Plant Guide to Round Valley Loop Trail, San Jacinto Mountains

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
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
Botanical Trip Reports
The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species


This guide is to the Upper Willow Creek Trail / High Round Valley Trail to Round Valley, which is the longer way to get to Round Valley from the Upper Tram Station. A Loop can be made by returning via the Low Round Valley Trail; see its guide if you are returning that way. (But note that guide is for travel in the opposite direction, and hence has to be followed backwards.)

This guide includes an optional portion to continue 0.3 miles past the High Round Valley Trail to go to Hidden Divide.

The trailhead for the Willow Creek Trail is 0.12 miles west of the Ranger Station in Long Valley, which is 0.2 miles west of the upper Palm Springs Tramway Station.

The portion of the loop covered in this guide is roughly 2.0 miles one way, with 600 feet of elevation gain. The entire loop is 3.5 miles long, with the same 600 feet of elevation gain and loss. Including the trail from the Tram Station, the entire loop is 4.3 miles roundtrip, with 700 feet of elevation gain and loss. Adding the optional excursion to Hidden Divide adds 0.6 miles and another 100 feet of elevation gain and loss.

A free wilderness permit is required, available at the Ranger Station.

Highlights of This Trail

The botanical highlights of this trail are:

Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail

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"

The guide was not updated after the fieldwork on 8/30/07, so the 6/25/08 numbers reflect the additions from both trips.

We thank Phillip Erdelsky for help with the fieldwork on 8/16/07, and Michael Charters and Richard Sapiro for help with the fieldwork on 6/25/08. The work on 8/30/07 was only for the Willow Creek portion, and was interrupted by showers. One species, Allium burlewii, was added on 5/2/12 from a hike on a short section of this loop.

Botanical Trip Reports

The Plant Guide

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (3 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (1 double-sided page). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

The mileages in the guide come from Topo! and a GPS recording of the trail made on 8/16/07. The mileage might be slightly underestimated due to switchbacks not accurately recorded by the GPS track. The mileage given on the Tom Harrison map is 0.2 mile greater. The elevations come from the topo map, and should be fairly precise.

See Explanation of Plant Trail Guides for an explanation of the column headers.

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here#all
0.00   Begin guide at Willow Creek Trail jct. with Round Valley Trail 0.12 miles west of Ranger Station; elevation 8400 feet (2560 m); go left on Willow Creek Trail. Sign: "[left] Willow Creek 3.7 mi; Skunk Cabbage Meadow 5 mi; Idyllwild 10.5 mi; [ahead] Long Valley; Round Valley 2 mi; Saddle Junction 5.5 mi; [back] Tramway 0.3 mi"
0.00r  (sugar pine, Pinus lambertiana)
0.00r1 Parish's snowberrySymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii99 / 959
0.00l  (white fir, Abies concolor; Jeffrey pine, Pinus jeffreyi; behind boulder: San Jacinto Mts. Keckiella, Keckiella rothrockii var. jacintensis )
0.00r  (San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus)
0.01r2~western needlegrassAchnatherum occidentale ssp. occidentale20 / 27
0.01b3 white firAbies concolor99 / 989
0.01l  (mountain spray, Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus)
0.01r4 Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi50 / 987
0.02l5 granite prickly phloxLeptodactylon pungens2 / 238
0.02l6 mountain California-fuchsiaEpilobium canum ssp. latifolium10 / 194
0.03r7 mountain sprayHolodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus1 / 128
0.03l8 wax currantRibes cereum var. cereum1 / 159
0.04l9 San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus40 / 965
0.04r10 Scouler's willowSalix scouleriana3 / 251
0.04   Cross small drainage
0.07 11 wild tarragonArtemisia dracunculus40 / 979
0.07b12 San Jacinto Mts. keckiellaKeckiella rothrockii var. jacintensis99 / 933
0.07l  Jct. use trail
0.07r13 San Gabriel beardtonguePenstemon labrosus / 33
0.07b14 brown sedgeCarex subfusca20 / 315
0.08l15 false monkeyflowerMimulus pilosus / 27
0.08l16 Brewer's monkeyflowerMimulus breweri / 20
0.08l17?“like Hypericum”“like Hypericum” /
0.08   Cross north fork of Long Valley Creek, coming from Round and Tamarack Valleys, on wood plank bridge
0.08b18 Idaho bentgrassAgrostis idahoensis10 / 147
0.08b19 Nevada cinquefoilPotentilla glandulosa ssp. nevadensis2 / 127
0.08l ~(~Fendler's meadow-rue, Thalictrum ~fendleri var. fendleri; western columbine, Aquilegia formosa)
0.08r  (western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum)
 r ?(Arabis or wallflower)
0.14r20 Parish's bedstrawGalium parishii3 / 230
0.14r  Sign: "Permit required"
0.15   Switchback right, then left
0.16l  (little-leaf mock orange, Philadelphus microphyllus)
0.17b21 San Jacinto lupineLupinus hyacinthinus50 / 958
0.22b22 lodgepole pinePinus contorta ssp. murrayana99 / 935
0.22b23 sugar pinePinus lambertiana20 / 964
0.22   Trail turns left 90°
0.24   Switchback right
0.25   Switchback left
0.25r24 bush chinquapinChrysolepis sempervirens20 / 953
0.27   Four switchbacks in next 0.04 miles
0.32r25~groundsmokeGayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum / 34
0.32   Trail zigzags up
0.38b26 Nevin's bird's beakCordylanthus nevinii / 29
0.50   Trail enters large flattish area extending for 1/4 mile
    Order of the following 7 species may not be correct:
0.50l27 San Jacinto Mtns. daisyErigeron breweri var. jacinteus / 3
0.51r28 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum / 40
0.52l29 Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii / 51
0.53l  (green-leaf manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula)
0.53l30 Ross' sedgeCarex rossii / 22
0.53l  definite western needlegrass, Achnatherum occidentale ssp. occidentale
0.53l  (mountain whitethorn, Ceanothus cordulatus)
0.61r31 pine lousewortPedicularis semibarbata2 / 250
0.61b  (plain mariposa lily, Calochortus invenustus)
0.61   Cross small drainage
0.64r32 western wallflowerErysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum10 / 273
0.66   Cross western branch of south fork of Long Valley Creek, a very minor drainage here; trail resumes going up
0.72r  (snow-plant, Sarcodes sanguinea)
0.83r  Jct. high Round Valley Trail; go right (see end of guide for option to go to Hidden Divide first). Sign: "[ahead] Willow Creek 2.7 mi; Saddle Junction 4.8 mi; Humber Park 6.8 mi; [back] Long Valley 1 mi; Tram 1.3 mi; [right] Round Valley 2 mi; San Jacinto Peak 5.5 mi"
1.13   Cross same western branch of south branch of Long Valley Creek at higher elevation, a very minor drainage here
1.46b33 Burlew's onionAllium burlewii99 / 28
1.52   Now in another flattish area, the higher elevation extension of the previous flattish area
1.78l  Check for different annual
1.81   High point on route, elevation ~8980 feet (2737 m)
1.96   Jct. low Round Valley Trail; end guide; go right to return to Tram Station
3.47   Ranger Station
    Option to continue to Hidden Divide from mile 0.83:
0.83r  Jct. high Round Valley Trail; continue ahead to go to Hidden Divide; local high point, elevation ~8760 feet (2670 m)
0.90l34 mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus2 / 265
0.94l  (curl-leaf mountain-mahogany, Cercocarpus ledifolius)
1.02   Local low point, elevation ~8700 feet (2652 m)
1.12   Hidden Divide. No views from here, but can see Red Tahquitz Peak just past the saddle; return to high Round Valley Trail to follow rest of guide
1.41   Jct. high Round Valley Trail; go left to follow rest of guide from mile 0.83 above

Mile: 0.00 includes all mileages from 0.000 to 0.009; etc.

S: Side of trail on which the first occurrence is found: left, right, both, or center

#: On-Trail species are numbered in order of first occurrence on trail (touchable without leaving the trail). Off-trail species are in parentheses.

id?: Species without an entry in this column are positively identified. "?" means we are just guessing the identification; "sp" means the genera is probably known, but the species name is uncertain; "~" means we have 95% confidence that this is the determination, but have not yet positively identified it; "ssp" means the subspecies or variety needs to be determined.

#here gives the minimum number of on-trail plants of this species on this trail, with the number of locations on this trail following the /, using maximum values of 99/9. 1/1 means a single plant in a single location; 10/9 means 10 plants occurring in at least 9 locations, etc.

#all gives the number of plant trail guides, from all over southern California, that contain this taxon.

Comments On Specific Species

We thank Nick Nixon for the names of the trails used by the Rangers.

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Copyright © 2007-2012 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith and Eric Baecht.
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 11 June 2012.