Plant Trail Guide to Knickerbocker Canyon

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
The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species


Directions to trailhead: In Big Bear Lake City, take Knickerbocker Road south from its intersection with Village Drive or Big Bear Blvd (SR18) to the unmarked dirt road 2N08 on the left just past the parking lot for an Inn. The road has a small jog right immediately past 2N08, so if you are on that jog right, turn around and 2N08 will be more visible on the way back. Take 2N08 0.95 miles to the unmarked beginning of this trail on the right at a hairpin turn to the left on 2N08. Park in a 1 car space at the trailhead, or a several car space immediately beyond it on the left.

GPS Coordinates:

TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD27 ElevFeet

TRLHD is the beginning of the Knickerbocker Trail.
TRLEND is the end of the Knickerbocker Trail.
2N08 is the beginning of 2N08 at its intersection with Knickerbocker Road.

Thomas Brothers Guide: San Bernardino County, #4811, lower left bottom of F2 for the 2N08 intersection with Knickerbocker Road; lower middle bottom of F3 for the trailhead. The trail is not shown on this map, nor is it shown on the USGS Topo Map.

Highlights of This Trail

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. We had 79 trails in our database when this histogram was made; only this trail is in the Big Bear area, with three others in the San Bernardino Mountains. A number of "1" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in our database; numbers of "4" or smaller may indicate taxa found only in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
Total Taxa93100%

We found 3 additional species not in the above table, since they have not been identified yet. The unidentified ones are marked with ? or sp in the id? column in the guide, and do not have any number given in the #all column.

The taxa unique to this trail are:

Latin NameCommon Name
Lupinus lepidus var. confertusclustered tidy-lupine
Kelloggia galioidesbreakfast bedstraw
Pyrola asarifolia ssp. asarifoliabog wintergreen
Glyceria elatatall mannagrass
Silene menziesiiMenzies' campion
Elymus glaucus X E. stebbinsiihybrid wildrye
Carex occidentaliswestern sedge

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"

Entries for 8/5/2003 are given first for the same part of the trail as was covered in the two previous trips, and then for the entire trail, which was covered that day for the first time.

The Plant Guide

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page (4 pages)

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here#all
0.00   Begin guide at the trailhead 0.95 miles after the beginning of the dirt road 2N08, heading south, at elevation 7320 feet (2230 m).
0.00b1 threadleaf common rabbitbrushChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. consimilis20 / 24
0.00b2 pinegrove gayophytumGayophytum oligospermum / 6
0.00l3 beaked penstemonPenstemon rostriflorus50 / 911
0.00b4 Davidson's lotusLotus nevadensis var. davidsonii10 / 27
0.00b5 Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii50 / 514
0.00l6 green-leaf manzanitaArctostaphylos patula50 / 912
0.00l7 hoary-asterMachaeranthera canescens var. canescens50 / 93
0.00l8 Parish's buckwheatEriogonum parishii10 / 23
0.00l9 Grinnell's beardtonguePenstemon grinnellii var. grinnellii5 / 515
0.00b10 California needlegrassAchnatherum occidentale ssp. californicum10 / 15
0.00b11 mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus50 / 914
0.00r12 western wallflowerErysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum99 / 916
0.00r13 blue elderberrySambucus mexicana2 / 239
0.01r14 Fendler's blue grassPoa fendleriana ssp. longiligula99 / 93
0.01r15 San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus20 / 914
0.01l16 *intermediate wheatgrassElytrigia intermedia ssp. intermedia20 / 13
0.01l17 golden yarrowEriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum5 / 547
0.02r18 California black oakQuercus kelloggii3 / 311
0.02r19 wild tarragonArtemisia dracunculus20 / 221
0.02b20 Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi50 / 921
0.02l21 California squirreltailElymus elymoides ssp. californicus50 / 98
0.02r22 white firAbies concolor50 / 920
0.04l23 sticky cinquefoilPotentilla glandulosa ssp. reflexa20 / 29
0.04   Cross a very small side drainage.
0.04r24 imbricate phaceliaPhacelia imbricata ssp. patula20 / 314
0.04l25 Fremont's goosefootChenopodium fremontii50 / 510
0.06l26 southern mountain-monardellaMonardella australis30 / 56
0.06l  Check for Oxytheca parishii here
0.06l27 groundsmokeGayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum / 11
0.06l  (purple nightshade, Solanum xanti)
0.06l28 spreading fleabaneErigeron divergens10 / 13
0.07 29 goldenrodSolidago californica5 / 127
0.07r30 Scouler's willowSalix scouleriana3 / 34
0.08r31 pinewoods rock-cressArabis holboellii var. pinetorum / 3
0.08b32 arroyo willowSalix lasiolepis50 / 929
0.08   Cross side drainage; trail jags right.
0.08b33 brown sedgeCarex subfusca6 / 12
0.09l34 pine lousewortPedicularis semibarbata20 / 69
0.09b35 Ross' sedgeCarex rossii20 / 94
0.09l36 mountain pink currantRibes nevadense30 / 96
0.11l37 clustered tidy-lupineLupinus lepidus var. confertus3 / 11
0.12l38 *yellow salsifyTragopogon dubius+2 / 25
0.13r  Cross head of small drainage and soon begin to ascend.
0.13r39 fragile sheath sedgeCarex fracta5 / 26
0.14b40~southern jewel-flowerStreptanthus campestris5 / 22
0.14b41 fireweedEpilobium angustifolium ssp. circumvagum99 / 23
0.14l42 fir mistletoePhoradendron pauciflorum / 10
0.16l43 forest sedgeCarex multicaulis5 / 22
0.16b44 brackenPteridium aquilinum var. pubescens30 / 98
0.16r45 incense-cedarCalocedrus decurrens30 / 912
0.16r46 swamp sedgeCarex senta99 / 93
0.18b47 Parish's bedstrawGalium parishii5 / 15
0.19r48spmeadow-rueThalictrum sp. /  
0.23l49 breakfast bedstrawKelloggia galioides10 / 31
0.24   Cross first branch of the wet branch of the main drainage and soon enter wet meadow.
0.25b50 ranger's buttonsSphenosciadium capitellatum10 / 24
0.25b51 little false-solomon's-sealSmilacina stellata5 / 14
0.25b52 lemon lilyLilium parryi10 / 13
0.25l53 giant red paintbrushCastilleja miniata ssp. miniata5 / 15
0.25b54 Parish's lupineLupinus latifolius var. parishii25 / 23
0.25l55 cobwebby hedge-nettleStachys albens10 / 24
0.25b56 Richardson's geraniumGeranium richardsonii20 / 23
0.26b57 California corn lilyVeratrum californicum var. californicum10 / 12
0.26l58 Kentucky blue grassPoa pratensis ssp. agassizensis5 / 14
0.26l  (western columbine, Aquilegia formosa)
0.26r59 bog wintergreenPyrola asarifolia ssp. asarifolia5 / 11
0.27   Cross second branch of the wet branch of the main drainage
0.27b  Check for different mint family species.
0.27l60 western columbineAquilegia formosa3 / 25
0.27r61sspwillowherbEpilobium ciliatum ssp. ciliatum3 / 116
0.27r62 *common dandelionTaraxacum officinale / 15
0.28b63 tall mannagrassGlyceria elata5 / 11
0.28l64 interior roseRosa woodsii var. ultramontana10 / 35
0.28l65 blue wildryeElymus glaucus ssp. glaucus+20 / 316
0.29r66 clustered field sedgeCarex praegracilis+ / 3
0.29l67 winter cressBarbarea orthoceras10 / 26
0.29l68 hairy wood rushLuzula comosa4 / 12
0.29l69spcommon monkeyflowerMimulus guttatus3 / 17
0.30   A fantastic field of fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium ssp. circumvagum.
0.31l70 yarrowAchillea millefolium20 / 211
0.31l  Jct. path
 r  (Lemmon's willow, Salix lemmonii)
0.31b71 fringed bromeBromus ciliatus5 / 13
0.34l72sptansy-mustardDescurainia sp.10 / 2 
 r  Check for Calyptridium monandrum here
  73 Menzies' campionSilene menziesii5 / 11
0.37r74 Letterman's needlegrassAchnatherum lettermanii1 / 13
0.37   End wet meadow; trail is now mostly in drier forest.
0.40l75 bitter cherryPrunus emarginata20 / 15
0.42   Cross small obscure drainage
0.43r76spParish's snowberrySymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii2 / 210
0.46   Cross dry branch of main drainage.
0.47   Trail goes uphill more steeply now and curves left 90°.
0.49   Long switchback right.
0.50l77 pine cryptanthaCryptantha simulans50 / 52
0.51   Local high point on trail
0.52   Local low point on trail
0.55b78 California bromeBromus carinatus var. carinatus10 / 115
0.56   Local high point on trail
0.57   Local low point on trail
0.58   Local high point on trail
0.59l79 sulphur buckwheatEriogonum umbellatum var. munzii5 / 29
0.59   Local low point on trail
0.60   Switchback left.
0.60l80 Wright's buckwheatEriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum30 / 313
0.63   Local high point on trail
0.66l  Clumps of Letterman's needlegrass, Achnatherum lettermanii, looking quite different all alone than they did in the meadow.
0.66   Local low point on trail
0.67l81~hybrid wildryeElymus glaucus X E. stebbinsii+1 / 11
0.69b82 mountain mugwortArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta20 / 25
0.70   Cross dry drainage. Metal (pipeline?) access structure on right.
0.71r83 western sedgeCarex occidentalis5 / 11
0.71l84 Wheeler's common madiaMadia elegans ssp. wheeleri20 / 22
0.74r85 mountain sweet-cicelyOsmorhiza chilensis3 / 15
0.74r86 Rydberg's horkeliaHorkelia rydbergii5 / 13
0.74l87 Sierra juniperJuniperus occidentalis var. australis1 / 12
0.77l88spMojave goosefoot violet?Viola purpurea ssp. mohavensis?5 / 1 
0.81   Cross small drainage
0.81b89 *downy bromeBromus tectorum50 / 121
0.81 90 San Gabriel beardtonguePenstemon labrosus1 / 16
0.81r91 wild pepper-grassLepidium virginicum var. pubescens20 / 25
0.83l  Jct. trail.
0.84l92 mat muhlyMuhlenbergia richardsonis20 / 12
0.85   Trail turns right 90°
0.85l93 *desert crested wheatgrassAgropyron desertorum3 / 14
0.87b94 Mojave linanthusLinanthus breviculus20 / 15
0.87b95 purple-root cryptanthaCryptantha micrantha20 / 17
0.89r96 *tumble-mustardSisymbrium altissimum3 / 18
0.90   Trail ends at road, elevation 7580 feet (2310 m).

Comments On Specific Species

Tragopogon dubius. We observed no color to the closed ligules on the first plant, but yellow ligules on the second plant much farther along the trail. Also, the SBM flora lists only this species in Tragopogon.

Elymus glaucus ssp. glaucus. The upper two leaf sheaths were glabrous, and the lower leaf sheaths were sparsely hairy, with only a very few hairs. Hence we called it as the ± glabrous ssp. glaucus, but there is clearly room for some debate as to which subspecies it is.

Carex praegracilis. These plants key clearly to this id, and everything fits with one major exception: nearly all the perigynia are entire on the edges of the body and the beak, not minutely serrulate. However, every other possible identification has much more major problems, and a careful search turned up a few perigynia with minutely serrulate edges. We have vouchered this species, TC449.

Elymus glaucus X E. stebbinsii. This single plant keys to Elymus glaucus, but is unlike any Elymus glaucus we have ever seen. In particular, the stem height is much taller, up to 15.5 dm, the inflorescence length is longer, 23 cm, and the internode distance in the inflorescence is an amazing 28 mm for the lower nodes. All of these characteristics can be explained if it is a hybrid with E. stebbinsii. We have left a "~" on the identification since we have no key to make absolutely sure that this is the identification, but it definitely seems more than 95% probable that it is.

We thank participants in a CNPS walk on 7/27/03 led by Lorrae Fuentes for helping to find a number of these species and for some of identifications.

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Copyright © 2003-2004 by Tom Chester, Michael Charters and Jane Strong.
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Updated 21 September 2004.