Reports are that this is the best flower season the Santa Monica’s have seen in years.
Circle X Ranch- Mishe Mokwa Loop 4/15/17
This is always an amazing hike filled with different habitats and the plants that inhabit them. We began our hike from the second parking lot after you pass the park visitor center, the one marked as the Mishe Mokwa trailhead. When we came to the Backbone Trail we turned left onto it and made a clockwise loop going to Sandstone Peak and then Split Rock before returning to the parking lot, about 6 miles.
We were barely out of the parking lot before we were overwhelmed at the quantity of butterfly mariposa lilies, they filled the grasslands and trail edges, I don’t remember ever seeing so many. There was also blooming yucca, yarrow, black sage, popcorn flower, California chicory, chia, star lilies, twining snapdragon and yellow monkey flower. As we climbed toward Sandstone Peak we saw blooming chamise, sticky monkey flower, collarless poppies, mustard evening primrose and beautiful bush lupines. On the trail up to Sandstone Peak there were clumps of blooming phlox. Walking from Sandstone Peak to Split Rock there were blooming globe gilia, larkspur, yellow pin cushion and owls clover. Approaching Split Rock there are blue and white ceanothus that are not the usually found ones that are especially beautiful. From Split Rock back to the parking lot there were great patches of virgins bower, delicate woodland stars, parry’s phacelia, shiny lomatium, more blue dicks than can be imagined and a few of the flower we were hoping to find, chocolate lilies. It was a wonderful hike.
See older reports and photos at What’s Blooming
Santa Monica Mt. Quick Links:
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains – Photos of 1000 SMM plants.
Archive – Previous “What’s Blooming” reports.
Outdoors – The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
SMM WildFlowers – The Park’s popular wildflower app for the iPhone.
New! SMM WildFlowers – The Park’s popular wildflower app for Android smartphones (Pre-Release Beta Version)