender part of the spectrum we still see wooly aster, a few bush mallow and wand chicory. Wand buckwheat added a little pink to the color starved flora. Other sightings include turkey mullein.

         The hike started at the parking lot at Ranch Sierra Vista and proceeded south to the upper part of Big Sycamore Canyon, thence west along the Hidden Pond Trail to near Ranch Center with a return on Ranch Center Road. (RWM)

Naturalist's rating: Poor


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


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