Page Revised: 12/22/04


Available Sites

Rancho Sierra Vista
Solstice Canyon
Circle X Ranch
Point Mugu State Park

Date of Review

12/20/04 & 11/11/04
12/11/04 & 12/10/04 & 12/06/04 & 12/02/04
12/11/04 & 11/13/04 & 11/11/04

See the photo gallery of What’s Blooming at:

The early rains this year has gotten the new blooming season off to an early start. The trails have greened up nicely and we are beginning to see a significant number of flowers of the new blooming season.



Rancho Sierra Vista

Satwiwa Loop Trail

 Date: 12/20/04



       Only 12 species are blooming (so far) on this 1.5 mile easy trail, but more then half of the trail is covered with blooms of big pod ceanothus and wild cucumber. Other notable flowers were shooting stars (earliest we have ever seen them), mulefat, deerweed and everlasting. Greenbark ceanothus is covered with buds and the buds on the California peony should be open within the week if this warm weather continues. (SB)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Solstice Canyon

Solstice Canyon Trail

 Date: 12/12/04



       Along the easy trail to Tropical Terrace, beautiful fall colors are everywhere. The most amazing thing, however, is the number of spring flowers already blooming. Standouts among the 20 species seen were milkmaids, wild cucumber, both purple and white nightshades, black sage, beggar ticks, bay trees and slopes covered with big pod ceanothus. Be sure to smell the flowers on the bay trees which smell like mild gardenias and so different from the spicy smell of the bay leaves. The alders have already produced both catkins and cones. Fall holdovers (mostly bristly seeds, but some flowers) included brickle bush, cliff asters, California fuchsia, coyote brush, bush mallow and ashy-leaf buckwheat. This is definitely a promising beginning to our flower season. (SB)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Circle X Ranch /

Point Mugu State Park

Backbone Trail

 Date: 12/11/04



       This hike was the second of the 2004-2005 NPS Backbone Trail Series. We will be hiking the entire Backbone Trail, one part each month and reporting on the flowers seen. This hike was from the Sandstone Peak Trailhead in Circle X Ranch to Danielson Ranch, a distance of 9 miles. This included the Sandstone Peak Trail, Chamberlain Trail, Old Boney Road and Blue Canyon Trail. The weather was unseasonably warm, cloudless, and visibility unlimited.

       It is still early in the growing season and with our hike starting at an altitude of 2,100 feet we were effectively yet earlier in the season compared to lower elevations. Even here the Big Pod Ceanothus is blooming profusely. We could see a variation of color from white to pale lavender or blue among the different plants. The Bush Senecio that have been blooming the along the ascent to Sandstone Peak the last few months still had a few blossoms for us. The scarcity of flowers leads us to be delighted in seeing even Black Mustard and Common Groundsel. There were quite a few Chaparral Current in the early stages of blooming. Eastwood Manzanita is dominant along the trail but the only Manzanita blooms seen were on the Bigberry Manzanitas. As we descended below Chamberlain Rock we saw the tiny white flowers of Rattlesnake Weed (Spurge) on decomposing shale hillsides. Some California Fuchsia and Mule Fat are still to be seen in low places in Blue Canyon. (BE and TV)


Naturalist's rating: Fair


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail

 Date: 12/10/04



       Very few flowers on this two mile round trip to the Grotto and back. New in the last week or so we see quite a few Big-pod Ceanothus beginning to bloom nicely. Otherwise, the only plants in bloom on this trail in any quantity are California Fuchsia and California Sagebrush. Isolated stragglers left from last year's blooming season include Woolly Aster, Wand Buckwheat, California Buckwheat, Felt-leaf Everlasting, and Cliff Aster. Telegraph Weed deserves its own note as it has been quite exuberant in it's blooming over the last few weeks, however, it is only visible at the very top of this trail. (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Poor


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak loop

 Date: 12/06/04



       Very few flowers blooming on this six-mile loop that includes a stop at Sandstone Peak. A half inch of rain yesterday has made the trail quite muddy in a few places although for the most part this trail is well drained. Almost nothing is left from last year's blooming season. We found one faded Wooly Aster in bloom, a single example of Bush Senecio, some mostly finished California Sagebrush and Coyote Brush, and a sparse scattering of California Buckwheat. The only flower present from the new blooming season in any quantity was the delightful Chaparral Current. Early examples of both Bigberry Manzanita and Bigpod Ceanothus can also be found. There were several other plants showing buds but the recent cool weather will no doubt slow down their opening. (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Poor


Circle X Ranch

 Backbone Trail below Triunfo Peak

 Date: 12/02/04



       This relatively new section of the backbone starts in the South parking lot of the Mishe Mokwa trailhead and proceeds four miles South-East of Yerba Buena before intersecting Yerba Buena again. A good portion of this trail is spent looping around Triunfo Peak. The trail provides grand views of the ocean and the day we did the hike we could see both San Nicolas and San Clemente as well as the much closer Santa Catalina and the Islands of Channel Islands National Park. Evidence of deer is plentiful including many tracks and plants growing in unusual shapes and sizes because of the heavy browsing. This hike included a side trip to Triunfo Peak.
       We are beginning to see a few examples of the first flowers of the new blooming season including Chaparral Currant, Bigberry Manzanita, Bigpod Ceanothus, Golden Yarrow, Two-tone Everlasting, and Sugar Bush. Still blooming in a few places from the last season are Rock Rose, Bleeding Heart, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Cliff Aster, Woolly Aster, California Fuchsia and California Sagebrush. (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Poor


Point Mugu State Park

 Backbone Trail

 Date: 11/13/04



       This hike was the first of the 2004-2005 NPS Backbone Trail Series. We will be hiking the entire Backbone Trail, one part each month and reporting on the flowers seen. The hike was from the western Backbone Trailhead in La Jolla Canyon to Danielson Ranch, a distance of just over 8 miles. (Ray Miller Trail, Overlook Fire Road, Wood Canyon Vista Trail, Sycamore Canyon Fire Road)

       Hiking from La Jolla Canyon to Danielson Ranch during the best wildflower season we would expect to record about 40 species. This day we noted 16 species with several having only a few flowers. Tree Tobacco, Telegraph Weed, and the Mustards are almost always to be seen. Woolly Aster, Cliff Aster, California Fuchsia, Coyote Brush, Chicory, Wand and Ashy leaf Buckwheat, and Mule Fat are nearing the end of their blooming cycle. Early blooming Rattlesnake Weed, Bladder Pod, Chaparral Current, Greenbark Ceanothus, and Deerweed were seen. By the time this report is published many more species will be blooming. We saw many new buds, but restricted ourselves to only report plants in flower. (BE and RMW)


Naturalist's rating: Poor


Rancho Sierra Vista /

Point Mugu State Park

Wendy Trail /

Boney Mountain Trail

Date Observed:




        On 11/11/04 we hiked the Wendy Trail to the Satwiwa Trail to the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail to the waterfall and then the Boney Mountain Trail to the Danielson Monument. This was a 6 mile hike during which only 15 species of flora were found to be in bloom. This was a decidedly a poor showing, but the first blooms of the new season were encountered, the lovely pink and white of the chaparral current. The views down into upper Sycamore Canyon with the sycamore trees still yellow against the darker green of the other trees and chaparral were spectacular. The waterfall at the head of the canyon was flowing with a steady stream of water and the creek babbled incessantly. Yellow was the leader in number of species blooming with sow thistle, hedge mustard, sweet fennel, telegraph weed and lots of Calif. sagebrush. White was represented only by coyote bush, cliff aster and ashy-leaved buckwheat. Wooly aster and vervain contributed lavender to color scheme. Pink/red were represented by wild roses, wand buckwheat, chaparral current and lots of hoary fuchsia. Also seen was Russian thistle blooming. (RMW)


Naturalist's rating: Poor


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




Thank you


for your contributions:


Robert W. Maughmer
Burt Elliott

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:




or phone him at 310-457-6408