Plant Guide to Deer Springs / Suicide Rock Trail, San Jacinto Mountains

Introduction and Explanation of Plant Trail Guides

Highlights of This Trail
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
Botanical Trip Reports
The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species


Guide is updated from all fieldwork through 2019, but nothing else on this page has been updated from that work.

The Deer Springs Trail begins immediately north of the entrance to Idyllwild County Park, on SR243 one mile north of downtown Idyllwild. The Suicide Rock Trail branches off the Deer Springs Trail at mile 2.25; that branch is also included in this guide as a separate section at the bottom. The Deer Springs Trail continues past the Suicide Trail Junction to Strawberry Junction at mile 4.05 where it meets the PCT. The trails merge heading north to the junction with the Marion Mountain Trail at mile 6.01, which is the terminus of this Guide.

A free wilderness permit is required for day use, available either from the Forest Service office at 54270 Pinecrest, which is just east of SR243 in downtown Idyllwild, or from the San Jacinto State Park headquarters on Highway 243 just north of the Forest Service office. The permit is not available at the trailhead, and there are often rangers at the trailhead or along the trail checking permits on heavy use days. I have personally run into rangers checking permits on several different days.

Parking is extremely limited in the area. There are perhaps 10 spaces on the shoulder of SR243 immediately at the trailhead, and designated parking for perhaps another 10 cars at the signed parking area just west of the trailhead. Parking for the trail is no longer permitted at Idyllwild County Park, despite the presence of a fairly large usually-empty lot just south of the trailhead.

There is a shortcut trail on the northeast corner of the parking area; if you take that unsigned trail, you will miss the first 0.20 miles of this Guide.

The official Trail, the Parking Area, and the Shortcut Use Trail are shown in the following map (base map from Google Maps accessed on 25 June 2009):

The first ~0.25 miles of this trail, along with the entire Idyllwild County Park, are very depressing sites to any botanically-knowledgeable person. Due to the hysteria over fire safety, the area has mostly been nuked of all native plants, with many shrubs butchered into pathetic stick figures. Worse, the butchered parts have been shredded and spread as mulch to discourage the return of anything resembling a native landscape, disrupting the native soil seriously.

Worse yet, we don't think that there is any scientific evidence at all that this vandalization of the native landscape actually reduces the fire danger to the nearby homes or businesses. If anyone knows of any such evidence, please let us know.

Fortunately, the wilderness area has not yet been so vandalized, although we have seen tags with the same name as the organization that vandalized the lower part of the trail.

Highlights of This Trail

The botanical highlights of this trail are:

Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail

This section not updated from the 4/30/07 and 10/18/07 fieldwork.

The following histogram gives the number of trails in my database that contain each taxon on this trail. We had 94 trails in our database when this histogram was made; 6 of those trails, including this one, are in this area of San Jacinto Mountain. A number of "1" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in our database; numbers of "6" or smaller may indicate taxa found only in this area of San Jacinto Mountain.

Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
Total Taxa103100%

We found 9 additional species not in the above table, since they have not been fully identified yet. The unidentified ones are marked with ? or sp in the id? column in the guide, and have no entries in the #all column.

Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time

This section not updated from the 4/30/07 and 10/18/07 fieldwork.

The following table gives the dates the trail was walked and taxa recorded. After each visit, the table gives the total number of taxa on the list and the breakdown of the taxa without positive identification. See Explanation of Plant Trail Guides to understand the symbols below.

Visit DateVisit ## taxa# "?"# "sp"# "~"# "ssp"

The Suicide Trail is included in the above table. Since some of the species on it are also found later in the Deer Springs Trail, the number of unique species, given in the table above, is fewer than the combined numbers in the guide. For example, after the fieldwork on 10/10/06, there were 98 taxa found on the Deer Springs Trail proper, and 9 taxa found on the Suicide Trail. Of those 9 taxa, 5 of them were also found on the Deer Springs Trail past the Suicide Jct., and hence the Suicide Trail added 4 taxa to the total taxa on both trails, for a total of 102 taxa.

The fieldwork on 9/29/06 was only to mile 1.17. The fieldwork on 10/5/06 was to Suicide Rock. There are two entries for that date; the first gives the numbers up to mile 1.17 for comparison with 9/29/06; the second gives the complete survey. The fieldwork on 10/10/06 was to mile 4.88. The first time the entire route was covered was on 10/21/06.

Similarly, there are two entries for 10/10/06 and 10/21/06; for 10/10/06, the first gives the numbers up to mile 2.25, including the trail to Suicide Rock; the second gives the survey up to mile 4.88.

We thank Jim Adams for help with the initial reconnaissance of the first 0.20 miles of the trail on 9/29/06.

Botanical Trip Reports

The Plant Guide

See Plant Checklist For Deer Springs Trail for a list of the species in the guide below in traditional family order.

The mileages in the guide from the trailhead to Suicide Rock are from Topo! measurements of the actual trail from GPS data. Mileages after 1.17, up to Strawberry Junction, are pedometer mileages adjusted to the claimed mileage, and hence have a higher uncertainty. Mileages after Strawberry Junction are pedometer mileages, and hence are not very accurate.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (11 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (3 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here
0.00   Begin at trailhead (road entrance blocked by huge log directly across from Idyllwild County Park entrance); elevation 5620 feet (1710 m). The area here has been nuked of most native plants and the area mulched to prevent their regrowth. (:-(
    Species found only in or near the dirt parking area west of the actual trailhead, and not on the actual Deer Springs Trail (there is a use trail north from the parking area; if you take that, you’ll miss the species in the first 0.18 miles of this guide)
- 1 *rough cat's earHypochaeris radicata /
- 2 wild pepper-grassLepidium virginicum ssp. menziesii /
- 3 golden daisyPentachaeta aurea /
- 4 *bulbous blue grassPoa bulbosa ssp. vivipara /
- 5 Fremont cottonwoodPopulus fremontii ssp. fremontii /
- 6 red willowSalix laevigata /
0.00l  (Species found in first 0.03 miles of the drainage off-trail to left of the actual trail, that are only found here, or beyond mile 0.12 on the trail: goldenstar, Bloomeria crocea; lesser paintbrush, Castilleja minor ssp. spiralis; diamond-petaled clarkia, Clarkia rhomboidea; few-flowered heterocodon, Heterocodon rariflorum; Palomar monkeyflower, Mimulus diffusus; common monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus; false monkeyflower, Mimulus pilosus; variegated clover, Trifolium variegatum)
0.00l  (green miner's lettuce, Claytonia parviflora ssp. viridis; volcanic gilia, Gilia ochroleuca ssp. exilis)
0.00r7 Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi99 / 9
0.00l8 pine dwarf-mistletoeArceuthobium campylopodum+33 / 2
0.00b9 pink-bracted manzanitaArctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea99 / 9
0.00r10 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. membranaceum99 / 9
0.00l11 *downy bromeBromus tectorum99 / 9
0.00b12 pineland buckwheatEriogonum molestum20 / 5
0.00r13 San Jacinto buckwheatEriogonum apiculatum99 / 9
0.00l14 Parish' Jacumba milk-vetchAstragalus douglasii var. parishii15 / 2
0.00r15 scarlet buglerPenstemon centranthifolius2 / 1
0.00l16 spear-leaved mountain dandelionAgoseris retrorsa15 / 5
0.00l17 beautiful hulseaHulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha10 / 3
0.00l18 squirreltailElymus elymoides99 / 9
0.00b19 coastal giliaGilia diegensis20 / 3
0.00b20 showy bajada lupineLupinus concinnus ssp. optatus99 / 9
0.00b21 strigose lotusAcmispon strigosus99 / 9
0.00l22 mountain red-root cryptanthaCryptantha micrantha var. lepida99 / 9
0.00b23 pinegrove groundsmokeGayophytum oligospermum30 / 3
0.00r24 bur-ragweedAmbrosia acanthicarpa5 / 2
0.00r  (slender everlasting, Pseudognaphalium thermale; splendid gilia, Saltugilia splendens ssp. splendens)
0.00l  (incense-cedar, Calocedrus decurrens; California black oak, Quercus kelloggii)
0.00b25 California-asterCorethrogyne filaginifolia99 / 9
0.01r26 canyon live oakQuercus chrysolepis99 / 9
0.01l27 leafy daisyErigeron foliosus var. foliosus99 / 9
0.01l  Sign: "3E17 (left-right)"
0.01r28 Jepson's blue wildryeElymus glaucus ssp. glaucus30 / 9
0.02r  Display Board: "Deer Springs Trail…"; trail turns left 90°
0.02   Trail is now lined with pink-bracted manzanita, Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea
0.03r  (Coulter pine, Pinus coulteri)
0.03l29 goldenrodSolidago velutina ssp. californica99 / 9
0.03r  (Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. pacifica)
0.04r30 mountain grape-soda lupineLupinus excubitus var. austromontanus50 / 9
0.04r  (narrowleaf bedstraw Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium)
0.04l31 California black oakQuercus kelloggii99 / 9
0.05r32 San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. bernardina50 / 9
0.05l33 whisker-brushLeptosiphon ciliatus99 / 9
0.05l34 southern mountain woolly-starEriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum99 / 3
0.05l35 chaparral whitethornCeanothus leucodermis15 / 9
0.06l36 narrowleaf bedstrawGalium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium99 / 9
0.06b37 southern honeysuckleLonicera subspicata var. denudata50 / 9
0.07l38 California elegant rock-cressBoechera californica45 / 5
0.07r  (California coffeeberry, Frangula californica; Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii var. fremontii)
0.08l39 *rattail fescueFestuca myuros99 / 1
0.08r40 small fescueFestuca microstachys99 / 9
0.08r41 silky lotusAcmispon heermannii var. heermannii99 / 9
0.08r42 interior live oakQuercus wislizeni var. frutescens99 / 9
0.08b43 bristly bird's beakCordylanthus rigidus ssp. setiger20 / 1
0.08r  (Indian milkweed, Asclepias eriocarpa)
0.09r44 California coffeeberryFrangula californica+10 / 9
0.09b45 golden yarrowEriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum99 / 9
0.09l46 Lemmon's linanthusLeptosiphon lemmonii99 / 5
0.09l  (Martin's paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei ssp. martinii)
0.10l47 June grassKoeleria macrantha99 / 9
0.11l48 incense-cedarCalocedrus decurrens50 / 9
0.12b  (mountain California-fuchsia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium; Cleveland's horkelia, Horkelia clevelandii var. clevelandii; sticky cinquefoil, Drymocallis glandulosa var. viscida)
0.12r  (yarrow, Achillea millefolium; blue dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum; hairy wood rush, Luzula comosa; dense-flowered rein orchid, Piperia elongata; tree clover, Trifolium ciliolatum; mountain carpet clover, Trifolium monanthum ssp. grantianum)
0.12   Cross small drainage with culvert; switchback left
0.12b49 tall bromeBromus grandis30 / 9
0.12r50 blue dicksDichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum99 / 9
0.12r  (Parish's tauschia, Tauschia parishii)
0.12l51 mountain mugwortArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta99 / 9
0.12l52 deergrassMuhlenbergia rigens50 / 9
0.13r53 small-head field cloverTrifolium microcephalum99 / 3
0.13r54 tomcat cloverTrifolium willdenovii50 / 3
0.13r55 slender everlastingPseudognaphalium thermale40 / 9
0.13b56 Cleveland's horkeliaHorkelia clevelandii var. clevelandii10 / 3
0.13c57 dwarf madiaHemizonella minima+1 / 1
~0.13l58 mountain California-fuchsiaEpilobium canum ssp. latifolium50 / 9
0.14l  (birch-leaf mountain-mahogany, Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides)
0.14l  (Jones' prickly-nut cryptantha, Cryptantha muricata var. jonesii)
0.14l59 volcanic giliaGilia ochroleuca ssp. exilis99 / 9
0.14r60 Mexican rushJuncus mexicanus99 / 1
0.14b61 dense-flowered rein orchidPiperia elongata2 / 1
0.14r62 spike primroseEpilobium densiflorum3 / 1
0.14r63 Pacific rushJuncus effusus ssp. austrocalifornicus10 / 1
0.14r64 yarrowAchillea millefolium20 / 3
0.15r65 Kentucky blue grassPoa pratensis ssp. agassizensis10 / 1
0.15r66 Spanish cloverAcmispon americanus var. americanus99 / 1
0.15r67 swamp sedgeCarex senta20 / 3
0.15r68 arroyo willowSalix lasiolepis5 / 1
0.15r69~lesser paintbrushCastilleja minor ssp. spiralis60 / 1
0.15r70?flat-leaved rush or blue-eyed grassJuncus sp. or Sisyrinchium bellum10 / 1
0.15r  (snow-plant, Sarcodes sanguinea)
0.17l71 Indian milkweedAsclepias eriocarpa99 / 5
0.18r72 *red bromeBromus madritensis ssp. rubens10 / 1
0.18l  Jct. use trail from parking area
0.20r  Ten wood posts blocking off road
0.20l73 sugar pinePinus lambertiana50 / 9
0.20   Trail curves right
0.24b74 oak mistletoePhoradendron serotinum ssp. tomentosum99 / 9
0.24   Trail turns right 90°; do not continue ahead on road
0.24l  Sign: "No dogs beyond this point; wilderness permit required 1/4 mile ahead"; end nuking of landscape
0.24l75 San Bernardino sun-cupCamissoniopsis confusa99 / 9
0.26   Trail curves right
0.26r76 thread plantNemacladus longiflorus var. longiflorus2 / 1
0.28b77 Coulter pinePinus coulteri50 / 9
0.29l ~(California chicory, Rafinesquia californica)
0.29l78 Jones' prickly-nut cryptanthaCryptantha muricata var. jonesii99 / 9
0.30l79 Parish's tauschiaTauschia parishii45 / 5
0.31r80 twiggy wreath plantStephanomeria virgata9 / 4
0.31   Switchback left
0.31r81 coast-range melicMelica imperfecta10 / 2
0.31r82 hollyleaf redberryRhamnus ilicifolia4 / 4
0.32r83 splendid giliaSaltugilia splendens ssp. splendens99 / 3
0.34r84 green miner's lettuceClaytonia parviflora ssp. viridis40 / 3
0.34   Trail curves right
0.39l85 Fremont's monkeyflowerMimulus fremontii var. fremontii99 / 9
0.39r86 goldenstarBloomeria crocea3 / 1
0.39r  (curve-flowered skullcap, Scutellaria siphocampyloides)
0.39   Cross small drainage
~0.39 87spgrey popcorn flowerPlagiobothrys canescens var. canescens1 / 1
0.39r88 seashore bentgrassAgrostis pallens10 / 1
0.39r89 Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii30 / 6
0.42l90 western needlegrassStipa occidentalis5 / 2
0.43l91 mustang mintMonardella breweri ssp. lanceolata10 / 2
0.44l  (scattered blazing star, Mentzelia dispersa, 50 feet from trail)
0.44b92 sticky cinquefoilDrymocallis glandulosa var. viscida30 / 5
0.44l93 mountain carpet cloverTrifolium monanthum ssp. grantianum20 / 1
0.44   Cross small drainage
0.44b94 curve-flowered skullcapScutellaria siphocampyloides5 / 1
0.46   Trail turns right 90°
0.48   Trail gradually curves left
0.53   Switchback left
0.55   Switchback right
0.56   Switchback left
0.56r  (Coulter's snapdragon, Antirrhinum coulterianum)
0.59r95 wide-throated yellow monkeyflowerMimulus brevipes4 / 2
0.59   Cross small drainage
0.60r  (chaparral yucca, Hesperoyucca whipplei)
0.62r96 sticky lessingiaLessingia glandulifera var. glandulifera1 / 1
0.63b97 whorledleaf penstemonKeckiella ternata var. ternata43 / 2
0.64   Switchback right
0.64l98 birch-leaf mountain-mahoganyCercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides2 / 2
0.65r  Boulder with scooped-out "seat"
0.67   Trail curves left at ridge
0.67b99 chaparral yuccaHesperoyucca whipplei3 / 1
0.68   Switchback left
0.70r100 scattered blazing starMentzelia dispersa30 / 2
0.71l101 hybrid manzanitaArctostaphylos patula X A. pringlei ssp. drupacea4 / 3
0.73   Switchback right
0.73   Switchback left; sign: "Mount San Jacinto State Park Wilderness"
0.73r102 diamond-petaled clarkiaClarkia rhomboidea50 / 3
0.73r103 forest sedgeCarex multicaulis20 / 5
0.74r104 imbricate phaceliaPhacelia imbricata var. patula30 / 9
0.75r105 snow-plantSarcodes sanguinea10 / 5
0.77   Switchback right
0.78l  (white fir, Abies concolor)
0.79   Switchback left; jct. use trail to viewpoint 0.02 miles distant with California cliff-brake, Pellaea mucronata var. californica
0.82   Local high point on trail
0.84   Local low point on trail
0.84r  (purple nightshade, Solanum xanti)
0.87l106 chickweed oxythecaSidotheca caryophylloides50 / 1
0.91   Cross small drainage with big rocks and pipe on left above trail; trail curves right
0.92l107 white catch-flySilene verecunda50 / 2
0.94 108 sand cressCalyptridium monandrum5 / 1
0.94   Switchback left
0.94   Switchback right
0.97l109 Sierra Nevada lotusAcmispon nevadensis var. nevadensis99 / 9
0.97   This area has some really old specimens of chaparral whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis, and pink-bracted manzanita, Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea
0.98   Long switchback left
0.99   Switchback right
1.01   Switchback left
1.04r  View of Tahquitz Lookout
1.07   Local high point on trail, followed quickly by local low point
1.08 110 sapphire woolly-starEriastrum sapphirinum15 / 3
1.09l111 California thistleCirsium occidentale var. californicum3 / 1
1.09l112 false monkeyflowerMimulus pilosus20 / 1
1.10b113 broad-leaved lotusHosackia crassifolia var. crassifolia20 / 2
 r  Jct. use trail
1.11b114 pine cryptanthaCryptantha simulans21 / 1
1.12l115spgoosefoot yellow violetViola purpurea ssp. quercetorum3 / 1
1.12r116 California bromeBromus carinatus var. carinatus30 / 5
1.12   Trail curves right
1.14   Switchback left
1.15b117 western morning-gloryCalystegia occidentalis ssp. fulcrata54 / 2
1.16l118 brackenPteridium aquilinum var. pubescens99 / 9
1.17l119 southern miner's lettuceClaytonia perfoliata ssp. mexicana5 / 1
1.18l120 plain mariposa lilyCalochortus invenustus30 / 3
1.18l121 white firAbies concolor50 / 9
1.19l122 pinedropsPterospora andromedea5 / 3
1.21b123 western azaleaRhododendron occidentale50 / 5
1.21b124 woodland strawberryFragaria vesca+99 / 2
1.21r125 little prince's pineChimaphila menziesii+11 / 2
1.21b  (western columbine, Aquilegia formosa; Durango root, Datisca glomerata; glaucus willowherb, Epilobium glaberrimum ssp. glaberrimum; lemon lily, Lilium parryi; mountain pink currant, Ribes nevadense; thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus)
1.22   Switchback left
1.23   Switchback right
1.24   Switchback left
1.25   Switchback right
1.25r126?unk young plants?5 / 1
1.25l127 naked buckwheatEriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum20 / 9
1.26r  Canyon live oak, Quercus chrysolepis, hit by lightning. Many trees here have been struck by lightning.
1.29   Cross small drainage where trail curves right
1.30   Trail turns left 90°; enter Mistletoe Row
1.37   Species found in meadowy area along drainage (Idyllwild Creek) to right, not found elsewhere on trail to Suicide Rock:
  OT white hawkweedHieracium albiflorum8 / 1
  OT Scouler's St. JohnswortHypericum scouleri5 / 1
  OT willow-leaved dockRumex californicus1 / 1
  OT spotted coralrootCorallorhiza maculata13 / 1
1.45r128 San Jacinto lupineLupinus hyacinthinus99 / 5
1.47   (incense-cedar mistletoe, Phoradendron juniperinum, at top of tree in distance)
1.48r  (Parish's lupine, Lupinus latifolius var. parishii; California wild rose, Rosa californica)
1.49b129 mountain pink currantRibes nevadense50 / 3
1.49l130 fragile sheath sedgeCarex fracta2 / 1
1.49l131~rigid hedge-nettleStachys rigida10 / 2
1.49r132 western columbineAquilegia formosa2 / 1
1.49   Cross the main drainage we've been hiking along, informally called “Idyllwild Creek”, which has abundant western azalea, Rhododendron occidentale, here; elevation 6480 feet (1975 m)
1.49r  live plants of woodland strawberry in 2015Fragaria vesca /
1.49b133 lemon lilyLilium parryi10 / 2
1.49l134 Parish's lupineLupinus latifolius var. parishii10 / 3
1.49   Switchback right
1.50l  (western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum; live plants of little prince's pine, Chimaphila menziesii, in 2015)
1.55   Switchback left
1.58   Switchback right
1.61l  Field of southern mountain woolly-star, Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum
1.66r  Cross small drainage
1.73   Switchback left
1.81   Cross small drainage
1.81l135 long-styled rushJuncus longistylis50 / 1
1.85   Trail turns right 90° at ridge
1.86   Trail turns right 90° again
1.93   Cross small drainage
1.93b136 Nevin's bird's beakCordylanthus nevinii99 / 5
1.94   Switchback left
1.94b137 short-flowered monardellaMonardella nana20 / 2
1.95l138 granite prickly phloxLinanthus pungens3 / 2
1.98   Cross small drainage
1.99r139 San Gabriel beardtonguePenstemon labrosus30 / 3
2.04   Cross small saddle on ridge
2.10r140 western wallflowerErysimum capitatum var. capitatum5 / 1
2.13l141 woodland spurgeEuphorbia lurida2 / 1
2.13 142 leafless wintergreenPyrola aphylla12 / 2
2.22   Jct. trail to Suicide Rock; elevation ~6900 feet (2105 m). Sign: "(r): Suicide Rock 1 mi; (back): Highway 243 2.3 mi; (ahead) Strawberry Jct. 1.8 mi, Little Round Valley 5.5 mi, San Jacinto Peak 7.0 mi". Guide to the Suicide Rock Trail is at the bottom of this Guide

Option to continue on Deer Springs Trail

See below for option to continue on the Suicide Rock Trail.
2.23   Switchback right
2.24   Trail turns left 90° and then curves right
2.31   Switchback left
2.33r143 mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus99 / 9
2.34   Switchback right; trail soon zags right and then curves left
2.39l  (rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata)
2.40   Switchback right
2.42   Switchback left
2.44   Switchback right
2.45   Switchback left
2.45l  Another hybrid manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula X A. pringlei ssp. drupacea
2.49   Switchback right
2.55   Switchback left
2.58   Switchback right
2.62   Switchback left
2.64   (fir mistletoe, Phoradendron bolleanum, ahead in distance)
2.73   Switchback left
2.77   Switchback right at ridge
2.84   Switchback left
2.87r  Switchback right; view of Tahquitz Peak and top of Suicide Rock
2.91   Switchback left
2.95   Switchback right
2.98   Switchback left
3.05r144 fir mistletoePhoradendron bolleanum1 / 1
3.10   Switchback left
3.17   Long switchback right at ridge
3.29b145 green-leaf manzanitaArctostaphylos patula30 / 9
3.29   Switchback left
3.30   Switchback right
3.38   Trail zigzags right then left
3.42r  canyon live oak, Quercus chrysolepis, with weird galls of two kinds: terminal galls like a chinquapin male inflorescence, and stem galls like acorns
3.43l  (Idaho bentgrass, Agrostis idahoensis)
3.46r  Nice patch of San Jacinto lupine, Lupinus hyacinthinus
3.46r  Check these plants to make sure they are western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum
3.48   Trail zigzags right then left
3.48l  (spotted coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata)
3.60l  Four honking incense-cedars, Calocedrus decurrens, struck by lightning, with 3 still alive
3.64   Switchback right
3.65   Switchback left
3.80   Long switchback left
3.82   Switchback right
3.95l  Check for different Monardella
3.98   Switchback left
4.02   Strawberry Jct., elevation ~8030 feet (2450 m); sign: "(back) Suicide Trail 1.8 mi, Banning Highway 4.3 mi, Idyllwild 4.8 mi; (ahead) Deer Springs (Camp) 2.3 mi, Little Round Valley 3.8 mi, San Jacinto Peak 5.5 mi; (right) Strawberry Cienega 1.5 mi, Wellman Trail 2.3 mi, Round Valley 4.3 mi, Strawberry Camp 100 yards"
4.16r146 bush chinquapinChrysolepis sempervirens5 / 2
4.22   Trail curves right at ridge; now hiking through wonderland of rocks, with lots of big boulders on flat ground
4.24l  (blue elderberry, Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea)
4.35b147 Idaho bentgrassAgrostis idahoensis30 / 2
4.36   Highest elevation deergrass, Muhlenbergia rigens
4.39l  (Fendler's meadow-rue, Thalictrum fendleri var. fendleri)
4.39   Enter meadowy area
4.39r148 glaucus willowherbEpilobium glaberrimum ssp. glaberrimum10 / 2
4.39r149 scarlet monkeyflowerMimulus cardinalis5 / 1
4.40   Cross drainage
4.40l150?knotweed?Polygonum sp.?3 / 1
4.42r  (Check for different plant similar to lemon lily)
4.42r151 tinker's pennyHypericum anagalloides5 / 1
4.42r ~(brittle bladder fern, Cystopteris fragilis)
4.44   Cross flowing creek
4.44b152 streambank lotusHosackia oblongifolia var. oblongifolia5 / 1
4.47   Switchback right
4.47l153 San Jacinto Mtns. bedstrawGalium angustifolium ssp. jacinticum20 / 2
4.49   Switchback left
4.51   Switchback right
4.51l154~Sierra gooseberryRibes roezlii var. roezlii1 / 1
4.52   Switchback left
4.53   Switchback right
4.54   Switchback left
4.56   Switchback right at ridge
4.59   Switchback right
4.62   Switchback left
4.70   Switchback right
4.76   Local high point on trail; elevation ~8360 feet (2550 m)
4.78   Cross small moist drainage
4.83  ~(bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata)
4.84l  (wax currant, Ribes cereum var. cereum)
4.85b155 California corn lilyVeratrum californicum var. californicum10 / 1
4.85b156 larger mountain monkeyflowerMimulus tilingii10 / 1
4.85b157spsedge like Carex almaCarex sp.20 / 2
4.85b158 musk monkeyflowerMimulus moschatus5 / 1
4.87l  Boulder with lots of eroded concavities and some convex protrusions
4.95r159 bitter cherryPrunus emarginata50 / 9
5.01   Local low point on trail; elevation ~8320 feet (2535 m)
5.02r160 floriferous monkeyflowerMimulus floribundus20 / 1
5.29   Switchback right
5.30   Switchback left
5.32   Switchback right
5.34   Switchback left
5.36r161 thimbleberryRubus parviflorus10 / 1
5.39   Switchback right
5.46r162 California geraniumGeranium californicum5 / 3
5.48r163 spotted coralrootCorallorhiza maculata1 / 1
5.54   Now directly west of Marion Mountain Peak, which is 1800 feet of elevation above this point
5.58   Cross moist drainage
5.58r164splong-anthered rushJuncus macrandrus /
5.64   Switchback right
5.66   Switchback left and trail curves right
5.71   Switchback left
5.73   Local high point on trail; elevation ~8700 feet (2652 m)
5.98   Jct. Marion Mountain Trail; elevation ~8690 feet (2649 m). End Guide

Option to continue on Suicide Rock Trail

Turn right on trail to Suicide Rock; species numbering is continued from lower portion of trail
2.28l143 mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus10 / 5
2.28   Cross small drainage
2.34r  (Largest stand at SnJt of Parish's lupine, Lupinus latifolius var. parishii, ~150 feet long and 20 feet wide)
2.48l144 Yosemite sedgeCarex sartwelliana5 / 1
2.49l  (rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata)
2.62l  (Beautiful hanging garden of rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata)
2.66r  (Scouler's willow, Salix scouleriana)
2.66   Cross small drainage
2.73b  (subarctic lady-fern, Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum)
2.73r ssp(willowherb, Epilobium ciliatum; streambank lotus, Hosackia oblongifolia var. oblongifolia)
2.73l  (five-fingered fern, Adiantum aleuticum; Parish's burning bush, Euonymus occidentalis var. parishii)
2.73 145 scarlet monkeyflowerMimulus cardinalis5 / 1
2.73   Cross Marion Creek, with flowing water, elevation ~7080 feet (2160 m). Up the creek out of sight is the happy home of Parish's burning bush, Euonymus occidentalis var. parishii, with hundreds of plants; brittle bladder fern, Cystopteris fragilis; and California geranium, Geranium californicum, at a 30 feet waterfall above the other species
2.73l146 white bog orchidPlatanthera dilatata var. leucostachys6 / 1
2.77r  Sign: "San Jacinto Wilderness"; honking Jeffrey pine, Pinus jeffreyi, and incense-cedar, Calocedrus decurrens, trees here
2.91   Switchback left
2.93   Switchback right
2.94   Switchback left
2.99   Cross small drainage
3.06   Trail turns left 90°
3.14r  Last two plants of hybrid manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula X A. pringlei ssp. drupacea, on trail
3.19b147 pine lousewortPedicularis semibarbata5 / 1
3.24   Switchback left
3.30l  (fir mistletoe, Phoradendron bolleanum)
3.35b  Field of San Jacinto lupine, Lupinus hyacinthinus
3.40   End trail on top of the white cliffsides of Suicide Rock, elevation 7440 feet (2268 m); Suicide Rock itself is ~90 feet above you. Return to jct. with Deer Springs Trail
    Species only found off-trail in route to Suicide Rock
0.00   few-flowered heterocodonHeterocodon rariflorumOT /
0.00   Palomar monkeyflowerMimulus diffususOT /
0.00   common monkeyflowerMimulus guttatusOT /
0.00   variegated cloverTrifolium variegatumOT /
0.03   ponderosa pinePinus ponderosa var. pacificaOT /
0.12   hairy wood rushLuzula comosaOT /
0.12   tree cloverTrifolium ciliolatumOT /
0.31  ~California chicoryRafinesquia californicaOT /
0.56   Coulter's snapdragonAntirrhinum coulterianumOT /
0.79   California cliff-brakePellaea mucronata var. californicaOT /
0.84   purple nightshadeSolanum xantiOT /
1.21   Durango rootDatisca glomerataOT /
1.21   glaucus willowherbEpilobium glaberrimum ssp. glaberrimumOT /
1.21   thimbleberryRubus parviflorusOT /
1.37   spotted coralrootCorallorhiza maculataOT /
1.37   white hawkweedHieracium albiflorumOT /
1.37   Scouler's St. JohnswortHypericum scouleriOT /
1.47   incense-cedar mistletoePhoradendron juniperinumOT /
1.48   California wild roseRosa californicaOT /
2.49   rock goldenbushEricameria cuneata var. cuneataOT /
2.66   Scouler's willowSalix scoulerianaOT /
2.73   five-fingered fernAdiantum aleuticumOT /
2.73   subarctic lady-fernAthyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorumOT /
2.73   brittle bladder fernCystopteris fragilisOT /
2.73  sspwillowherbEpilobium ciliatumOT /
2.73   Parish's burning bushEuonymus occidentalis var. parishiiOT /
2.73   streambank lotusHosackia oblongifolia var. oblongifoliaOT /
3.30   fir mistletoePhoradendron bolleanumOT /
    Species found only off-trail on upper Deer Springs Trail
4.84   wax currantRibes cereum var. cereum /
4.24   blue elderberrySambucus nigra ssp. caerulea /
4.39   Fendler's meadow-rueThalictrum fendleri var. fendleri /
    look for:
 r  slender wheatgrassElymus trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulus /
    changeable phaceliaPhacelia mutabilis30 / 9

Comments On Specific Species

Arceuthobium campylopodum. This was growing on a young 3-needle pine at the trailhead in 2010, but that pine was no longer present in 2015.

Rhamnus californica. The subspecies are not distinct in this area, so none are given. See Note in Devils Slide Trail Guide.

Stephanomeria virgata. It isn't clear to me that the subspecies exist, so none are given. See Stephanomeria virgata.

Madia minima. There is a large field of this species off-trail near mile 1.4.

Fragaria vesca, Chimaphila menziesii. A large tree fell on the location of these two species in 2010, and they haven't been seen since at that location. Both are found later in the guide.

We thank Adrienne Ballwey for help with the 2 June 2015 survey.

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Copyright © 2006-2020 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith, and Bruce Watts.
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Updated 11 June 2020.