Plant Guide to Saddle Junction to Wellman Cienega via PCT and Wellman Cienega Trail, San Jacinto Mountains

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


This is a plant guide to the trail from Saddle Junction to Wellman Cienega. The first part of the trail is the segment of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that begins at Saddle Junction, which is at the top of the Devils Slide Trail in the San Jacinto Mountains. The PCT heads north from Saddle Junction to a junction with the Wellman Cienega / Wellman Divide / San Jacinto Peak Trail. This guide then follows the Wellman Divide Trail up to Wellman Cienega, where it ends. Wellman Cienega itself is not included in this plant trail guide, since it is so rich with species and it is better to work with its flora instead of a plant trail guide. See A Quantitative Flora of Wellman Cienega.

If you have arrived at Saddle Junction via the Devils Slide Trail, take the leftmost trail, leading north and marked by a sign indicating "San Jacinto Peak (ahead)".

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 #To Mile# taxa# "?"# "sp"# "~"# "ssp"

The first 0.19 miles was also covered on 10/03/03, with 12 species found. The fieldwork on 8/16/06 was only to mile 1.24.

There are two entries for 8/21/06. The first gives the numbers to mile 1.90, Strawberry Jct., where the guide previously ended. The second gives the numbers to mile 2.33, the end of the first portion of Wellman Cienega.

The hikes on 8/5/09 and 9/3/10 were both with Dave Stith, and were primarily just to get to other locations, with no significant botanizing on this trail.

The Plant Guide

See Plant Checklist For Saddle Junction to Wellman Cienega for a list of the species in the guide below in traditional family order, including links to the Jepson eFlora and Calphotos.

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)

MileS#id?Common NameScientific Name#Pls
0.00Begin trail heading north at Saddle Junction, elevation 8075 feet (2460 m); trail is in deep sand for 0.07 mile
0.00b1Jeffrey pinePinus jeffreyi99 / 9
0.00b2white firAbies concolor99 / 9
0.01rSign on tree: "Round Valley; San Jacinto Peak (both straight ahead)"
0.01lPCT post
0.02b3Parish's snowberrySymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii99 / 9
0.02r4pussy pawsCalyptridium monospermum2 / 1
0.02b5San Gabriel beardtonguePenstemon labrosus30 / 2
0.03b6green-leaf manzanitaArctostaphylos patula99 / 9
0.03l7wax currantRibes cereum var. cereum10 / 5
0.04r8California groundconeKopsiopsis strobilacea20 / 4
0.05b9bitter cherryPrunus emarginata99 / 9
0.06b10mountain whitethornCeanothus cordulatus99 / 9
0.08r11changeable phaceliaPhacelia mutabilis20 / 4
0.08b12brackenPteridium aquilinum var. pubescens99 / 9
0.08Trails turns left 90°.
0.08l13slender wheatgrassElymus trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulus1 / 1
0.08l14pinegrove groundsmokeGayophytum oligospermum20 / 3
0.08r(spotted coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata; pinedrops, Pterospora andromedea)
0.13l15Grinnell's beardtonguePenstemon grinnellii var. grinnellii3 / 2
0.14b16bush chinquapinChrysolepis sempervirens99 / 9
0.14lPCT post
0.14Trails turns right 90°.
0.14Trail covered with deep sand for 0.05 mi.
0.16r17pinedropsPterospora andromedea3 / 2
0.19r(canyon live oak, Quercus chrysolepis)
0.20r(sugar pine, Pinus lambertiana)
0.23Switchback left.
0.27Switchback right.
0.30r18sugar pinePinus lambertiana99 / 9
0.30Trail curves left 90° at ridge.
0.30r19canyon live oakQuercus chrysolepis7 / 3
0.30203California coffeeberryFrangula californica1 / 1
0.32Switchback left.
0.33r21San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrushEricameria nauseosa var. bernardina50 / 9
0.36Switchback right.
0.39l22Fremont silk tasselGarrya fremontii20 / 9
0.42Switchback left.
0.45Switchback right.
0.53l23short-flowered monardellaMonardella nana10 / 1
0.54l24Sierra gooseberryRibes roezlii var. roezlii2 / 2
0.56Trail curves left 45° at ridge
0.63Switchback left.
0.64Switchback right.
0.67r25San Jacinto Mts. keckiellaKeckiella rothrockii var. jacintensis99 / 9
0.67r26Martin's paintbrushCastilleja applegatei ssp. martinii5 / 2
0.69Switchback left.
0.82r27mountain California-fuchsiaEpilobium canum ssp. latifolium50 / 5
0.82Switchback right.
0.85Switchback left.
0.88Switchback right.
0.88r28goldenrodSolidago velutina ssp. californica50 / 1
0.89Switchback left.
0.94Switchback right.
0.99Switchback left.
1.02Switchback right.
1.04lDead tree "holding up" a boulder with a chin.
1.06Trail makes a small jag to right and back
1.07rDesert view
1.07Switchback left.
1.11b29fragile sheath sedgeCarex fracta30 / 5
1.11r30long-anthered rushJuncus macrandrus40 / 4
1.11r31Idaho bentgrassAgrostis idahoensis99 / 3
1.11l32forest goosefootChenopodium atrovirens20 / 2
1.12Switchback right.
1.14Switchback left.
1.16r33prickly hawkweedHieracium horridum2 / 1
1.16r34mountain sprayHolodiscus discolor var. microphyllus3 / 1
1.17r35granite prickly phloxLinanthus pungens3 / 1
1.18Trail zigzags
1.18Switchback right
1.18l36Parish's campionSilene parishii1 / 1
1.22r37little-leaf mock orangePhiladelphus microphyllus1 / 1
1.22Switchback left.
1.23l38lodgepole pinePinus contorta ssp. murrayana99 / 9
1.24lTrail turns right 90° then left 90°
1.26Trail turns right 90°, then left 90°.
1.28lPCT post; then trail zig-zags left-right and up and down
1.32Cross near top of drainage to right, a branch of Willow Creek, and trail turns right 90°
1.44Switchback left.
1.46Trail curves right; local high point on trail at elevation ~8960 feet (2730 m); trail now descends.
1.46r(limber pine, Pinus flexilis)
1.49r39little prince's pineChimaphila menziesii1 / 1
1.50l(San Jacinto lupine, Lupinus hyacinthinus)
1.50Cross near top of drainage to right; local low point.
1.54Local high point on trail; then small up and down quickly, and then sustained downhill
1.60l40pine lousewortPedicularis semibarbata40 / 2
1.60Trail makes broad curve left at ridge
1.64b41San Jacinto lupineLupinus hyacinthinus20 / 5
1.65l424spotted coralrootCorallorhiza maculata1 / 1
1.71Local low point on trail at elevation ~8880 feet (2705 m); trail resumes its ascent.
1.74l43white catch-flySilene verecunda2 / 1
1.74l44western wallflowerErysimum capitatum var. capitatum20 / 2
1.82rPCT post.
1.87Cross very small drainage to right
1.89rPCT post.
1.90lJct. trail to Strawberry Junction at elevation ~8970 feet (2735 m). Sign: "(left) 1 mi Strawberry Cienega; (left) 2.3 mi Deer Springs Trail; (right) Wellmans Jct 1.3 mi; (right) Round Valley 2.3 mi; (right) San Jacinto Peak 3.5 mi; (back) 1.8 mi Saddle Junction; (back) 4.3 mi Humber Park; (back) 7.3 mi Idyllwild". Stay right and continue to Wellmans Jct.
1.91lSign: "Entering Mt. San Jacinto State Park Wilderness…"
1.9845limber pinePinus flexilis8 / 3
2.11Leave dense shade; enter chinquapin-dominated area with scattered trees
2.13b46southern mountain-monardellaMonardella australis ssp. australis20 / 3
2.24Enter Wellman Cienega; end plant trail guide. Use Flora of Wellman Cienega for plants there.

Comments On Specific Species

Elymus trachycaulus. Note from 2006: This plant has a lemma awn of 13.5 mm and a lemma body of 10.2 mm, which would clearly key to ssp. subsecundus, supposedly found only SN, MP. All eight vouchers for this area are just given to the species, which seems eminently reasonable given the clear problems in the subspecies here. It is possible that the subspecies are spurious.

Note from 2018: The Second Edition Jepson Manual got rid of ssp. subsecundus, merging it into ssp. trachycaulus, removing the problem. The only remaining other subspecies is in Greenland.

I thank Ted Caragozian for help with the field work on 11 August 2016.

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Copyright © 2003-2018 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 24 July 2018.