Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 19, 2012

Recent Nature Outings: Carson Pass and Del Norte

Kathi recently sent the following wildflower report that mentions a different trail in the Carson Pass/Frog Lake area.

Thank you soooo much for everything you do on your blog site!!! We did the Carson Pass/Mono Lake (with osprey!)/Tioga Pass Road loop the past couple of days with your postings in hand & had a great time! Found everything where you said it would be, and even found some Gentians on Tuolumne Meadows as a bonus.

Discovered a different trail that makes for an interesting return loop from Frog Lake at Carson Pass: it’s seems to be a blue diamond cross country ski trail in the winter, and it scrambles through the large boulders east of the main trail. Lots of rock-garden ground cover plants blooming in between the granite rocks. Very sweet. Probably warm-to-hot midday, but it was late afternoon when we were there. It ends at a paved side road (which leads to an overlook), just east of the Carson Pass parking lot. There’s a picnic table on that road, and an iron ranger, so I guess it’s officially part of the Park/Monument/WA. Lots of Ipomopsis there, in both orange and pink. Good hiking boots a must.

Thanks again – the Alpine Lilies were worth the trip, all by themselves.

Click read more do read her wildflower and birding report from a trip to Del Norte Coutny two weeks ago

We were there July 2-5, and the Columbia lilies along Highway 101, south of Crescent City a few miles, were spectacular. The most blooms in recent memory, multiple flowers per stalk (7 was minimum), and since the verge had been mowed a few months back, the lilies were truly outstanding. Many still only buds at that point, so the great show should still be on-going.East of Crescent City, out Hwy 199, along South Fork Rd, there are lots of boggy seeps on the cutbank, which include western azalea, ferns, bolander lily (occasional), stream orchids, and darlingtonia. One of the best vertical bogs we’ve found is at 8.5 miles in, from Hwy 199. Very interesting plant community.

Fern Canyon, home of the Five-fingered fern walls, out at Gold Bluff Beach, had new footbridges in place, and the ferns could be enjoyed dry-footed for a change. Gold Bluff Beach, CA State owned, now accepts National Park Passes in lieu of Day-Use fees, for the first time this year.

Roosevelt Elk to be seen everywhere, along the Beach Park, and at the Prairie Creek Redwoods’ meadow, with young still with their spots.

Last year we saw white snails on the trails at Prairie Creek/Del Norte, which are predaceous on the regular brown snails. Maybe on banana slugs, too?

Thousands of Murres nesting(?) on False Klamath Rock, off Mill Pond Beach, and also on Castle Rock, north of Crescent City. Noisy and constant commotion.

Ospreys always to be found fishing at the mouth of the Klamath River. Occasionally bald eagles, as well, tho they don’t share air-space well.

Had just rained, on June 30, and July 3 & 4 were the first sunny days Crescent City had seen this season. No drought there—




  1. I forgot to mention the sundews, which out-number the darlingtonias, along the Smith River.


  2. I was at Carson Pass last week. I don’t know the names of the wildflowers we saw. I think that they may be at full bloom in the next week. I plan to return next week, The forestry department has closed some of the trail I normally go on. A beautiful spot to photograph the wildflowers is on the trail behind the Cal Trans work station. There’s a nice barn there also.
    I have also heard of a barn in Hope Valley that is always a good location to photgraph. Can anyone give me directions?


    • Thanks for the update on Carson Pass. I don’t know the Barn in Hope Valley, but I bet if you contact Sorenson’s Resort they will know. If you would like to submit a wildflower report after your next visit to Carson Pass it would be most welcomed.


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