89 Lightning Ridge Nature Trail

Participant: Jane Strong
Dates: 9 September 1998; 20 May, 1999; 28 June 1999 with Tom Chester; 16 September 1999 plants blooming by Tom Chester

Overview: A short, steep walk with spectacular wildflowers and majestic views

Directions: From SR2, the Angeles Crest Highway, at Blue Ridge Road (3N06), 1.8 miles west of Big Pines, park in the lot on the north side of the road marked PCT parking.

Distance: Round trip is 0.8 miles.

Elevation Change: ~250 feet.

Season: May to November. Check to see if the road (SR2) is open. Wildflowers in spring, summer and fall. In the fall, the black oak leaves turn gold.

Weather on 9 September 1998: A very strong wind blows up canyon from the east. Cool. Deep marine layer in the basin--fog all the way out to Cajon Pass.

Trail condition: The trail is not well marked from the highway. The beginning is overgrown with snowbush, but the rest of it is fine. Most of the carsonite markers were destroyed in the fire of 1997.

Plants In bloom:
9 September 1998: This site of a major burn last year now shows black oak (Quercus kelloggii) and snowbush (Ceanothus cordulatus) crown sprouting. On rocky slopes, low-growing wildflowers bloom prolifically as happens after fires: neon-pink gilia, blue-purple asters, a hollyhock type with a bright pink flower with dark red splotches inside and large crinkly gray-green leaves just beginning, a gray matted buckwheat with tiny pink flowers (Eriogonum sp.), prickly poppy with its "fried egg" flowers (Argemone munita), sulphur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum), golden ear-drops (Dicentra chrysantha) and California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) which at this altitude grows very short and squat.
20 May 1999: lupine, paintbrush, popcorn flower, wallflower, a relative of baby blue eyes has lavender spots on the tips of the five yellowish-white petals and stems that are prostrate on the ground, yellow violets, blue-eyed mary, an upright gilia with a yellow throat, light red-violet petals edged in darker purple and cobwebby three-pronged leaves at its base, new pink leaves on the black oaks
28 June 1999: linanthus, mariposa lily, prickly poppy, imbricate phacelia, gilia, whispering bells, cinquefoil, sidalcea in bud
16 September 1999: rabbitbrush, rabbitbrush, and more rabbitbrush! A stunning display all around the parking lot.

9 September 1998:
None, too windy
28 June 1999: a few

Other pests: A tour bus from Marin County

Wildlife: Migrating monarch and painted lady butterflies fly close to the ground, green-tailed towhee, raven

Views: Atop the ridge is a vast view of the back of Mt. Baldy, the deep steep canyon of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and the 9,399' Mt. Baden-Powell. See Elevation and Azimuths of Peaks from Lightning Ridge.

Go to:

Copyright © 1999 by Jane Strong.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Jane Strong
Last update: 24 November 1999