Plant Guide to Seven Pines 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 began as a guide to the 7 Pines / Marion Mountain Trail Loop in 2007, but on 15 September 2011 we changed it to be a guide to just the 7 Pines Trail, after doing extensive work on the trails separately.

The 7 Pines Trail is a 3.4 mile trail from the trailhead on the Azalea Pines Road just past the Girl Scout Camp to a junction with the PCT. The hike to the PCT and back is 6.8 miles roundtrip with a total elevation gain and loss of 2760 feet (2550 feet gain on the way up to the PCT and 210 feet gain on the way back).

Directions to Trailhead. From the U.S. Forest Service office near the center of Idyllwild, drive 5.0 miles to Azalea Trails Road, which is the turnoff for Marion Mountain / Stone Creek / Dark Canyon Campgrounds, and turn right, across the street from Camp Allendale. After 0.1 mile, turn left to stay on Azalea Trails Road. After another 0.7 miles, turn left again to stay on Azalea Trails Road. Drive another 3.4 miles to a saddle just above the Azalea Trails Girl Scout Camp, following the road left after the horse corrals at the Azalea Trails Girl Scout Camp, immediately before the usually-closed gate to the Camp.

Note that these left turns are somewhat confusingly signed; the first two are marked on the map below. It helps tremendously to expect these turns before you get to them.

The parking area is on the right. Azalea Trails Road is paved through Dark Canyon Campground, and is dirt above that.

The following map shows the access road, parking area, 7 Pines Trail, and nearby trails. The Azalea Trails Road is much more windy than indicated on the map, and a slow drive. Anticipate taking a minimum of 25 minutes from Idyllwild to get to the 7 Pines Trailhead.

The Pines in the name actually refers to conifers, since one of them is not even in the Pine Family:

FamilyScientific NameCommon Name
CupressaceaeCalocedrus decurrensincense-cedar
PinaceaeAbies concolorwhite fir
PinaceaePinus contorta ssp. murrayanalodgepole pine
PinaceaePinus coulteriCoulter pine
PinaceaePinus jeffreyiJeffrey pine
PinaceaePinus lambertianasugar pine
PinaceaePinus ponderosaponderosa pine

This guide is different from our usual plant trail guides, in that it corresponds to the flora of an area rather than just a transect along the narrow corridor of the trail. The plants numbered below are not all on trail, and the number of plants reflects the number seen off-trail as well as on-trail, including an excursion to an 8000 foot knoll about 0.3 miles south of the trail.

See also Flora of 7 Pines Trail Area, which gives all the species in this guide in traditional family order, cross-referenced to this guide.

This trail can be done as part of a 6.1 mile loop hike, with 2530 feet of elevation gain and 2550 feet of elevation loss, that requires a car shuttle between the Marion Mountain Trailhead and the Seven Pines Trailhead. The one-way car shuttle takes about 15 minutes. Part of the shuttle route is a dirt road that can be easily navigated by high-clearance normal passenger cars.

Highlights of This Trail

Some of the botanical highlights of this trail are:

Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail

The following histogram gives the number of trails in our database that contain each taxon on this trail (not including the taxa seen only off-trail given at the end of the guide). We had 248 trails in our southern California database when this histogram was made; 13 of those trails, including this one, are in this area of San Jacinto Mountain. A number of "1" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in our database; numbers of "9" or smaller may indicate taxa found only in this area of San Jacinto Mountain.

Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
Total Taxa155100%

The following table gives the species seen on the fewest number of our surveyed San Jacinto Trails and Areas:

1Cryptantha affinis
1Collinsia torreyi var. wrightii
1Listera convallarioides
1~Pyrola minor
1*Amaranthus albus
2Arceuthobium californicum
3Phacelia austromontana
3Epilobium lactiflorum
3Oxypolis occidentalis
4Potentilla rimicola
4Thalictrum sparsiflorum
4Poa bolanderi

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 numbers above all are just for the 7 Pines Trail area, not including the original Marion Mountain Trail portion. Beginning 7/13/10, the numbers include all taxa seen, including off-trail taxa. The work on 8/10/10 was just in the Listera drainage. The work on 5/4/11 was primarily to check for the present of Allium burlewii in the first mile or so of the trail. The work on 9/16/11 was just to mile 2.23, and was the first time the flora of the 8000 foot knoll was included.

Although the species count stayed the same between 9/16/2011 and 9/21/2011, three species were deleted since they were not confirmed (Carex rossii, Lotus oblongifolius and Erigeron foliosus) and three were added (Agrostis scabra, Dodecatheon alpinum and Carex subfusca).

Botanical Trip Reports

The Plant Guide

See also Flora of 7 Pines Trail Area, which gives all the species in this guide in traditional family order, cross-referenced to this guide.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (6 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (2 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

The mileages in the guide come from Topo!. The total mileage is almost surely slightly underestimated, probably by no more than 10%, due to the tight switchbacks on the trail that are not accurately measured by that program. The elevations come from the topo map, and should be fairly precise.

The guide below does not give most of the switchbacks and other such trail landmarks, since there were way too many of them to record.

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here#all
0.00   Begin trail at northern end of parking area, at saddle between Fuller Creek and North Fork, elevation 6300 feet (1920 m), The following plants are at or near the parking area, given in alphabetical order by scientific name.
  1 white fir Abies concolor99 / 985
  2 western needlegrass Achnatherum occidentale20 / 312
  3 *tumble pigweed Amaranthus albus4 / 119
  4 pink-bracted manzanita Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea99 / 733
  5~Hall's brome Bromus orcuttianus var. hallii20 / 38
  6 *downy brome Bromus tectorum20 / 270
  7 incense-cedar Calocedrus decurrens99 / 956
  8 forest goosefoot Chenopodium atrovirens30 / 530
  9 San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus50 / 564
  10 Nevin's bird's beak Cordylanthus nevinii99 / 726
  11 purple-root cryptantha Cryptantha micrantha30 / 134
  12 squirreltail Elymus elymoides10 / 354
  13 southern mountain woolly-star Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum20 / 125
  14 slender buckwheat Eriogonum gracile var. incultum50 / 111
  15 pineland buckwheat Eriogonum molestum50 / 17
  16 sulphur buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum var. munzii99 / 923
  17 Wright's buckwheat Eriogonum wrightii var. membranaceum99 / 529
  18 San Jacinto Mtns. bedstraw Galium angustifolium ssp. jacinticum99 / 925
  19 pinegrove groundsmoke Gayophytum oligospermum50 / 342
  20 splendid gilia Gilia splendens ssp. splendens99 / 521
  21 slender everlasting Gnaphalium canescens ssp. thermale20 / 126
  22 western marsh cudweed Gnaphalium palustre50 / 119
  23 California-aster Lessingia filaginifolia var. filaginifolia5 / 292
  24 whisker-brush Linanthus ciliatus5 / 114
  25 Sierra Nevada lotus Lotus nevadensis var. nevadensis40 / 547
  26 short-flowered monardella Monardella nana ssp. tenuiflora99 / 943
  27 incense-cedar mistletoe Phoradendron libocedri5 / 214
  28 oak mistletoe Phoradendron villosum99 / 726
  29 Coulter pine Pinus coulteri50 / 525
  30 sugar pine Pinus lambertiana99 / 961
  31 ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa40 / 515
  32 canyon live oak Quercus chrysolepis99 / 973
  33 California black oak Quercus kelloggii30 / 330
  34 goldenrod Solidago californica30 / 295
    The rest of the guide gives plants in order along the trail; plants off-trail are numbered just like plants on-trail
0.00l  Sign: "Seven Pines Trail; Deer Springs Trail 3.5 miles; Mt. San Jacinto 7.25 miles"
0.01l  Sign: "Fragile habitat; Creek Closure"
0.01l  Sign: "Wilderness Permit Required"
0.03b35 mountain California-fuchsia Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium99 / 990
0.07r36 Parish's tauschia Tauschia parishii20 / 222
0.09r37 naked buckwheat Eriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum99 / 953
0.11l38 Burlew's onion Allium burlewii99 / 26
0.12   First of two close local high points on trail
0.12r39 mountain grape-soda lupine Lupinus excubitus var. austromontanus5 / 127
0.12l40 beautiful hulsea Hulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha40 / 331
0.12 41~pinewoods rock-cress Arabis holboellii var. pinetorum1 / 127
0.17r42 San Jacinto buckwheat Eriogonum apiculatum50 / 338
0.20r43 sugar pine dwarf-mistletoe Arceuthobium californicum99 / 32
0.23   Local high point; cross divide for a brief sojourn in canyon of North Fork before returning to Fuller Creek canyon
0.36r44 snow-plant Sarcodes sanguinea20 / 836
0.36r45 western azalea Rhododendron occidentale50 / 340
0.36   Densest population of sugar pine dwarf-mistletoe, Arceuthobium californicum
0.39l46 pinedrops Pterospora andromedea10 / 941
0.39r47 rock buckwheat Eriogonum saxatile10 / 118
0.49l48 California coffeeberry Rhamnus californica2 / 122
0.53 49 white catch-fly Silene verecunda ssp. platyota99 / 959
0.53l50 white-veined wintergreen Pyrola picta3 / 118
0.55l51 fir mistletoe Phoradendron pauciflorum20 / 327
0.59l52 Laguna Mtns. jewel-flower Streptanthus bernardinus8 / 37
0.60l53 mountain whitethorn Ceanothus cordulatus99 / 961
0.60l54 Scouler's willow Salix scouleriana10 / 451
0.60l55 deergrass Muhlenbergia rigens1 / 152
0.61b56 Parish's campion Silene parishii+99 / 323
0.63 57 pine lousewort Pedicularis semibarbata99 / 947
0.67 58 little prince's pine Chimaphila menziesii5 / 225
0.72   Minor local high point; cross saddle for another brief sojourn in canyon of North Fork
0.74l59 Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi99 / 983
0.74 60 granite prickly phlox Leptodactylon pungens15 / 234
0.75   Switchback left
0.78r61 green-leaf manzanita Arctostaphylos patula20 / 347
0.81r62 spotted coralroot Corallorhiza maculata30 / 523
0.81   Switchback left
0.84   Switchback right
0.85   Switchback left
0.94r63 beaked penstemon Penstemon rostriflorus50 / 949
0.96r64 bush chinquapin Chrysolepis sempervirens30 / 353
1.02   Local high point; elevation ~7100 feet (2164 m); cross small saddle and enter North Fork Canyon for rest of trip
1.04l65 rock goldenbush Ericameria cuneata var. cuneata1 / 119
1.07   First of many switchbacks
1.12l66 San Jacinto lupine Lupinus hyacinthinus30 / 557
1.26b67 mountain pink currant Ribes nevadense99 / 750
1.26   Local low point; cross small side creek; next three species found down the creek at the North Fork
1.26r68 western columbine Aquilegia formosa50 / 754
1.26r69 tall mannagrass Glyceria elata50 / 335
1.26r70 thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus50 / 532
1.27l  Local high point; sign: "Entering Mount San Jacinto State Park Wilderness"
1.28b71 bracken Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens99 / 963
1.30   Cross small side creek
    Plants at and near first crossing of North Fork given in alphabetical order of scientific name:
1.32l72 spike bentgrass Agrostis exarata1 / 120
1.32l73 rough bentgrass Agrostis scabra5 / 116
1.32 74 purple false-gilia Allophyllum divaricatum99 / 926
1.32r75 fragile sheath sedge Carex fracta50 / 753
1.32b76 giant red paintbrush Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata15 / 238
1.32 77 green miner's lettuce Claytonia parviflora ssp. viridis10 / 112
1.32l78 slender hairgrass Deschampsia elongata5 / 140
1.32l79 glaucus willowherb Epilobium glaberrimum ssp. glaberrimum5 / 230
1.32 80 Cleveland's horkelia Horkelia clevelandii10 / 231
1.32b81 long-styled rush Juncus longistylis20 / 120
1.32l82 lemon lily Lilium parryi39 / 343
1.32r83 broad-leaved lotus Lotus crassifolius var. crassifolius3 / 326
1.32 84 Brewer's monkeyflower Mimulus breweri99 / 519
1.32l85 musk monkeyflower Mimulus moschatus99 / 541
1.32r86 sticky cinquefoil Potentilla glandulosa ssp. reflexa30 / 538
1.32l87 willow-leaved dock Rumex salicifolius var. salicifolius5 / 122
1.32l88 pearlwort Sagina saginoides35 / 228
1.32l89 ranger's buttons Sphenosciadium capitellatum50 / 538
1.32   Cross North Fork of San Jacinto River; elevation 6880 feet (2097 m)
1.32b90 scarlet monkeyflower Mimulus cardinalis10 / 237
1.32r91 groundsmoke Gayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum50 / 231
1.33l92 Parish's lupine Lupinus latifolius var. parishii10 / 229
1.33l93 brittle bladder fern Cystopteris fragilis20 / 342
1.33l94 abrupt-beak sedge Carex abrupta10 / 222
1.35   First of many more switchbacks
1.40b95 changeable phacelia Phacelia mutabilis99 / 943
1.40b96 Jepson's blue wildrye Elymus glaucus ssp. jepsonii50 / 522
1.44b97 Sierra gooseberry Ribes roezlii var. roezlii10 / 543
1.44r98 Grinnell's beardtongue Penstemon grinnellii var. grinnellii9 / 141
1.46   Check for leafy daisy, Erigeron foliosus
1.47r99 plain mariposa lily Calochortus invenustus99 / 935
1.47l100 western wallflower Erysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum99 / 966
1.50 101 Martin's paintbrush Castilleja applegatei ssp. martinii4 / 349
1.61r102 golden yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum8 / 192
1.70 103 southern miner's lettuce Claytonia perfoliata ssp. mexicana5 / 135
1.98l104 southern Sierra phacelia Phacelia austromontana99 / 13
1.99r  View of 8000 foot knoll 0.3 miles south
2.17 105 prickly cryptantha Cryptantha muricata15 / 228
2.17b106~slender wheatgrass Elymus trachycaulus10 / 321
2.23r  Jct. cross-country route to 8000 foot knoll that is 0.3 miles due south. Additional species found there, in alphabetical order by scientific name:
  107 Parish's bedstraw Galium parishii1 / 129
  108 prickly hawkweed Hieracium horridum50 / 118
  109 mountain spray Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus3 / 128
  110 western polypody Polypodium hesperium40 / 110
  111 cliff cinquefoil Potentilla rimicola74 / 14
  112 Watson's spike-moss Selaginella watsonii15 / 111
2.25l113 Fendler's meadow-rue Thalictrum fendleri var. fendleri10 / 231
2.30 114 wax currant Ribes cereum var. cereum1 / 156
2.30r115 pine violet Viola pinetorum ssp. pinetorum50 / 56
2.30r116 Nevada cinquefoil Potentilla glandulosa ssp. nevadensis5 / 326
2.30r117 mountain carpet clover Trifolium monanthum var. grantianum99 / 238
2.30r118 hairy wood rush Luzula comosa20 / 228
2.30r119 Bolander's blue grass Poa bolanderi10 / 24
2.30r120 pine cryptantha Cryptantha simulans20 / 110
2.30r121 Suksdorf's monkeyflower Mimulus suksdorfii5 / 16
2.40r122 blue elderberry Sambucus mexicana5 / 187
2.53l123 southern mountain-monardella Monardella australis50 / 323
2.63r124 Wright's collinsia Collinsia torreyi var. wrightii99 / 15
2.63   Cross North Fork of San Jacinto River; elevation ~8030 feet (2448 m). Species in this area given in alphabetical order:
 l125 Idaho bentgrass Agrostis idahoensis5 / 147
 b126 scented shooting star Dodecatheon redolens99 / 28
 l127sspwillowherb Epilobium ciliatum3 / 133
 l128 white-flowered willowherb Epilobium lactiflorum10 / 13
 r129 California geranium Geranium californicum3 / 127
 l130 long-anthered rush Juncus macrandrus10 / 110
 b131 larger mountain monkeyflower Mimulus tilingii20 / 245
 b132 arrowhead butterweed Senecio triangularis99 / 47
 l133 thyme-leaved speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia ssp. humifusa10 / 222
2.83l134 Parish's snowberry Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii99 / 355
2.83l135 California brome Bromus carinatus var. carinatus20 / 955
2.83r136 brown sedge Carex subfusca1 / 111
2.86r137 California corn lily Veratrum californicum var. californicum50 / 224
2.89   Cross main branch of moist drainage
2.89r138 subarctic lady-fern Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum10 / 120
2.89r139 few-flowering meadow-rue Thalictrum sparsiflorum10 / 24
2.89l140 broad-lipped twayblade Listera convallarioides99 / 11
2.90   Begin meadowy area; species found in the wet area in alphabetical order by scientific name:
  141 swamp sedge Carex senta20 / 146
  142 common cryptantha Cryptantha affinis99 / 11
  143~alpine shooting star Dodecatheon alpinum5 / 17
  144 Southern California rock draba Draba corrugata var. saxosa10 / 15
  145 fireweed Epilobium angustifolium ssp. circumvagum5 / 124
  146 primrose monkeyflower Mimulus primuloides ssp. primuloides30 / 115
  147 western cow-bane Oxypolis occidentalis50 / 13
  148 Parish's yampah Perideridia parishii20 / 114
  149 lodgepole pine Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana7 / 135
  150 white bog orchid Platanthera leucostachys30 / 112
  151 western bistort Polygonum bistortoides40 / 110
  152 Douglas' knotweed Polygonum douglasii ssp. douglasii99 / 116
  153splesser or bog wintergreen Pyrola minor or P. asarifolia41 / 11
  154 mountain gooseberry Ribes montigenum3 / 112
  155 small white violet Viola macloskeyi20 / 121
2.96l  (Large field of ranger's buttons, Sphenosciadium capitellatum)
3.13   Cross North Fork for last time; elevation 8480 feet (2585 m)
3.29   T-Jct. with PCT; highest point on loop; elevation 8640 feet (2633 m); go right; sign "(up): Little Round Valley 2.5; San Jacinto Peak 3.2; ((down): Strawberry Trail 2.5; Suicide Rock Trail 3.8; Banning Highway 6.3; (back): 7 Pines Trail"

Comments On Specific Species

Silene parishii. Only 18 plants are in the vicinity of trail, with the rest at the 8000' knoll.

We thank Pam Pallette for her help with the 13 July 2010 fieldwork.

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Copyright © 2007-2013 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith, James Dillane and Aaron Fellows.
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 6 July 2013.