The Flora of the PCT
A6 Mt. Laguna to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area

Segment StartSegment EndSegment LengthElevation (feet)
Mt. Laguna (Desert Overlook)Pioneer Mail Picnic Area10.5 miles52206010790
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.

Survey Dates
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.

Survey Dates

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:

The lists are:

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.

Go to:

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.