By James Webb
About James (Jim) Webb: Jim began volunteering with Sugarlaof Ridge State Park last February 2023 as a trail patrol volunteer. His experience in previous work with USFS lends itself to very detailed trail reports. His reports of “What’s Blooming/Fruiting?” are a naturalist’s weekly treat, and his most recent efforts, concentrated on meticulous examination of data from our trails has led to improved data concerning ease of access descriptions of trails and areas in the park.

SpiceBush (Calycanthus occidentalis). Photo courtesy of Jim Webb

Hillside Trail:

The Hillside Trail is a road and is a relatively easy walk, though there are a couple of steep grades.  Flowering plants currently in bloom along the trail include Pink Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula, shown above), Few Flowered Collinsia (Collinsia sparsifolia), Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla), Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana), California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica), Miniature Lupine (Lupinus bicolor), California (common) Buttercup (Ranunculus californicus),  Fernald’s Iris (Iris fernaldii), Common Woodland Star (Lithophragma affine), Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum), California Blackberry (Rubus ursinus), Ithuriel’s Spear (Triteleia laxa), California Rose (Rosa californica), Forked Tooth Ookow (Dichelostemma congestum), Harvest Brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans), Goldenbanner (Thermopsis californica), Narrow Leaved Mule’s Ears (Wyethia angustifolia), Hill Morning Glory (Calystegia collina), and Rigid Hedge Nettle (Stachys rigida).

Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia Formosa). Photo courtesy of Jim Webb.

Brushy Peaks Trail:

The Brushy Peaks Trail currently provides a nice look at the diversity of native wildflowers in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The trail starts as a road at the Hillside Trail, then winds by gentle switchbacks through a mixed forest to the ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains where it passes through dry chaparral. Flowering plants currently in bloom along the trail include Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia Formosa, shown above), Globe Lily (Calochortus amabilis), Forked Tooth Ookow (Dichelostemma congestum), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Ithuriel’s Spear (Triteleia laxa), Common Wood Star (Lithophragma affine), Few flowered Colinsia (Collinsia sparsiflora), Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla), Miniature Lupine (Lupinus bicolor), Orange Bush Lupine (Diplocus arantiacus), Canyon Delphinium (Delphinium nudicaule), Bush Morning Glory (Calystegia occidentalis), Goldwire (Hypericum concinnum), Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), Woolly Sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum), California Milkwort (Rhinotropis californica), Amole (Chlorogalum pomeridianum), Elegant Rein Orchid (Piperia elegans), California Buckeye (Aesculus californica), Annual Agoseris (Agoseris heterophylla), Parry’s Ceanothus (Ceanothus parryi), Solanum xanti, Texas Paintbrush (Castilleja foliosa), and California Helianthella (Helianthella californica).

Yellow Mariposa (Calochortus luteus). Photo courtesy of Jim Webb

Creekside Nature Trail:

I walked the segment of the Gray Pine Trail from the Brushy Peaks Trail to the Meadow Trail, a steep road section with many loose rocks that can roll under shoes or boots.  Flowering plants currently in bloom along the trail include Yellow Mariposa (Calochortus luteus, shown above), Globe Lily (Calochortus amabilis), Orange Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiaca), Forked Tooth Ookow (Dichelostemma congestum), Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), Purple Clarkia (Clarkia purpurea), Farewell to Spring (Clarkia amoena), Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californica), Gold Wire (Hypericum concinnum), Woolly Sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum), Bush Morning Glory (Calystegia occidentalis), Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), Harvest Brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans), Ithuriel’s Spear (Triteleia laxa), White Hawkweed (Hieracium albiflorum), California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica), Pink Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), Yarrow (Achillea millefollium), Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana), California Blackberry (Rubus ursinus), and California Helianthella (Helianthella californica).

SpiceBush (Calycanthus occidentalis). Photo courtesy of Jim Webb.

Meadow Trail:

The Meadow Trail is a well graded natural surface road running from the Observatory to the junction of the Gray Pine and Brushy Peaks Trails.  The road is nearly level–an easy walk for most users–and, though not ADA compliant, it may be navigated by many users needing assistance. Flowering plants currently in bloom along the trail include SpiceBush (Calycanthus occidentalis, shown above), BroadLeaf Lupine (Lupinus lattifolia), Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana), Miniature Lupine (Lupinus bicolor), California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Globe Lily (Calochortus amabilis), California Blackberry (Rubus ursinus), Bush Morning Glory (Calystegia occidentalis), True Babystars (Leptosiphon bicolor), Farewell to Spring (Claytonia amoena), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Blue Witch (Solanum umbelliferum), and Small Tarweed (Madia exigua).