Almost all field trips are free and open to all, but read the trip outlines to be sure they fit your needs and physical abilities. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, appropriate trail shoes, a camera, a notepad and lots of enthusiasm. A copy of the recently published Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mts. by Robert Allen and Fred Roberts is also very helpful. If you have other field trip suggestions or would like to lead or assist with a field trip, we would love to hear from you. Please email

Important – always check this website for current trip information.

Rain cancels – check this website after 7 pm the evening before the trip for final weather and trip updates.

   Upcoming trips (click on a trip to expand entry and see details):

{slide= Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – Sun., Nov. 9|green|active}

A great way to kick off the fall native planting season. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is an 86 acre museum of plants—a living collection. The Garden’s curated living collection contains more than 22,000 plants, representing nearly 1,400 species, hybrids and cultivars of native California flora. To take care of this vast collection, an accession system is vital. Plant curation, like art curation, involves the organization of information about its components. We will be guided into some special areas of the garden and discuss some hidden secrets of the collection. A behind-the-scenes tour of the RSA’s massive herbarium, which houses over 1.1 million specimens and is the tenth largest in the U.S will conclude the tour. Be sure to visit the Grow Natives Nursery following the visit.

Meet 9 AM at the entrance booth at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave, Claremont. For those who are not already members, there is an $8 entry fee. Bring comfortable shoes, camera, hat, notepad and enthusiasm.

Physical Difficulty: Easy. Short walking distances. Plant Intensity: High. Time: Approx. 3 hours.

{/slides}

Almost all field trips are free and open to all, but read the trip outlines to be sure they fit your needs and physical abilities. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, appropriate trail shoes, a camera, a notepad and lots of enthusiasm. A copy of the recently published Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mts. by Robert Allen and Fred Roberts is also very helpful. If you have other field trip suggestions or would like to lead or assist with a field trip, we would love to hear from you. Please email

Important – always check this website for current trip information.

Rain cancels – check this website after 7 pm the evening before the trip for final weather and trip updates.

   Upcoming trips (click on a trip to expand entry and see details):

{slide= Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – Sun., Nov. 9|green|active}

A great way to kick off the fall native planting season. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is an 86 acre museum of plants—a living collection. The Garden’s curated living collection contains more than 22,000 plants, representing nearly 1,400 species, hybrids and cultivars of native California flora. To take care of this vast collection, an accession system is vital. Plant curation, like art curation, involves the organization of information about its components. We will be guided into some special areas of the garden and discuss some hidden secrets of the collection. A behind-the-scenes tour of the RSA’s massive herbarium, which houses over 1.1 million specimens and is the tenth largest in the U.S will conclude the tour. Be sure to visit the Grow Natives Nursery following the visit.

Meet 9 AM at the entrance booth at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave, Claremont. For those who are not already members, there is an $8 entry fee. Bring comfortable shoes, camera, hat, notepad and enthusiasm.

Physical Difficulty: Easy. Short walking distances. Plant Intensity: High. Time: Approx. 3 hours.

{/slides}

Past Trips

{slide=Wood Canyon Wilderness, Laguna Beach - Sun., Jan. 12|green|closed}

1-11-14 UPDATE: The weather will be warm, so bring plenty of water. As everyone knows we are severely below our normal rainfall, so there will be virtually NO annuals to be seen. Nonethless, we will see and discuss the many other plants within the canyon and enjoy the nature all around us. By the way, yes, the parking location is in a residential area, but it is also the start of the Wood Canyon Trail. After assemblying, we will walk to the back of the park and immediately into the Aliso-Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park is a major green space in coastal Orange County, covering nearly 4,000 acres. Aliso and Wood Canyons are major drainages of the San Joaquin Hills. Most of Wood Canyon consists of coastal sage scrub, oak woodland and disturbed grassland plant communities, along with riparian environments. A number of sensitive plant species are present in the park, including many-stemmed dudleya, Pomona rattleweed, Orange County Turkish rugging, Palmer's grapplinghook, Aphanisma, Laguna Beach dudleya, scrub oak, western dichondra, hummingbird sage and others. During this early season trip we will hike along Wood Canyon Trail as far as the group wants to go, perhaps as far as the Mathis Cyn. Trail (5.6 total miles).

Park and meet at 8 AM at the curb in front of Canyon View Park, near the intersection of Canyon Vista Road and Silkwood in Aliso Viejo (.5 mi. NW of Pacific Park Drive). No water or restrooms on the trail. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, gentle downhill on good trails, then back. As much as 5.5 miles, depending on the group, but individuals can opt out and return at any point. Bring water, sunscreen, hat, camera and Wildflowers of OC and the Santa Ana Mts., if you have it. Trip time: Approximately three-four hours. Plant intensity: Medium.

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Field Trip Report: Wood Canyon [1/12/2014]

{slide=Limestone Canyon & Whiting Ranch – Sun., Jan 26|green|closed}

  

   1-25 Update:  All looks good for tomorrow morning. Remember that parking is $3 (cards or cash arer taken by the machine) or an OC Parks Pass. Since annuals are at a premium, we'll play a game - how many different species can we accurately identify. 96 were counted last Sunday. Can we beat that? Maybe 100? Maybe 110? Come along and let's find out, and learn from each other along the way.

  Limestone Canyon & Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park encompasses approximately 2,500 acres of riparian and oak woodland canyons, rolling grassland hills and steep slopes of coastal sage scrub and chaparral. The park is highlighted by scenic rock formations, intermittent streams and in spring, beautiful wildflowers. Roughly 90% of the park burned in the Santiago Fire of 2007 and the plants are still in a mid to late fire-succession period. We will explore the Southeastern portion of the park during this visit as we hunt for early wildflowers. We will likely walk along Raptor Road, Live Oak Trail, Serrano Road, Line Shack Road, Edison Road and the Serrano Cow Trail.

Meet 8 AM at the large parking and staging lot on Glenn Ranch Road, one-half mile E of Portola Parkway. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff. This trip does require a small parking fee or an OC Parks Annual Pass (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of the trip section for more details)!

Physical Difficulty: Moderate; we will decide upon the final distance and route as a group, but plan on up to four or five miles. There ARE some uphill sections; some downhill sections as well. Trip time: Approximately three hours. Plant intensity: Medium.

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Field Trip Report: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park [1/26/2014]

{slide= Lower Chiquita Ridge, Ladera Ranch – Sat., Feb. 1|green|closed}

1-30 UpdateDuring a preview visit today I went both North and South on Chiquita Trail from the starting point described below. North looks better, so we will change our plans just a little and go that direction. And we will not use a car shuttle, since the elevation change is less in that direction. We will meet at the location as described below, but will climb up to the ridge, then we will head South along the trail on the ridge (fairly level) all the way to Oso Parkway. We will return the same way, a total distance of about four miles. The first 1/4 mile is somewhhat steep, so bring good shoes and a walking pole if you use one. After that, it's just nice walking. It is possible that we might get a shower between now and Saturday (or even during the trip on Saturday), so be prepared for possibly slippery soil or wet skies. This is a trail that is not often visited, although bikers have found it, and it affords excellent view into Rancho Mission Viejo lands. We will be walking directly above Chiquito Canada, the canyon that the extension of the Foothill Tool Road would travel through - if it were ever approved. We will also see a portion of the land that is being developed by RMV Company as part of the large development and new housing in the area.

89 species were identified today (although a few were to the South trail, where will will not be going). We will see if we can beat that number on Saturday.

This area is on the western edge of Rancho Mission Viejo and usually provides a fine show of early spring flowers as well as diverse perennials and shrubs within the predominantly coastal sage scrub community. The habitat and soils are surprisingly varied and thus are rich in plant life. The area even includes a vernal pool (very dry this year). This ridge parallels the area proposed for the extension of the 241 Tollroad and you will see firsthand what is at stake by extending this highly debated transportation corridor.

The hike will begin by climbing up to the ridgetop. From there we will walk South along Lower Chiquita Ridge Trail, mostly following the ridge (Ladera Ridge), as we stop to admire the views and identify and discuss the wildflowers. Depending on the desires of the group, we will go about 1 to 2 miles along the ridge. Then, we will either drop back down to the base of the ridge and pick up a car shuttle back to our original starting point (about 2.5 miles); or we will retrace our steps back to our cars (about 3.5 miles). Leader: Ron Vanderhoff.

Meet 8 AM at the AM-PM Market & Gas Station on the SE corner of Crown Valley Parkway and Antonio Parkway. Parking is free. This is at the extreme eastern end of Crown Valley Pkwy. Bring water, hat, sunscreen, good walking shoes and, if you have it, a copy of the new book Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains. No water or restrooms.

Physical Difficulty: Moderate. Trip time: Approximately three hours. Plant intensity: Medium.

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Field Trip Report: Lower Chiquita Ridge, Ladera Ranch [2/1/2014]

{slide=Seaview Park and Niguel Peak to Aliso Peak – Sun., Feb 9|green|closed}

2-6 Update: A pre-visit today revealed 92 plant species. The trip is not particularly long, but there are some steep areas. Be prepared for 2-3 areas of up to a couple hundred yards of slippery downhill travel (and steep, slippery uphill on the return). I strongly suggest a lug-soled boot or shoe. Tennis shoes WILL be unsafe. If you use hiking poles, bring them. We will travel from Seaview Park to Aliso Peak, which is only about .8 miles. Along the way we will see specialties of this unique maritime chaparral habitat: Comarostaphylos (summer holly), Cneoridium (bush rue), Ceanothus megacarpus (bigpod ceanothus), Cercocarpus betuloides and hopefully C. minutiflorus (mountain mahogany's) and Rhamnus crocea (redberry buckthorn). We will then backtrack a short distance and slowly drop almost into Laguna Beach on the South side of Aliso Peak in order to see Euphorbia misera (cliff spurge), an enormous Opuntia tomentosa (woolly-joint prickly pear) and a couple of other plants. Then back to the cars.Aliso Peak from Niguel Hill

A great walk with great views along a portion of the Southern Ridge of Aliso Canyon. Experience a unique but rapidly diminishing coastal maritime chaparral plant community with lots of specialties like Comarostaphylos (summer holly), Ceanothus megacarpus (big pod manzanita) and maybe the only U.S. endemic population of Verbesina dissita (big-leaf crown beard). We will begin at Seaview Park and walk West down the ridge and to Aliso Peak.

Immediately following this trip will be an optional visit to the top of Bluebird Canyon to see the rare Ophioglossum – Adder’s Tongue Fern.This portion of the trip will be a rather quick, but is a chance to see the tiny population of one of OC’s rarest and most elusive plants. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff.

Meet 8 AM at the west end of Seaview Park, which is on Talavera Drive, just West of Pacific Island Drive, Laguna Niguel. Street parking is free. Bring comfortable shoes, water, camera, hat, notepad and enthusiasm. The new book Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains is a great field guide for this trip, bring it along.

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, but steep, rocky sections! The total trip is only about 2.5 miles, but there are two or three areas that are steep, uneven, rocky and easy to slip - more of a rut than a trail. If you have trouble going up or down 200 meter inclines you will have trouble. Plant Intensity: Medium. Time: Approx. 3 hours.

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Field Trip Report: Seaview Park to Aliso Peak [2/9/2014]

{slide= The Fossil Reef and Plants of Sheep Hills, Laguna Hills – Sun., March 2 - CANCELLED|green|closed}

3-1-14 UPDATE: Cancelled. Unfortunately, the potential for rain is still high and the trails will be quite wet and slippery. Perhaps we will try this trip again next year. Stay tuned.

Fossil Reef is a very unique 17 million year old preserved portion of a formerly submerged tropical shell reef. 48 species of marine vertebrates have been recorded from here. Extending for six miles across the Saddleback Valley, this unusual limestone deposit is also found on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, San Clemente Island, Santa Catalina Island, and in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. The exposures represent the ocean floor, as it existed 17 million years ago. The reef is unique, as it is part of an ancient sea floor, exposed by tectonic uplift and weathering processes, the same process that also formed the Santa Ana Mountains and the San Joaquin Hills. The marine muds, that later covered the limestone, contain plankton fossils, shark teeth, fish bones, marine mammal bones, and seaweed imprints. A large baleen whale was collected from here in 1981. Botanically, the unique geology and limestone soil supports Orange County’s only small colony of Astragalus pomonensis. We will search for other plants in this unique area and see what we can turn up. The area is now protected and is included in a small finger of Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Meet 8 AM at Aliso Viejo Community Park, 26361 Cedarbrook, Aliso Viejo. From there we will walk a short distance to the field trip/reef area. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff.

Physical Difficulty: Easy, with short walking distances and easy terrain. Note: Many feral honeybee colonies live in the fossil crevices. If you are allergic or have other fears, please be prepared.  Plant Intensity: Light. Time: Approx. 2-3 hours.

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{slide= Fairview Park Restoration and Vernal Pool – Sun., March 16|green|closed}

3-15-14 UPDATE: The weather will be warm and beautiful. A perfect day for a morning visit to a beautiful and rare coastal oasis of green space and native plants. See you there.

Fairview Park encompasses 208 acres of open space in Costa Mesa adjacent to the Santa Ana River consisting of bluffs, rare vernal pools, trails, native plant communities and wildlife. The area has been the subject of significant habitat improvements. In 2009, Phase I of the Fairview Park Wetlands and Riparian Habitat Project was completed, creating seventeen acres of riparian habitat and wetland ponds and streams, including 475 native trees, 8,520 shrubs, and 2,270 cuttings. Phase II is currently underway and includes completion of the ponds, a multipurpose trail, fencing, signage, and twenty three acres of native plantings. Fairview Park is also home to Orange County’s largest and most significant rare vernal pools. If we are lucky and have abundant winter rain the pools may fill and we might be able to see some of the rare plants associated with them.

Barry Nerhus, the restoration ecologist at the site, will help lead this trip and explain the habitat and ecology of this unique area.

Meet 8 AM in the parking lot at Fairview Park, located on Placentia Ave., midway between Victoria Street and Adams Ave.

Physical Difficulty: Easy. Short walking distances. Plant Intensity: Moderate. Time: Approx. 3 hours.

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Field Trip Report: Fairview Park [3/16/2014]

{slide= Elsinore Peak and S. Main Divide Road – Sun., March 23|green|closed}

3-21-14 UPDATE: This is going to be a fun trip. A pre-visit on Thursday revealed that the burn area along South Main Divide Road is displaying a surprisingly good show of wildflowers, in spite of the extremely dry winter. After we caravan up to South Main Divide Road, we will then head South to just below Elsinore Peak and see plenty of chocolate lilies, CA buttercups, meadow rue and others. The length of our visit here will depend upon the group. We will then had back North along the road and visit the area of a burn during the summer of 2013. Here, we will see many very pretty fire-following annuals, such as Phacelia minor, P. parryi, P. brachyloba, Emmenanthe, Lupinus, Eucrypta, Dichelostemma, Salvia columbariae, Nicotiana, California poppies, cat's eyes (Cryptantha), Camissoniopsis, Calandrinia and others. Considering the almost total lack of annuals this year, this is a trip not to be missed.

Elsinore Peak is the southern most of the Santa Ana Mountain peaks and offers an unusual habitat of grasslands with some coastal sage scrub and chaparral. The area near the peak is further unique due to its volcanic history and unusual basalt rock foundation. We will explore the area just below the peak for spring wildflowers (Fritillaria biflora, Ranunculus, Goldfields, Alliums, Calochortus, Clarkia, Collinsia, Popcorn Flowers, Monkeyflowers, Lupines, Peonies, Sanicula and more). Afterward, we will also visit the area of the 2013 “Falls” fire along S. Main Divide Road. Several fire-following plants plants and numerous annuals should be in good display, including Chorizanthe, Delphinium, Penstemons, Caulanthus, Emmenanthe, Lupinus and many others.

Meet 8 AM at the parking lot at Bravo Burgers, 31722 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano (just off Hwy 74 near Int. 5). Free and open to all. Bring trail shoes, hat, sunscreen, water and lunch if desired. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff. This trip does require a USFS Adventure Pass! (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of this trip section for more details)!

Physical Difficulty: Moderate. No water or restrooms. Plant Intensity: Moderate to high, especially wildflowers. Time: Approx. 3 hours or more depending on the group.

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Field Trip Report: Elsinore Peak & S Main Divide Road [3/23/2014]

{slide= The Santa Rosa Plateau – Sun., March 30|green|closed}

  3-29 Update :  A pre-visit on Thursday revealed many flowers and even water in the vernal pools. It should be a fun visit to a beautiful area. As mentioned below, we will probably make at least two stops, one near the Visitors Center and the other near the large vernal pools. Time permitting, and depending upon the wishes of the group, we may even make a third stop near Sylvan Meadows or along the Shivela Trail. A light drizzle is possible, but unlikely. Be prepared, just in case. Individuals can stay for the entire trip or leave after any of the three stops. There is a $3 fee per visitor - please bring singles. Restrooms at the Visitors center and porta-potties at the vernal vools. We will be walking on trails that are in good condition, with a minimum of up and down, but each stop will be up to 2-3 miles. For the entire trip, plan on a pretty full day, probably until mid-afternoon.  Bring a few snacks or a sandwich if you are staying for the full trip.

Following the trip, those that are interested in even more adventure can follow the trip leader and caravan back to Hwy 74 and into OC via the beautiful Tenaja Truck Trail and then connect to the South Main Divide Road. This one lane paved road (sort of) is one of the most picturesque in Southern California and most people don't even know about it - but be warned, it is winding and slow.

The Santa Rosa Plateau, located at the Southern edge of the Santa Ana Mountains in Western Riverside County, is one of our areas most remarkable natural history and botanical sites. Varied soils, a basalt rock base, clay composition and a moderately level terrain have created a very special area for nature lovers. We will provide a botanical overview of the best of the area. Our general plan will be: from the Visitor’s Center, we will walk the short Vista Grande Trail to the Tenaja Truck Trail and back to our cars via Waterline Road to the Granite Loop Trail. Then, we will drive to the Vernal Pool trail head. There, we will hike to the largest vernal pool and hope it is full of water, where we will walk the boardwalk and then to the Trans Preserve Trail to Valley Road. From there, to Los Santos Trail and back to the cars. During the trip we should see Chocolate Lilies, fairy shrimp, San Diego Button Celery, many other wildflowers and lots of beautiful Engelmann Oaks.

Meet 8 AM at the parking lot at Bravo Burgers, 31722 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano (just off Hwy 74 near Int. 5). Or meet 9 AM at the Visitor’s Center on Clinton Keith Road, 4.1 miles W of Interstate 15 in Murrieta. Free and open to all. Bring trail shoes, hat, sunscreen, water and lunch if desired. This trip does require a $3 trail fee.

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, expect about 4.5 miles walking on mostly level trails.  Plant Intensity: Moderate to high, especially wildflowers. Time: Approx. 5 hours, depending on the group. Following the trip we may arrange an optional visit to Tenaja Falls, about 7 miles NW in The San Mateo Canyon Wilderness.

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Field Trip Report: Santa Rosa Plateau [3/30/2014]

{slide= Driving Tour of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy (CNPS Members Only - Reservation Required) – Sat., April 5|green|closed}

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy will be offering its seventh annual tour of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on Saturday, April 5th. Every year is a unique and different experience within the vast 50,000 acre property. This year we will be taking a “diversity drive” along Coal Mine Road, Blind Canyon, and Weir Canyon.  Although annual wildflowers are not prolific this year due to drought, participants will be able to see the impressive perennial diversity of chaparral, coastal sage scrub, perennial grassland, and oak woodlands along the western foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.  We will be providing a brief history of the land, discussing plant communities  and insects associated with them and will have an opportunity to study tracks of our four-legged friends along the way.  You’ll also be likely to see or hear two of our animal icons, the Cactus Wren and the California Gnatcatcher, along the way. Meet at Lot 15, Irvine Regional Park, at 8:30AM to carpool in to the Fremont staging area. Lunch will be provided.
Note, this event is limited to current CNPS member and registration is limited to 20 persons. To register you must follow these steps below:

Physical Difficulty: Easy, but includes sometimes rough dirt roads. Short to moderate walking distances. We’ll be driving on bumpy roads in IRC vehicles, including some in an open-air vehicle. Plant Intensity: Moderate to high, especially wildflowers. Start 8:30 AM, duration approx. 6-7 hours. This trip is limited to 20 – current CNPS members only.

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Field Trip Report: Irvine Ranch Conservancy [4/5/2014]

{slide= Donna & Richard O’Neill Land Conservancy – Sun., April 13; Registration Required. Limited.|green|closed}

2-10 Update: Registration is now open for this popular trip. Srace is limited, so register early at http://rmvreserve.org/calendar/. Then, scroll down the page to April 13 "CNPS Spring Plant Hike".

A classic, well-known southern foothill location with a good variety of habitats, including extensive grasslands, oak woodlands and coastal sage scrub. Spring wildflowers should be in good bloom. Geordie Shaw, Education Coordinator at the conservancy, has invited us and we will tour a prime portion of the conservancy as we search for plants like Cryptantha, Dodecatheon (Shooting Star), Juniperus californica (California Juniper), Osmadenia (Southern Rosinweed), Pholistoma (Blue Fiesta Flower), Plagioborthrys (Popcorn Flower), Plectritis (Long-spurred Plectritis), Ranunculus californicus (California Buttercup), Sanicula species (Sharp-toothed Sanicle and Pacific Sanicle) and the rare Engelmann Oak.

This trip does require advance registration. We will begin at 8 AM and conclude about 11 AM. Please visit www.rmvreserve.org to register, beginning in February. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation and specific directions to the event. All gates will be locked promptly after we enter – don’t be late. Porta-potties are available, but no water – come prepared. Host: Geordie Shaw. Leader: Rachel Whitt.

This trip does require an entrance fee ($10/adult, $5 child - must be age 8 and up)! Physical Difficulty: Moderate. Plant Intensity: Moderate to high. Time: About 3 hours.

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{slide= The Plants of Casper’s Wilderness Park – Sun., April 20|green|closed}

UPDATE: The date of this trip has changed from April 19 to April 20.

Casper’s Wilderness Park is the Jewel of the Orange County Park system, including 8,000 acres and a wide array of habitats. Leader Laura Camp will lead the group out on the Juaneno Trail and return via the Mesa Loop Trail, depending on where the best flowers are. 

Meet at 8 AM at the trailhead at Casper’s Park. Directions: From 5 freeway, exit Ortega Highway, and go east 8 miles. The entrance to Casper’s is prominently marked on the left. There is a day use fee of $5 per car or an OC Parks Pass (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of the trip section for more details)! Enter the park and proceed to the San Juan Meadow Group Area and meet at the Juaneno trailhead at the far end. If parking is limited due to group camping, then drive toward the visitor center and park in the lot on the right side of the road on the way there, and walk to the trailhead. Maps are available at the entrance kiosk. Some of the trails are rocky and uneven with some light up and down climbing. Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Bring hiking poles if you use them and plenty of water. Restrooms and water at the park, but not on the trail. Leader: Laura Camp.

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, four miles on trail. Plant Intensity: Moderate to high. Time: About 3 hours.

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{slide= A Botanical Expedition into Lucas Canyon, San Mateo Cyn. Wilderness – Sun., April 27|green|closed}

This is not a typical field trip, but a focused and serious botanical visit to a seldom location rather deep in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. The hike into Lucas Canyon is about four miles and includes uphill, downhill, and switchbacks. Once in the canyon, we will likely proceed another two to three miles. We will document the flora, apply coordinates to important records and take voucher samples as needed. Then we will hike back out. Lucas Canyon is well-watered, fairly deep East-West facing canyon. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff.

This will be a small group. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Ron Vanderhoff () for additional details. Long hike, difficult. Seldom explored, but with lots of potential.

Physical Difficulty: Strenuous. Plant Intensity: High. Time: All day.

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Field Trip Report: Lucas Canyon [4/27/2014]

{slide= Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve – Sun., May 4|green|active}

5-2-14 UPDATE: A visit on Thursday, 5/1 was a windy and hot experience. However, the temperatures should be just about right on Sunday for our official visit - maybe even a little chilly. The terrain is flat and realtively easy. Lots of plants to see and lots of birds and wonderful views as well. Vic Leipzig, VP of our local Audubon Society Chapter, will also be joining us for the trip, so we will have some bird expertise with us. If you have them, be sure to bring your binoculars as well as your copy of the new book Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains.

Bolsa Chica is one of Orange County’s most significant open spaces, with a unique collection of habitats including sand dunes, salt marsh, coastal sage scrub, seasonal freshwater and riparian woodlands. The reserve is a dynamic ecosystem supporting not only a variety of interesting and highly adapted plants, but a large assortment of invertebrates, fish, birds (321 species) and other wildlife. Of course, non-native plants have been introduced into the ecology here and they will also be pointed out and discussed during our visit.

We will walk the Loop Trail, which crosses a wooden bridge, passes two overlooks, and returns to the parking lot via a sand-dune trail paralleling PCH. However, at the half-way point we will divert a little and visit the edge of a riparian community as well as the upper mesa area. Meet 9 AM at the South Lot. This parking area is our starting point and is located on Pacific Coast Highway almost directly across PCH from the Bolsa Chica State Beach entrance. There is no charge for parking. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff

Physical Difficulty: Easy. We will be walking on level, mostly paved trails during the trip. Porta-potties are only at the beginning and end. Bring your own water, hat, comfortable shoes and possibly binoculars. Time: About 3 hours. Plant intensity: Moderate.

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Field Trip Report: Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve [5/4/2014]

{slide= An Elsinore Peak Brodiaea Hunt, Southern Santa Ana Mts. – Sun., May 18|green|closed}

5-16-14 UPDATE: The weather should cool just in time for this trip. Nonetheless, no gaurantees on what we will find. Last year on this same date all four species were found. This year .  .  .  ???  With such a very dry winter and recent hot dry weather, our results will be a mystery. Remember that Brodiaea's are the focus of this trip. I will provide a handout to each participant detailing the differences in the potential Brodiaea species that we will be looking for. A hand lens is also helpful. We will be walking along and through tan colored sunny fields of dry, grasses hunting for an occasional speck of a blue flower. If you have leg gators, wear them since "stickers" from the dry grass will be super abundant.

This follow-up trip to the area around Elsinore Peak (see March 23) will be specifically focused on hunting for Brodiaea species. Four species have been located in this area, including B. filifolia, B. santarosea, B. terrestris ssp. kernensis and B. orcuttii. Brodiaea are fascinating bulbous plants, generally growing in grassland habitats with clay soils. Never common, their bright blue flowers are quite delightful when discovered. The subtleties between the species will be discussed and identification distinctions will be explained. This may be the only place locally where four species of Brodiaeas can be found growing together. Too late for most other spring flowers though. Meet 8 AM at the parking lot at Bravo Burgers, 31722 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano (just off Hwy 74 near Int. 5). Free and open to all. Bring hand lens, trail shoes, hat, sunscreen, water and lunch if desired. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff. This trip does require a USFS Adventure Pass (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of the trip section for more details)!

Physical Difficulty: Moderate. We will be walking in or near dry grass much of the time, with moderate ups and downs and a few short, steep spots.

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{slide= To the Top of OC: Modjeska & Santiago Peaks, Santa Ana Mountains – Sun., May 25|green|closed}

5-24-14 UPDATE: This is the final update for this trip. This trip is a "go". The forest service gates are open and the roads are pasable. If you are still interested in attending this trip and you have a suitable vehicle please email Ron Vanderhoff () as soon as possible.

This is a possible trip, but will depend upon interest. From the end of Silverado Canyon Road we would drive up Maple Springs Truck Trail to Main Divide Road. From there we will drive toward Modjeska Peak and hike about a half mile to the summit. Then, we will return to the cars and drive on to the top of Santiago Peak. Stops will be made at important botanical sites along the way. This is a unique trip, but not for the meek. The roads are rocky, with lots of ruts and require careful driving. Four-wheel drive is not required, but only high clearance SUV’s or trucks should consider this. There are many plant specialties in Orange County that are only found at these higher altitudes and we will hope to find many of these. Leader: Ron Vanderhoff. This trip does require a USFS Adventure Pass (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of the trip section for more details)!

If you are interested in participating, have the appropriate vehicle and have a sense of adventure please send an email to Ron Vanderhoff (). If there is enough interest I will send details and we will do it.

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, but quite difficult roads. Plant Intensity: High. Time: Most of the day.

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{slide= San Onofre State Park - Beaches and Bluffs – Sun., July 20 - CANCELLED|green|close}

7-13-14 UPDATE: Cancelled. Unfortunately, this field trip is cancelled. I visited the entire area today, hiking about seven miles and including the coastal bluffs, much of the shoreline and several of the coastal canyons. I'm afraid that the lack of rainfall has increased the summer dormancy of most of the coastal sage scrub plants and the other good plants are a bit sparse. Additionally, the May wildfire in the area has burned a portion of the landscape we would be traveling through. I'm afraid there is just not enough to see and suggest that we save this trip for another year. If we get some rain this winter, we could do this trip a bit earlier in the season next year. The burn area should be quite nice and would have a nice display of several annuals and the remaining plants will be in better shape. If I can arrange access permission, we could even stop at a vernal pool site nearby and view the quite rare and endangered Pendleton Button-Celery (Eryngium pendletonense).
 
Sorry to cancel, but let's save this trip for another time.

San Onofre State Beach is a rare 3,000-acre scenic coastal park, just South of San Clemente and the Orange County line. The park is divided between an inland coastal sage scrub portion along San Mateo Creek and a coastal strand paralleling the ocean. During this visit we will stick to the coastal portion. We will explore a portion of the ocean facing bluffs, then travel down to the sand and visit dune, coastal strand and coastal canyon habitats and their varied plants. Along the way we will discuss the unique coastal vegetation and point out some specialized plants of the area. Meet 8:40 AM in the main parking lot at San Clemente High School, on Avenida Pico, .3 mi. E of Interstate 5 or meet 9 AM in the parking lot at the beginning (top) of Trail 1 within San Onofre State Park (entrance off Basilone Rd.). The San Clemente High School area does NOT require any fees and cars can be left at this location. The San Onofre State Park meeting location requires a day use entry fee.

Once assembled inside the park we will leave half the cars at Trail 1, then drive to Trail 3 or 4, depending on the group. We will walk and explore the various habitats and plants between these two locations. Bring comfortable shoes, hat, sunscreen, camera, at least a quart of water and enthusiasm. Restrooms are intermittent. The Day Use fee is $15 per vehicle, or a State Parks Pass (see Parking, Passes and Permits at the end of the trip section for more details)!

Physical Difficulty: Moderate, but does include walking for at least half the trip in soft beach sand. Total trip is about three miles. Plant Intensity: Low to moderate, but some unique plants. Time: About three-four hours.

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Parking/Permit Info

Parking, Passes and Permits

Some trips noted above will require either a US Forest Service Pass, State Parks Pass or an OC Parks Pass. If you are not familiar with these, please read below.

US Forest Service Pass: This is required of any vehicle that parks within a National Forest (such as our Cleveland National Forest), even for a brief moment. Most people purchase an annual pass, called an Adventure Pass, which is a great value. Currently the cost of a pass is $30. One day passes may also be purchased. These may be purchased most easily at sports and outdoor stores such as Big 5, REI, Sport Chalet and Sports Authority. Please purchase a pass in advance - passes are NOT available on the day of the trip. For more information visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r5/passes-permits.

California State Parks Pass: Four California State Parks are in or near the borders of Orange County and require payment of either a day-use fee or use of a pass. Day use fees vary by park and can be paid on the day of the trip at the entrance to the park. Many frequent users prefer to purchase an annual Day-Use Pass. Currently the cost is $195 (senior discounts also). This pass allows unlimited access to all California State Parks. Annual passes may be purchased at most State Park entrances as well as at http://store.parks.ca.gov/park-passes/.

OC Parks Wilderness Pass: Several Regional and Wilderness Parks within the county are owned and operated by OC Parks. These locations require payment of either a day-use fee or use of a pass. Day use fees vary by park and can be paid on the day of the trip at the entrance to the park. Many frequent users prefer to purchase an annual Wilderness Parking Pass. Currently the cost is $55 (senior rates also). This pass allows unlimited access to all inland (not beach) parks, such as Caspers, Irvine Regional Park, Aliso/Wood Canyon, O'Neill, Laguna Coast Wilderness, Whiting Ranch and others. Annual passes may be purchased at most OC Parks facilities. For more information visit: http://ocparks.com/about/fees/pass.

2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Travel Grant

Congratulations to Marlee Antill, James Bailey, Rebecca Crow, Hailey Laskey, and Wilnelia Ricart, winners of our 2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Student Travel Grant! We look forward to seeing them at the Conference next February. 

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