Plant Guide to Sawmill Trail, Santa Rosa Mountains

This is a working list, about which we make no guarantees at all until we officially release it. Use at your own risk!

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


The Sawmill Trail is a 5.3 mile old road with 2,220 feet of elevation gain, beginning at the intersection with the Cactus Spring Trail, which is 0.2 miles from the Sawmill Parking Lot. The total hike from the parking lot is thus 5.7 miles with 2,250 feet of elevation gain and loss. Directions to the parking lot are in the Guide to the Cactus Spring Trail.

This trail travels from the Upper Plateau botanical area, with many desert plants, through the Lower Montane botanical area, with chaparral, and ends at the lower portion of the High Montane Slopes, in the pine forest.

Highlights of This Trail

Some of the botanical highlights of this trail are:

Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail

The following histogram gives the number of trails in our database that contain each taxon on this trail. We had 97 trails in our database when this histogram was made; 2 of those trails, including this one, are in this area of Santa Rosa Mountain. A number of "2" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in our database; numbers of "2" or smaller may indicate taxa found only in this area of Santa Rosa Mountains.

Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
Total Taxa84100%

We found 4 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

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 fieldwork on 11/24/06 was only to mile 2.91, and on 12/6/06 to mile 4.77.

There are two entries for 12/6/06; the first is to mile 2.91, so the numbers can be compared to the 11/24/06 trip.

We thank James Dillane and Jane Strong for help in identifying the dead specimens of Lupinus latifolius var. parishii, and Jane Strong and Bob Allen for identifying the scale insects on the Quercus cornelius-mulleri.

Botanical Trip Reports

The Plant Guide

The mileages in the guide have been fit to Topo!, which should be fairly good since this is an old road.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (5 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (2 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here#all
0.00   Begin guide at signed intersection with Cactus Spring Trail; elevation ~4020 feet (1225 m)
0.00b1 matchweedGutierrezia sarothrae+99 / 913
0.00r  (sugar bush, Rhus ovata; red shanks, Adenostoma sparsifolium)
0.00b2spVasey's prickly-pear?Opuntia vaseyi?+20 / 9 
0.00b3 desert lotusLotus rigidus5 / 15
0.00r4 desert needlegrassAchnatherum speciosum99 / 94
0.00l  (desert scrub oak, Quercus cornelius-mulleri)
0.00b5 chaparral yuccaYucca whipplei20 / 934
0.00r  (Mohave yucca, Yucca schidigera)
0.00l6 Acton's enceliaEncelia actoni3 / 13
0.00l7 bur-ragweedAmbrosia acanthicarpa5 / 220
0.00b8 California buckwheatEriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium99 / 921
0.00b9~narrowleaf goldenbushEricameria linearifolia99 / 96
0.00r10 *downy bromeBromus tectorum99 / 925
0.00r11 red shanksAdenostoma sparsifolium99 / 94
0.00r12 Parry's nolinaNolina parryi30 / 92
0.01r13 Pima rhatanyKrameria erecta1 / 15
0.03r14~bristly bird's beakCordylanthus rigidus ssp. setigerus99 / 931
0.03r  (California juniper, Juniperus californica; pinyon pine, Pinus monophylla)
0.04r  (Mojave prickly-pear, Opuntia erinacea var. erinacea; ~desert apricot, ~Prunus fremontii; hollyleaf redberry, Rhamnus ilicifolia; desert agave, Agave deserti)
0.04r15 Engelmann's hedgehog cactusEchinocereus engelmannii5 / 57
0.05r16 desert agaveAgave deserti20 / 96
0.05r17 dead cupped-leaf ceanothusCeanothus greggii var. perplexans+99 / 99
0.06r18 Mojave prickly-pearOpuntia erinacea var. erinacea30 / 92
0.07l19 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. membranaceum20 / 54
0.09r20 chamiseAdenostoma fasciculatum20 / 938
0.12r  (western bernardia, Bernardia myricifolia; dense mistletoe, Phoradendron densum, on juniper)
0.14r  First live cupped-leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus greggii var. perplexans
0.15r21 desert scrub oakQuercus cornelius-mulleri99 / 93
0.15r22 California juniperJuniperus californica20 / 94
0.15r23 oak mistletoePhoradendron villosum1 / 17
0.15l  Jct. road to Dolomite Mine
0.16r24 sugar bushRhus ovata30 / 928
0.17r25~*red bromeBromus madritensis ssp. rubens20 / 258
0.18r26 birch-leaf mountain-mahoganyCercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides3 / 322
0.23l27 pinyon pinePinus monophylla1 / 14
0.23   Road curves right
0.33r28 western bernardiaBernardia myricifolia3 / 34
0.33   Road curves left in a big sweeping curve
0.39r29 desert apricotPrunus fremontii10 / 25
0.39b30 white sageSalvia apiana10 / 240
0.41r  Lots of exposed rocks, including a balancing rock on top
0.42r31 bigberry manzanitaArctostaphylos glauca30 / 912
0.42r  (pancake prickly-pear, Opuntia chlorotica; beavertail cactus, Opuntia basilaris var. basilaris; wide-leaved rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. spathulata)
0.42   Road curves right
0.42b32 smoothleaf yerba santaEriodictyon trichocalyx var. lanatum50 / 95
0.42r  (bird's-foot fern, Pellaea mucronata var. mucronata)
0.42r33sppopcorn flowerCryptantha sp. /  
0.42r34 desert plantainPlantago ovata20 / 16
0.43r35~little-leaved chaparral beard-tongueKeckiella antirrhinoides var. microphylla5 / 13
0.43r36 desert globemallowSphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa20 / 42
0.43r37 southern California silver-lotusLotus argophyllus var. argophyllus50 / 94
0.44   (Beautiful stacked rocks with a honking pancake prickly-pear, Opuntia chlorotica)
0.44l38 Nealley three-awnAristida purpurea var. nealleyi20 / 93
0.44r  Flat area; road curves left
0.45r39 *saltcedarTamarix ramosissima3 / 34
0.46r40 six-weeks three-awnAristida adscensionis5 / 17
0.47r41 bird's-foot fernPellaea mucronata var. mucronata3 / 132
0.47r42 pancake prickly-pearOpuntia chlorotica2 / 22
0.48r43 San Jacinto beardtonguePenstemon clevelandii var. connatus30 / 92
0.48   Open old gate; road curves right
0.48b44 thick-leaved yerba santaEriodictyon crassifolium var. crassifolium20 / 59
0.48l  (Parish's viguiera, Viguiera parishii)
0.49l45 desert baccharisBaccharis sergiloides5 / 13
0.49l46 hollyleaf cherryPrunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia5 / 214
0.49l47~desert-willowChilopsis linearis ssp. arcuata1 / 15
0.49r  Two water tanks storing water stolen from the plants in the Deep Canyon drainage; with outflow tubing watering the desert-willow and Lotus argophyllus
0.49l48 beavertail cactusOpuntia basilaris var. basilaris2 / 211
0.49r49 catclawAcacia greggii1 / 17
0.54r50 golden yarrowEriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum10 / 260
0.54r51 woolly Indian paintbrushCastilleja foliolosa10 / 18
0.55r52~California thistleCirsium occidentale var. californicum20 / 514
0.56   Road curves left
0.56r53spPhaceliaPhacelia sp.3 / 1 
0.56r  Take use trail to waterfall and then return to this point
0.56b54spCalifornia brickellbushBrickellia californica10 / 130
0.56b55 white mugwortArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. albula20 / 25
0.56r56spdodderCuscuta sp.1 / 1 
0.56l57 rigid hedge-nettleStachys ajugoides var. rigida10 / 119
0.56b58 sacred daturaDatura wrightii2 / 119
0.56b59~western false-indigoAmorpha fruticosa10 / 12
0.56b60~Parish's lupineLupinus latifolius var. parishii10 / 16
0.56b61 *tumble pigweedAmaranthus albus10 / 115
0.56b62 horseweedConyza canadensis10 / 143
0.57r63 deergrassMuhlenbergia rigens10 / 124
0.57b64 wild tarragonArtemisia dracunculus10 / 123
0.57l65 red willowSalix laevigata1 / 125
0.58r66 *rabbits-foot grassPolypogon monspeliensis10 / 128
0.58l67 common monkeyflowerMimulus guttatus10 / 117
0.58l68 iris-leaved rushJuncus xiphioides10 / 13
0.58 69~one-sided bluegrassPoa secunda ssp. secunda20 / 224
0.58   End use trail at waterfall; return to road
0.60   Back on road now
0.60   Cross Deep Canyon creek; elevation ~4270 feet (1300 m)
0.60l70~Davidson's buckwheatEriogonum davidsonii5 / 120
0.61r71 Santa Rosa Mtns. linanthusLinanthus floribundus ssp. hallii20 / 32
0.61r72 hollyleaf redberryRhamnus ilicifolia2 / 247
0.61r  The Rhamnus ilicifolia is side by side with a Prunus ilicifolia
0.62r73~perennial rock-cressArabis perennans30 / 95
0.62r74 wide-leaved rock goldenbushEricameria cuneata var. spathulata2 / 21
0.66   Road curves right at ridge
0.71r75 Mohave yuccaYucca schidigera5 / 59
0.79   Upper side of leaf blades for Quercus cornelius-mulleri are beginning to change from gray-green to green at this altitude
0.81   Cross drainage
0.87   Cross small drainage
0.94   Cross very small drainage
  76~Parish's needlegrassAchnatherum parishii+99 / 99
1.04r  Check for Poa fendleriana
1.07   Cross small drainage
1.15   Middle of big switchback right; elevation 4480 feet (1365 m)
1.21l ~(narrow-leaved brickellia, Brickellia oblongifolia var. linifolia)
1.22   Cross small drainage
1.27   Switchback left
1.42r ~(giant four o'clock, Mirabilis multiflora var. pubescens)
1.43   Switchback right; good view into drainage to east
1.53l77 prickly poppyArgemone munita5 / 28
1.68   Switchback left; elevation ~4660 feet (1420 m)
1.85   Road curves right 90°
1.89   Road gradually curves left
1.98   Switchback right; elevation 4840 feet (1475 m)
2.12l78~narrow-leaved brickelliaBrickellia oblongifolia var. linifolia20 / 52
2.12l79~squirreltailElymus elymoides ssp. elymoides1 / 15
2.18l80~desert monardellaMonardella nana ssp. arida1 / 12
2.18l81~slender bedstrawGalium angustifolium ssp. gracillimum1 / 15
2.28   Switchback left; good view of drainage to west; elevation ~4940 feet (1505 m)
2.53l82~giant four o'clockMirabilis multiflora var. pubescens3 / 23
2.57   Road curves right
2.61   Road curves left
2.68   Switchback right; elevation 5160 feet (1573 m)
2.83   Long switchback left at ridge; road becomes quite steep for a short section
2.87l  Jct. old section of road; road curves right
2.91l  Jct. other end of old section of road
2.94r  Infestation of yellow scale insect with hard shells on oak; view of Santa Rosa Mountain to southwest
2.95   Switchback left; elevation 5320 feet (1622 m)
3.05   Road curves right
3.14   Road curves left
3.18r83 ashy silk tasselGarrya flavescens3 / 28
3.19   Switchback right; elevation 5420 feet (1652 m)
3.29l84 desert Parry manzanitaArctostaphylos parryana ssp. deserticum30 / 91
3.34   Road curves left at ridge
3.39   Road curves right at small drainage
3.49   Jct. road; switchback left; elevation ~5580 feet (1700 m)
3.54l85spSan Jacinto buckwheat?Eriogonum apiculatum?20 / 2 
3.66   Road curves right 90°
3.71   Road curves left
3.77   Road curves right and travels along lip of drainage to east
3.89   Road curves left 90° at small drainage
3.95   Switchback right; elevation 5800 feet (1768 m)
4.06   Road curves right to follow ridgeline
4.14   Long switchback left at ridgeline; view of benches to west; elevation ~5845 feet (1782 m). Road levels out and descends slightly to a saddle
4.21   Saddle; local low point
4.54   Long switchback right; elevation 6000 feet (1829 m)
4.56l  Jct. use trail
4.60b86 canyon live oakQuercus chrysolepis30 / 925
4.66   Cross very small drainage
4.69l87 pink-bracted manzanitaArctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea1 / 14
4.70l88 Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi3 / 124
4.73r  Flat area; view of kiln; switchback left; elevation 6080 feet (1853 m)
4.77r89 San Jacinto Mtns. bedstrawGalium angustifolium ssp. jacinticum+10 / 12
4.77   Plant Guide ends here
4.88   Switchback right; elevation ~6150 feet (1875 m)
4.98   Trail curves left at broad ridge
5.11   Switchback right at drainage; elevation 6240 feet (1902 m)
5.33   Road ends at kiln; elevation 6240 feet (1902 m)

Comments On Specific Species

Gutierrezia sarothrae. See note here.

Opuntia vaseyi?. See note here.

Ceanothus greggii var. perplexans. A very high percentage of these plants are dead, presumably the victims of the drought from 1995 to 2004. Zabriskie (1979, page 103) has a picture of these slopes covered with live plants in beautiful full bloom. I will try to reproduce that photograph in spring 2007.

The first dead specimen on the trail is noted, as is the first live specimen.

Achnatherum parishii. No seeds were present to confirm the identification, so we could not identify any given specimen as being this species, due to confusion with A. speciosum. However, this species is common along the Cactus Spring Trail and is surely common here as well.

Poa fendleriana is also probably present here, but we haven't put this in the field guide since we have no positive identifications yet in this area.

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Copyright © 2006 by Tom Chester and Paula Knoll.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 14 December 2006.