Plant Guide to Fobes Trail, San Jacinto Mountains - Garner Valley Area

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
Comparison of photos before and after 2013 Mountain Fire


The Fobes Trail travels from the northern part of Garner Valley to the Pacific Crest Trail at the Desert Divide. The trailhead is reached by turning north of SR74 onto a 4 mile dirt road, Fobes Ranch Road (6S05). Fobes Ranch Road is not signed like the other roads along SR74; it has only a sign on the fence by the gate, which is hard to see from SR74.

The turnoff from SR74 is 6.8 miles southeast of Mountain Center just beyond mile marker 66. On Fobes Ranch Road, stay left at a fork 0.4 miles north of SR74.

The pre-Mountain Fire (2013) trailhead was reached by driving stay right at the signed fork at mile 3.6. The pre-Mountain Fire Fobes Trailhead only had parking for ~3 vehicles, with additional parking a bit farther up the road.

After the Mountain Fire, the Fobes Trail was closed until 2017, when it was finally reopened, 3.5 years after the fire. The new trailhead is on Fobes Ranch Road at mile 3.6. The trail now traverses the 0.4 mile of the former road at the fork. It soon becomes obvious why the road was closed and converted to the trail; the road is essentially gone at two stream crossings.

See Hike 80 in Robinson and Harris, San Bernardino Mountain Trails, sixth edition, January 2006, p. 204; and Hike 48 in Ferranti and Koenig, 100 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs, 2000, p. 103.

Due to the changes in the trail, we have removed the plant trail guide formerly on this page, and present the plant list in traditional family order (link to be added soon).

The rest of this page will be updated when the family order plant list is online.

This guide is mainly the result of two trips in March and April 2007 only to mile 1.12, along with a trip in July 2009 that extended the guide to the top of the trail without much botanizing on the lower part of the trail.

Highlights of This Trail

The botanical highlights of this trail are:

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"

Numbers not yet supplied for the last two trips on the trail.

The fieldwork on 3/18/07 and 4/4/07 was only to mile 1.12. The fieldwork on 7/2/09 concentrated primarily on mile 1.12 to the top of the trail.

We thank an anonymous person for help with the fieldwork on 3/18/07, and another anonymous person for help on 7/2/09, and Mike Crouse for help with the fieldwork on 7/2/09.

Botanical Trip Reports

Comparison of photos before and after 2013 Mountain Fire

Fortuitously, Mena Schmid took a number of photographs from this trail on 2 May 2009 before the 2013 Mountain Fire. Tom Chester, RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke, Keir Morse and Nancy Accola attempted to reproduce four of those photographs on 13 May 2017, nearly four years after the fire, in order to show how the vegetation differed before and after the fire. We didn't get an exact match for most of them, but the views are clearly the same, allowing a direct comparison of the vegetation.

Mena's photographs are on the left below, reproduced here by her permission; Tom's photographs are on the right. Note that the lighting conditions were very different between the two trips, partly cloudy in 2009 and sunny in 2017.

2 May 2009, Mena Schmid13 May 2017, Tom Chester

Jane Strong closely studied the above photographs, and noticed the changes listed below, in italics. The other comments have been added by Tom Chester.

Mena Schmid noticed there were dead branches in the middle of the bushes in her photographs which were gone in the post-fire photographs, which had the new set of skeletons from the fire.

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Copyright © 2003-2017 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith, James Dillane, Keir Morse, Nancy Accola, RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke, and Erik Blume.
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 May 2017.