Plant Guide to Tahquitz Valley Loop via PCT, 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

This loop trail begins and ends at Saddle Junction, at the top of the Devils Slide Trail. At Saddle Junction, take the rightmost trail, the PCT, to Chinquapin Flat. Many hikers will want to take the short side trip to Tahquitz Peak from there, using the South Ridge Trail. This guide doesn't take that excursion; it continues on the PCT to the Little Tahquitz Trail, and then takes the latter trail through Little Tahquitz Valley and Tahquitz Meadow. The loop ends using the Caramba Trail to return to Saddle Junction.

Highlights of This Trail
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species


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 93 trails in our database when this histogram was made; 5 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 "5" 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 Taxa46100%

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 have no entries in the #all column.

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"

There are two entries for 7/26/06, which was the first time this guide was extended past Chinquapin Flat. The first entry gives the numbers up to Chinquapin Flat for comparison with previous entries; the second entry is for the complete loop.

We thank Joan Zimmerman for helping with the 10/5/04 fieldwork, and for finding the Hulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha then. Michael Charters found the off-trail plain mariposa lily, Calochortus invenustus, on 6/29/06. The fieldwork on 7/10/06 was only for the first 0.10 mile.

We thank Jay Sullivan for helping with the 7/26/06 fieldwork.

The Plant Guide

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (4 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (1 double-sided page). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

MileS#id?Common NameLatin Name#here
0.00Begin at Saddle Junction, elevation 8075 feet (2460 m), head south on the rightmost trail.
0.00l1Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi99 / 9
0.00lJct. trail to Tahquitz Valley, Reed Meadow, Laws Camp, Caramba
0.00b2white firAbies concolor99 / 9
0.00lPCT post
0.01l3Sierra Nevada lotusLotus nevadensis var. nevadensis50 / 3
0.02l4San Jacinto Mts. keckiellaKeckiella rothrockii var. jacintensis99 / 9
0.02l5pinegrove groundsmokeGayophytum oligospermum50 / 3
0.02l6San Gabriel beardtonguePenstemon labrosus10 / 3
0.02l(Parish's snowberry, Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii)
0.03b7pussy pawsCalyptridium monospermum20 / 3
0.03l8Parish's snowberrySymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii50 / 9
0.06rPCT post at shallow drainage (gone in 2004)
0.06r9pine lousewortPedicularis semibarbata20 / 9
0.08b10changeable phaceliaPhacelia mutabilis99 / 9
0.08r11sspCalifornia squirreltailElymus elymoides ssp. californicus2 / 1
0.08r12beautiful hulseaHulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha3 / 1
0.09l13pinedropsPterospora andromedea1 / 1
0.10l14San Jacinto lupineLupinus hyacinthinus50 / 9
0.10r(plain mariposa lily, Calochortus invenustus)
0.11r15naked buckwheatEriogonum nudum var. pauciflorum10 / 2
0.11b16San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinus5 / 5
0.15l17green-leaf manzanitaArctostaphylos patula3 / 3
0.17r(spotted coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata)
0.19r18lodgepole pinePinus contorta ssp. murrayana1 / 1
0.19l19western wallflowerErysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum30 / 9
0.19b20spfragile sheath sedge?Carex fracta?5 / 1
0.20b21wild tarragonArtemisia dracunculus50 / 9
0.21rJct. path to overlook
0.23Trail curves right
0.24l22forest goosefootChenopodium atrovirens5 / 2
0.25Trail turns left 90° and then curves right
0.32b23sugar pinePinus lambertiana50 / 9
0.33Switchback left.
0.34rJct. footpath to ridgeline
0.34r(bush chinquapin, Chrysolepis sempervirens)
0.38Trail curves right 90°.
0.39r(snow-plant, Sarcodes sanguinea)
0.40Cross small drainage to west
0.41b24bush chinquapinChrysolepis sempervirens99 / 9
0.47Cross small drainage to east
0.49Cross bigger drainage to east
0.50l25San Jacinto buckwheatEriogonum apiculatum50 / 3
0.53r26limber pinePinus flexilis30 / 9
0.54Cross small drainage to east
0.54r27Parish's bedstrawGalium parishii1 / 1
0.58Cross small drainage to east
0.59l28mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus2 / 2
0.60Cross small drainage to east
0.61Cross very minor drainage to east
0.63Cross small drainage to east
0.64Cross small drainage to east
0.66Cross minor drainage
0.66l(wax currant, Ribes cereum var. cereum)
0.66b(Martin's paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei ssp. martinii)
0.67r29wax currantRibes cereum var. cereum10 / 3
0.67lCheck for Ribes nevadense
0.73Cross minor drainage to east.
0.78Cross drainage to east.
0.82Cross minor drainage to east.
0.84Trail bends 90° to right.
0.88Trail bends gradually to left.
0.88b30spsedge or rushCarex or Juncus sp.5 / 1
0.88l31sspwestern needlegrassAchnatherum occidentale /
0.88r32Watson's spike-mossSelaginella watsonii3 / 1
0.88r(southern mountain-monardella, Monardella australis)
0.88b(backward-splitting Holboell's rock-cress, Arabis holboellii var. retrofracta)
0.88Cross drainage to east.
0.93Trail bends to right.
0.99Good view of ridge north of Red Tahquitz. Note pretty black (green if it has rained recently) moss in drainage ahead.
1.00l(Check for Penstemon rostriflorus in wash)
1.00l33rock buckwheatEriogonum saxatile2 / 1
1.00l(California fuchsia, Epilobium canum)
1.01l(prickly hawkweed, Hieracium horridum)
1.01b(Parish's campion, Silene parishii)
1.01l(granite prickly phlox, Leptodactylon pungens)
1.01r(mountain spray, Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus)
1.01Cross drainage to east.
1.03lSugar pine, Pinus lambertiana, on left, growing next to limber pine, Pinus flexilis.
1.03Cross minor drainage to east; view of little San Bernardino Mountains along drainage.
1.10l(curl-leaf mountain-mahogany, Cercocarpus ledifolius)
1.11Cross minor drainage.
1.11r34Parish's campionSilene parishii1 / 1
1.15rJct. path to viewpoint of Tahquitz Peak Lookout Tower
1.22Trail curves right 90°; view of Salton Sea and Imperial Valley ahead left; view of Tahquitz Peak dead ahead.
1.31rChinquapin Flat; Jct. South Ridge Trail at elevation 8570 feet (2610 m); this guide continues along the PCT by switchbacking left, downhill
1.53l(manzanita hybrid, Arctostaphylos patula X Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea)
1.73r35white catch-flySilene verecunda ssp. platyota /
1.73r36ssprosy everlasting, pussytoesAntennaria rosea10 / 1
1.74b37Douglas' knotweedPolygonum douglasii ssp. douglasii20 / 1
1.77Switchback right.
1.80Trail turns left 90°
1.82Switchback right.
1.93r(blue elderberry, Sambucus mexicana)
1.94Trail turns left 90°
2.01l38Scouler's willowSalix scouleriana1 / 1
2.06Jct. Little Tahquitz Trail; go left on it; elevation ~8140 feet (2481 m)
2.08Switchback left.
2.20l39sspmountain mugwortArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta /
2.21l(musk monkeyflower, Mimulus moschatus)
2.22l40ranger's buttonsSphenosciadium capitellatum1 / 1
2.60b41yarrowAchillea millefolium10 / 1
2.61b42larger mountain monkeyflowerMimulus tilingii /
2.61l43willowherbEpilobium ciliatum ssp. ciliatum /
rough bentgrassAgrostis scabra /
few-flowered cloverTrifolium monanthum var. grantianum /
(thyme-leaved speedwell, Veronica serpyllifolia ssp. humifusa)
(mountain timothy, Phleum alpinum)
2.61Cross Tahquitz Creek
2.61r44sspJepson's blue wildryeElymus glaucus ssp. jepsonii /
2.61l45?rhizomed bent grass?Agrostis sp.?10 / 1
2.62b46brackenPteridium aquilinum var. pubescens /
2.63l47goldenrodSolidago californica /
2.67r(lemon lily, Lilium parryi, ~200 feet away)
2.70l48bitter cherryPrunus emarginata /
2.72l49California geraniumGeranium californicum /
slender hairgrassDeschampsia elongata /
swamp sedgeCarex senta /
sp*intermediate wheatgrassElytrigia intermedia ssp. intermedia /
dense false-giliaAllophyllum gilioides ssp. violaceum /
plain mariposa lilyCalochortus invenustus /
little false-solomon's-sealSmilacina stellata /
(giant red paintbrush, Castilleja miniata ssp. miniata)
*Kentucky blue grassPoa pratensis ssp. pratensis /
California bromeBromus carinatus var. carinatus /
2.78Four-way trail jct.; go left on Caramba Trail to Saddle Jct.
Fremont's goosefootChenopodium fremontii /
Parish's needlegrassAchnatherum parishii /
mat muhlyMuhlenbergia richardsonis /
southern mountain-monardellaMonardella australis /
Potentilla sp. /
beaked penstemonPenstemon rostriflorus /
(Idaho bentgrass, Agrostis idahoensis)
3.29Saddle Jct.; end Guide

Comments On Specific Species


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Copyright © 2003-2006 by Tom Chester and James Dillane.
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 August 2006 (pct part of guide updated 8/1/16 from 6/15/07 fieldwork)