Plant Guide to South Ridge Trail Beginning at the Base, San Jacinto Mountains

Introduction and Explanation of Plant Trail Guides

The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species


This page contains a guide to the trail going up, beginning at the trailhead parking area just above Idyllwild. See the guide beginning at the top of the trail if you want a guide going down from Chinquapin Junction.

See the guide beginning at the top of the trail for more information, including dates of fieldwork, some botanical trip reports from this trail, and a link to a checklist in family order for all species on this trail.

A free wilderness permit is required, which can be obtained from the Forest Service Office in Idyllwild. The trailhead is reached by heading south on SR243 from there and following the signs to South Fork Trail. The route is: left on the northernmost intersection with Saunders Meadow Rd.; left on Pine Ave.; right on Tahquitz View Drive; right on Forest Service dirt road 5S11 to a very small parking area. Note that there is an unsigned fork in the dirt road just before the parking area; go left there.

Some relevant GPS coordinates:


Point #1 is at the intersection of Tahquitz View Drive and F5S11; point #2 is the trailhead. If you don't know the difference between NAD27 and WGS84, use WGS84.

The Plant Guide

See also Checklist in Family Order for all the species on this trail.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (7 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 trail at lower trailhead; elevation ~6480 feet (1975 m). See end of guide for additional species near trailhead.
0.00r  (snow-plant, Sarcodes sanguinea, 40 feet away)
0.00r1 Parish' Jacumba milk-vetchAstragalus douglasii var. parishii30 / 915
0.00r2 mountain red-root cryptanthaCryptantha micrantha var. lepida99 / 522
0.00b3 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. membranaceum30 / 932
0.00b4 California-asterLessingia filaginifolia var. filaginifolia99 / 995
0.00r5 Sierra Nevada lotusLotus nevadensis var. nevadensis30 / 949
0.00r6 squirreltailElymus elymoides30 / 976
0.00b7 pink-bracted manzanitaArctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea99 / 936
0.00l  (Martin's paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei ssp. martinii, 40 feet away)
0.00r8 small fescueVulpia microstachys40 / 37
0.00r9 Indian milkweedAsclepias eriocarpa1 / 124
0.00   Trail turns left 90°
0.00r  Sign: "South Ridge Trail …"
0.00r10 canyon live oakQuercus chrysolepis99 / 991
0.00b11 golden yarrowEriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum30 / 4103
0.00r12 leafy daisyErigeron foliosus var. foliosus30 / 783
0.00r13 strigose lotusLotus strigosus99 / 987
0.00r14 whisker-brushLinanthus ciliatus40 / 514
0.00r15 *downy bromeBromus tectorum50 / 582
0.00b16 Coulter pinePinus coulteri2 / 227
0.00r17 pine dwarf-mistletoeArceuthobium campylopodum65 / 317
0.01l  (incense-cedar, Calocedrus decurrens)
0.01r18 forest sedgeCarex multicaulis5 / 514
0.01b19 narrowleaf bedstrawGalium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium10 / 574
0.01b20 California black oakQuercus kelloggii3 / 133
0.01r21 California elegant rock-cressArabis sparsiflora var. californica50 / 39
0.01r22 oak mistletoePhoradendron villosum10 / 230
0.01r23 June grassKoeleria macrantha50 / 521
0.01r24 prickly cryptanthaCryptantha muricata var. jonesii20 / 24
0.01b25 goldenrodSolidago californica10 / 1115
0.01l26 incense-cedarCalocedrus decurrens5 / 162
0.02r27 white catch-flySilene verecunda ssp. platyota30 / 974
0.02r28 white firAbies concolor30 / 9106
0.02r29 hollyleaf redberryRhamnus ilicifolia2 / 267
0.02r30 mountain California-fuchsiaEpilobium canum ssp. latifolium10 / 3105
0.02r31 short-flowered monardellaMonardella nana ssp. tenuiflora50 / 949
0.03r  (Parish's tauschia, Tauschia parishii; beady lipfern, Cheilanthes covillei)
0.03   Switchback left at drainage
0.03l  (sticky cinquefoil, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. reflexa)
0.03r32 pinedropsPterospora andromedea5 / 347
0.03r33 Cleveland's horkeliaHorkelia clevelandii1 / 137
0.04r  (chaparral whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis)
0.04r34 Nevin's bird's beakCordylanthus nevinii20 / 234
0.04r35 white-margined oxythecaOxytheca emarginata30 / 310
0.04r  (splendid gilia, Gilia splendens ssp. splendens)
0.04r  Sign: Be prepared for hazardous conditions; permit required for wilderness area…"
0.04r36 incense-cedar mistletoePhoradendron libocedri1 / 113
0.05r37 bajada lupineLupinus concinnus10 / 366
0.06l38 interior live oakQuercus wislizeni var. frutescens4 / 233
0.08r39 splendid giliaGilia splendens ssp. splendens30 / 326
0.08   Switchback right
0.08l40 chaparral whitethornCeanothus leucodermis4 / 232
0.08r41 Mexican manzanitaArctostaphylos pungens1 / 113
0.08b42 Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi99 / 9105
0.10r  (California coffeeberry, Rhamnus californica)
0.10r43 bush monkeyflowerMimulus aurantiacus10 / 156
0.10   Switchback left
0.11b44 San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus99 / 977
0.12r45 Parish's chaenactisChaenactis parishii10 / 13
0.12r46 California coffeeberryRhamnus californica+1 / 128
0.12l47 sugar pinePinus lambertiana50 / 980
0.12r  Arabis sparsiflora var. californica with aborted fruit in 2009
0.13   Trail curves right
0.14r48 naked buckwheatEriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum30 / 958
0.14l49 volcanic giliaGilia ochroleuca ssp. exilis10 / 27
0.14r50 mountain grape-soda lupineLupinus excubitus var. austromontanus6 / 435
0.15   Trail curves right
0.17r  (beautiful hulsea, Hulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha)
0.20r  Several 6 inch wide yellow-brown mushrooms
0.20l51 beautiful hulseaHulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha30 / 937
0.21   Trail curves right
0.22r52 Laguna Mtns. jewel-flowerStreptanthus bernardinus6 / 48
0.22r  Boulders showing old soil line by absence of lichens at base
0.22l  (fir mistletoe, Phoradendron pauciflorum)
0.23l53 mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus50 / 979
0.25b54 little prince's pineChimaphila menziesii10 / 327
0.25l  (snow-plant, Sarcodes sanguinea)
0.26l  Rock window formed by two huge boulders
0.26l  (Holboell's rock-cress, Arabis holboellii)
0.26l55 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum99 / 944
0.28   Trail jogs right, then left
0.28b56 southern mountain woolly-starEriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum30 / 225
0.30l57 Jepson's blue wildryeElymus glaucus ssp. jepsonii10 / 221
0.30l58 fir mistletoePhoradendron pauciflorum2 / 232
0.31   Trail turns left 90° at drainage; elevation 6640 feet (2024 m)
0.31b  (plain mariposa lily, Calochortus invenustus)
0.32r59 Davidson's buckwheatEriogonum davidsonii3 / 139
0.33   Trail begins long curve right for 0.1 mile
0.35r60~slender wreathplantStephanomeria exigua1 / 13
0.36r61 San Jacinto buckwheatEriogonum apiculatum30 / 347
0.36b62 groundsmokeGayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum10 / 147
0.36l  Impressive flat-topped rock outcrop
0.38r  Jct. old road
0.38l  (Grinnell's beardtongue, Penstemon grinnellii var. grinnellii)
0.39r  (San Jacinto lupine, Lupinus hyacinthinus)
0.39r  Sign: "San Jacinto Wilderness"
0.40b63 brackenPteridium aquilinum var. pubescens2 / 172
0.40   Center of long curve right
0.41l64 woodland spurgeEuphorbia palmeri1 / 118
0.41r65 Parish's tauschiaTauschia parishii30 / 923
0.41l66 Grinnell's beardtonguePenstemon grinnellii var. grinnellii50 / 550
0.43l  View of Lily Rock and Tahquitz Peak
0.44   Trail curves right
0.46   Switchback left
0.48b67 western wallflowerErysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum20 / 285
0.58   Trail curves left 90°
0.62   Switchback right, then trail curves left; elevation ~6840 feet (2085 m)
0.65   Trail curves right at drainage, then curves left again; some honking pink-bracted manzanita, Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea here
0.72r  (rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata)
0.73   Switchback left; elevation ~6900 feet (2103 m)
  68 Burlew's onionAllium burlewii99 / 312
0.77   Switchback right
0.77l69 snow-plantSarcodes sanguinea10 / 445
0.79   Switchback left
0.82   Switchback right
0.84r  View of desert beyond Santa Rosa Mtns on a clear day
0.86r  View of Garner Valley, Lake Hemet, Palomar, Thomas, Cahuilla and Hot Springs Mountains
0.87l  (easier-to-see rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata)
0.89   Switchback left
0.93l  Rock / tree window; trail curves right at ridge
0.97   Switchback right; elevation 7000 feet (2134 m)
1.02l  View of San Gabriel Mountains
1.04   Switchback left
1.08   Switchback right
1.08l  (granite prickly phlox, Leptodactylon pungens)
1.11   Switchback left
1.14l  View of Santa Margarita Mountains at 9 o'clock, to left of Santa Ana Mountains
1.16   Switchback right
1.20   Trail curves left at ridge
1.24   Switchback left; elevation 7200 feet (2195 m)
1.26r70 southern mountain-monardellaMonardella australis10 / 334
1.30   Switchback right
1.34r  Good view of Desert Divide and Santa Rosa Mountain peaks; switchback left; tree with 3 trunks beginning 3 feet above ground
1.39   Switchback right
1.41   Switchback left
1.44   Switchback right and curve left 90°
1.59r  Switchback left at rock window with 3 subpanes; elevation 7400 feet (2256 m). California cliff-brake, Pellaea mucronata var. californica, on other side of rock window
1.63   Switchback right
1.66   Switchback left
1.68   Switchback right
1.80l  Former location of Sign: "Entering San Jacinto Wild Area", now gone; elevation ~7520 feet (2292 m)
1.80b71 spreading dogbaneApocynum androsaemifolium75 / 19
1.83r  View of Tahquitz Lookout; local high point; trail briefly descends
1.89   Local low point at drainage to east; only sandy section of trail; next short stretch is not as steep
1.90l  (bush chinquapin, Chrysolepis sempervirens)
1.98l72 bush chinquapinChrysolepis sempervirens99 / 968
2.10   Trail curves right at ridge; elevation 7600 feet (2316 m)
2.19l73 Holboell's rock-cressArabis holboellii2 / 141
2.20b  (green-leaf manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula)
2.35b74 green-leaf manzanitaArctostaphylos patula99 / 965
2.42l75 curl-leaf mountain-mahoganyCercocarpus ledifolius10 / 931
2.46   Trail curves left 90° at gully leading uphill to steep cliffs with Tahquitz ivesia, Ivesia callida; elevation 7840 feet (2392 m)
2.54   Switchback right
2.54l76 hybrid manzanitaArctostaphylos patula X A. pringlei ssp. drupacea1 / 16
2.60   Switchback left just short of ridge with many footprints giving access to the steep cliffs with Tahquitz ivesia, Ivesia callida
2.68   Switchback right just below saddle; elevation 8000 feet (2438 m)
2.74l  (California groundcone, Boschniakia strobilacea)
2.80   Switchback left at huge split boulder
2.81r  (Parish's campion, Silene parishii)
2.86r77 California groundconeBoschniakia strobilacea99 / 97
2.90   Switchback right
2.96   Switchback left; elevation 8240 feet (2512 m)
3.04   Switchback right
3.14   Switchback left; elevation 8400 feet (2560 m)
3.16r  (more visible granite prickly phlox, Leptodactylon pungens)
3.18r  (rock buckwheat, Eriogonum saxatile)
3.18r78 San Jacinto Mtns. daisyErigeron breweri var. jacinteus2 / 29
3.20r79 granite prickly phloxLeptodactylon pungens1 / 153
3.25   Switchback right
3.27   Switchback left
3.30   Switchback right
3.30l80 rock buckwheatEriogonum saxatile5 / 222
3.33r  (limber pine, Pinus flexilis)
3.34   Switchback left; elevation ~8600 feet (2621 m)
3.38r81 Parish's bedstrawGalium parishii3 / 241
3.38r82 Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii2 / 256
3.38r  (mountain spray, Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus)
3.39l83 limber pinePinus flexilis40 / 729
3.39   Switchback right at saddle
3.41l84 mountain sprayHolodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus3 / 338
3.43r85 lodgepole pinePinus contorta ssp. murrayana20 / 750
3.43l  (beaked penstemon, Penstemon rostriflorus)
3.44l86 Parish's needlegrassAchnatherum parishii1 / 144
3.45l  (San Jacinto prickly phlox, Leptodactylon jaegeri)
3.50   Switchback left
3.53   Switchback right
3.55   Switchback left
3.57   Switchback right
3.60   Switchback left
3.60   Switchback right
3.61   Jct. to Tahquitz Lookout; go right on it; elevation 8800 feet (2682 m)
3.63   Trail begins a series of zig-zags.
3.65   Tahquitz Lookout base.
3.66   Catwalk of Tahquitz Lookout; elevation 8846 feet (2696 m); broad-seeded rock-cress, Arabis platysperma just east of Lookout; return to trail jct.
3.71   Jct. main South Ridge Trail; go right on it
    Species below are placed in the guide mostly using locations from the guide going downhill; some may have earlier locations in this uphill guide
3.74r87 white-veined wintergreenPyrola picta10 / 121
3.74r88 mountain holly fernPolystichum scopulinum3 / 17
3.74r  (spike trisetum, Trisetum spicatum)
3.77   Trail curves right 90°.
3.79   Switchback left
3.80   Switchback right
3.84   Trail curves right
3.86r89 Watson's spike-mossSelaginella watsonii1 / 121
3.86r90~rush blue grassPoa secunda ssp. juncifolia+5 / 18
3.86r91 shaggy-haired alumrootHeuchera hirsutissima6 / 230
3.93   Trail curves right
3.93l92 limber-pine dwarf-mistletoeArceuthobium cyanocarpum2 / 21
3.97r93 Parish's campionSilene parishii10 / 236
4.08b94 Parish's snowberrySymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii2 / 174
4.09r95 western needlegrassAchnatherum occidentale ssp. occidentale2 / 212
4.09r96~Ross' sedgeCarex rossii10 / 233
4.09r97 San Jacinto Mts. Keckiella (in chinquapin)Keckiella rothrockii var. jacintensis1 / 144
4.11r98 pussy pawsCalyptridium monospermum5 / 133
4.11   End South Ridge Trail at Chinquapin Jct with the PCT, elevation 8570 feet (2610 m)
    Additional species on “shortcut trail”, the old trail route north of trailhead
    mountain mugwortArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta2 / 154
    slender everlastingGnaphalium canescens ssp. thermale5 / 126
    Mexican rushJuncus mexicanus99 / 156
    dwarf madiaMadia minima50 / 12
    deergrassMuhlenbergia rigens10 / 155

Comments On Specific Species

Rhamnus californica. See note in Devils Slide Trail Guide.

Poa secunda ssp. juncifolia. Plants at mile 0.24 are very different-looking from normal Poa secunda, and as a result formerly were called Poa nevadensis. However, Elizabeth Anne Kellogg showed in 1985 that these different forms are environmentally induced.

Curiously, most vouchers from this area are of ssp. secunda, which is clearly ruled out by every characteristic in the Jepson Manual key. The lemmas are glabrous, not hairy; the ligule of the sterile shoots is only 1 mm and truncate, not greater than 2 mm and acute; and the leaf blade is firm, retaining its shape, not withering after bloom. The non-withering leaves is the easiest trait to observe in the field.

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Copyright © 2006-2012 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith and James Dillane.
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 19 November 2012.