The Flora of the PCT
A6 Mt. Laguna to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area
Segment Start Segment End Segment Length Elevation (feet) Min Max Range Mt. Laguna (Desert Overlook) Pioneer Mail Picnic Area 10.5 miles 5220 6010 790 This section covers mile 42 to mile 53 from the Mexican Border (see notes on accuracy of mileages).
Topo! gives 9.6 miles for this segment; the PCT Data Book gives 10.5 miles. We went with 10.5 miles.
The one-way hike from south to north has a total elevation gain of 820 feet; see the profile below.
The one-way hike from north to south has a total elevation gain of 1460 feet.
A round-trip hike of this section is 21 miles, with an elevation gain and loss of 2300 feet.
The Plant Checklists
There is no trailhead; the trail is found just below the picnic tables at Desert View Overlook. The trail passes through a mix of forest and chaparral. Nice views of the desert below can be seen, especially at Storm Canyon. A few populations of Swertia were found, as well as a single California Bay, which is one of the southern-most individuals of this species. In April 2013, the area appears to be recovering from a fire 8-9 years ago.
Fig. 2. Left: Trail Map for the PCT Section A6 from Mt. Laguna (Desert Overlook) to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area, from USDA Forest Service Interactive Map. Right: Elevation profile from Mt. Laguna to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area, from south to north. Click on the pictures for larger versions.
Surveyed 4/28/2013 by RT and Shaun Hawke. 127 species were observed, about half in bloom. The serviceberry was in full bloom.
The Plant Checklists
There are four different versions of the Plant Checklists, which differ depending on:
- whether only species observed in the immediate vicinity of the trail are included, or whether species are also included from the larger area surrounding the trail, some of which might be found on the trail in future surveys;
- whether the list is presented in trail order, or in plant family order; and
- whether thumbnail photographs are included with the list or instead, links are provided to Calphotos pix and the Jepson Manual eflora.
The lists are:
- Illustrated Family Order List from Calflora, with two thumbnail pictures for every species found on the trail (170 taxa). Note the checkbox at right that allows a sort of the list in family order instead of scientific name order, or a sort by bloom start month. Check Show photo service links and then click on Display to get links to all Calphotos et al pictures.
- Species in Order Along the Trail, from Mt. Laguna to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (172 taxa)
- Species Seen on or near the Trail in a Family Order List, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (170 taxa)
- Species Seen on or near the Trail, along with species vouchered from this general area, in a Family Order List, with links to Jepson Manual Treatment and Calphotos (303 taxa)
Separate condensed print versions of just the checklist names are available for all except for the Calflora thumbnail picture version, as a link on each of those pages.
Copyright © 2014 by RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke, and Tom Chester
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 16 December 2014.