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Chapter activities provide a wide range of opportunities for novice and experienced native plant enthusists to learn and enjoy the company of fellow plant lovers.

Tumy Hills 20160227

Field Trips: The chapter conducts many outings during the year to areas of botanical interest, usually in the local area, but also occasional overnights to exciting, far off places. Each trip is a good opportunity to explore new places and meet new friends.

Photography Group: A popular program dedicated to improving photographic skills. A good way to learn more about photography and our native plants, and very good entertainment!

Keying with Natives: Monthly meetings offer an opportunity to develop and practice plant identification skills.

Programs: Bimonthly general meetings feature invited speakers of significant achievement sharing their knowledge in a friendly, accessible setting. A wide selection of native plant books is available at the book table. The meetings are open to members as well as the general public. The January meeting is Members' Night, and the November meeting is a popular potluck dinner and annual election. Meetings are usually at the Los Altos Library. Please refer to the calendar in the right margin for the date, time, and venue of the next meeting.

On June 30th, nearly 30 CNPS members made a seven hour voyage to the area of far northern California that many consider to be the heart of the State of Jefferson. What follows is a summary of where we went and what we saw.

Situated right on the wild and scenic Klamath River, Sarah Totten campground was all ours, and offered a wonderful place for us to call Home Sweet Temporary Home. On Sunday July 1st, we caravaned to Cook & Green Pass via Saeid Creek Rd., making several stops on our way up. At our first stop, sharp eyes spotted an interesting saprophytic plant growing in the forest duff: Monotropa hypopythis or pinesap, and this was a first time sighting for most in the group. As we continued uphill, we found many other interesting and showy plants, including some that were being dug up by poachers! At the top, we explored the Pacific Crest Trail as it heads east of Cook & Green, and  got a taste of the rich flora of the region and its relationship to the geology.

Monday was Calochortus day, and we traveled to three very different locations finding all three species we were seeking in nice bloom: C. persistens high up on Gunsight Ridge just west of Yreka; C. greenei just over the border into Oregon; and C. macrocarpus in a wide valley north of Mt. Shasta.

Day three saw a return to Cook & Green, this time on the PCT west of the pass towards Red Buttes. We encountered many species not seen on the other side of the pass, including a seep with Cypripedium californicum, the California lady-slipper orchid. The top of our journey to Bee Camp opened up to an area of stunning vistas and a different flora, as the local botany closely follows the local geology and microclimate.

The next day was a trip to Alex Hole, a northeast-facing cirque situated at the shoulder of Coundry Mountain. We found a stunning array of species to occur in and around this glacially-carved bowl, including choice plants from genera Lewisia, Erythonium, and Polemonium, along with several orchid species. This is also the only place we encountered melting snow. I think...

We moved camp south for the rest of the trip, to yet another paradise situated on the summit of Scott Mountain Pass, south of Etna on Hwy. 3. This campground adjacent to large meadows with seeps and fens surrounded by rich woodlands provided ample opportunity for the botanically inclined to lose themselves in the identification and appreciation of such a diversity of species.

Jefferson, we shall return.

by Carolyn Dorsch

Eighteen people, including trip leaders Stella Yang and Carolyn Dorsch headed up to the Sierras the first weekend of August.  We camped off of Hwy 120, at 6,200 feet, near the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River.  The first day we stayed in the “lowlands,” and explored along the Clark Fork meadow and the Column of the Giants. 

Day Two found us up near the top of Hwy 120, just a little west of Sonora Pass.  We spent the day hiking up to St. Mary’s Pass (10,100 feet).  The walk was steadily uphill, but with wildflowers all along the way, low 70s temperature, and nice breezes, the 1,200 foot climb from the trailhead was quite manageable.  Along the way, and at the top of the pass we found many high-elevation flora blooming, including the following:  Pursh’s wooly-pod (Astragalus purshii), Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium), Sierra Claytonia (Claytonia nevadensis), and Arctic Willow (Salix arctica).  In fruit were two anemones: A. occidentalis and A. drummondii.  All together, it was about a three-mile round trip.  A couple people took the challenge offered by the mountains, and continued their hike up to Stanislaus Peak (11,233 feet) before rejoining the group back at the trailhead in the late afternoon.

Day Three, as a final stop before heading home, we drove down Herring Creek Road.  While it can be stunning in June (elevation around 7,000 feet), we had to work harder to find the flowers.  Following the water, we came across beautiful colonies of Alpine Lily (Lilium parvum) near Herring Creek. The trip was capped off with a short visit along the Trail of the Gargoyles, where we could admire the amazing geologic formations.  Plans are already in motion for another trip up to the Sonora Pass area. 

Late June/early July is the best time to see the flowers at the 6-7,000 feet elevation, but there is plenty to see in early August, so long as you go to the higher elevations. Look for this trip’s highlights at a Member’s Night meeting later in the year!

Past Field Trips and Reports

Our chapter has an active field trip schedule. We've travelled all over the state and even out of state. You can see a list of some of our trips below. Where available, reports are linked to the trip listings.

Lunch at Montara Mt

Lunch at San Pedro Valley County Park Feb 21, 2016

Completed 2019 field trips

  • Jan 1, Año Nuevo State Preserve New Year Hike, San Mateo County
  • Jan 8, Field Trip Planning Meeting, PCC
  • Jan 12, First Wildflowers, Mushrooms, and Newts in Huddart Park, Woodside
  • Jan 13, Beginner's Plant Id at Almaden Quicksilver County Park, San Jose
  • Feb 9, Fetid Adder’s Tongue, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, Redwood City
  • Feb 16, Dirca - Stevens Creek County Park, Saratoga
  • Feb 17, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill

2018 field trips

Hummer at Loma Hike

  • Jan 1, Año Nuevo State Preserve (Hwy 1 coast-southern San Mateo County)
  • Jan 8, Annual Field Trip Planning Meeting, PCC.
  • Jan 14, Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Plant Communities of the South Bay: Plant Id Walks for Beginners.
  • Feb 12, Dirca walk at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Portola Valley.
  • Feb 17,  Dirca Hike at San Francisco Peninsula Watershed, San Mateo County
  • Feb 18, 2018, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill - Plant Communities of the South Bay: Plant Id Walks for Beginners (Morgan Hill)
  • Feb 19, Dirca walk at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (San Mateo County)
  • Feb 24, Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve, Fragrant Fritillary at Coyote Ridge (Morgan Hill)
  • Feb 25, Hazelnut Trail, Montara Mt., San Pedro Valley County Park (Pacifica)
  • Mar 1-5, Cancelled
  • Sun Mar 4 Lichen Walk at Pedro Point Headlands (Pacifica) (Changed date due to rain)
  • Sun Mar 11 Shooting Stars at Grant Ranch (San Jose)
  • Mar 18 #1:Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk Series at Lake Cunningham, San Jose
  • Mar 22 Picchetti Ranch OSP, Cupertino
  • Mar 25 Field Trip Planning and brainstorming Potluck & Edgewood Hike and leader training (San Mateo County)
  • Apr 1 Summit Loop Trail, San Bruno Mountain State and County Park
  • April 8 Sweeney Ridge (San Bruno)
  • Apr 29, Cañada de los Osos Ecological Reserve, Gilroy
  • May 5, Wilder Ranch State Park (Santa Cruz)
  • May 5 Loma Fire Hike, x-Rancho Cañada del Oro, rescheduled
  • May 19, Coastal Walk at McNee Ranch State Park (San Mateo County)
  • May 20,  Grass Walk at Los Trancos OSP (Santa Cruz Mountains)
  • May 24 - 29 (Memorial Day weekend) Lava Beds National Monument and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park (NE CA)
  • Jun 3,  Redwood Walk at Portola Redwoods State Park (San Mateo County)
  • Jun 9,  Night Hike at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve (San Carlos)
  • June 10, Mount Hamilton Road Trip (San Jose)
  • Jun 16, Beginner’s Bird and Plant ID Walk Series at Lake Cunningham Park  (San Jose) Session #2: First Day of Summer
  • July 1-8: Backpacking trips to Mt. Eddy and Big Duck Lake in Russian Wilderness
  • July 20-23 Carson Pass  ̶ Sierra Wildflowers off Hwy 88 (Alpine County)
  • Aug 4-11: Backpacking trips to Little Duck Lake and Campbell Lake (Marble Mtn Wilderness)
  • Sep 23: Beginner’s Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)
  • Oct  13 October  Native Plant  Stroll (San Jose)  
  • Oct 14 Berries for Birds: a Beginner’s Plant Id & Habitat Walk @ Rancho Canada del Oro (Morgan Hill)
  • Nov 25 Uvas Canyon County Park (Morgan Hill) [rescheduled from Nov 17]
  • Nov 25 Trees and Shrubs of Santa Clara Valley: a Plant Id Walk @ Rancho Cañada del Oro (Morgan Hill)
  • Dec 23 Beginner’s Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham (San Jose)

2017 field trips

Fetid Adder's Tongue, Pulgas Ridge

  • Jan 1, Año Nuevo State Preserve (Hwy 1 coast-southern San Mateo County)
  • Jan 8 St. Joseph's Hill Preserve, Mid Pen Open Space Preserve (Los Gatos) RAIN CANCELED
  • Jan 9 Field Trip Planning Meeting, PCC
  • Jan 14, Dirca Walk, Windy Hill Open Space Preserve (Portola Valley)
  • Jan 22, Fungi Walk, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve (Page Mill Rd)  RAIN CANCELED
  • Feb 11, Fetid Adder’s Tongue, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve (San Carlos)
  • Feb 26, Summit Loop Trail, San Bruno Mountain State and County Park   
  • Mar 5  Uvas Canyon County Park (Morgan Hill) CANCELED
  • Mar 5  Stile Ranch Trail, San Jose
  • Mar 11 Lichen Walk at Pedro Point Headlands (Pacifica) CANCELED
  • Mar 19 Beginner’s Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)
  • Mar 19  Mount Madonna County Park (Gilroy)
  • Mar 19  Exploratory Walk on San Bruno Mountain (South San Francisco)
  • Mar 25 Pinnacles National Park (San Benito County)
  • Mar 31 Sun April 2  Spring Wildflowers at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve (Mt. Hamilton)
  • April 9 Red Hills Area - BLM (Chinese Camp)
  • Apr 16 Serpentine Loop Trail in Calero County Park (San Jose)
  • Apr 23  Spring Butterflies on Coyote Ridge (San Jose)
  • April 30 Vernal Pool Tour at Don Edwards SF National Wildlife Refuge, East Bay.
  • Apr 30  9am - 5pm  Henry Coe State Park Backcountry Walk (Morgan Hill)
  • May 6  Grass Walk at Edgewood Park (Redwood City)
  • May 7 - 13 Joshua Tree Camping
  • May 21 Bean Hollow State Beach (Hwy 1)
  • June 10, 2017 Search for Soap - Evening Hike, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve (RWC)
  • July 1 to Tuesday, July 4 Ebbetts Pass, Alpine Lake and Calaveras Big Trees State Park
  • Sep 24 Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)
  • Oct 15 Salt Marsh Bird and Plant Walk at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City
  • Oct 29 Woody Plants of St. Joseph’s Hill Open Space Preserve (Los Gatos)
  • Nov 19 Trees and Shrubs of SCV, Rancho Cañada del Oro OSP, Morgan Hill
  • Dec 16 Beginner’s Bird and Plant ID Walk, Lake Cunningham Park, San Jose
  • Dec 31 Butano State Park, Pescadero, San Mateo County (with Costanoa NYE Extravaganza Celebration)

2016 field trips

bighorn sheep anza borrego Joerg LohsePhoto by Joerg Lohse

  • Jan 1, Año Nuevo State Preserve (Hwy 1 coast-southern San Mateo County)
  • Jan 10 Know Your Willows:  Guadalupe River Mitigation Area
  • Feb 6 Dirca - Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino
  • Feb 21 San Pedro Valley County Park (Pacifica)
  • Feb  27 Coal Mine Ridge (Portola Valley)
  • Mar 6 San Bruno Mountain Watch Hike (South San Francisco)
  • Mar 6 – 13 Anza Borrego Desert State Park ( San Diego County)
  • Mar 13 Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park (Gilroy)
  • Mar 20, Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk, Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)
  • Mar 20, San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Mar 24, Walk, Talk and Shop Hike at Hidden Villa (Los Altos Hills)
  • Mar 26, Mt. Tamalpais, North Side Loop Hike
  • March 27, Coyote Ridge  (South San Jose)
  • March 29, Presidio Native Plant Nursery Field Trip Tour
  • April 2 Vernal Pools at Jepson Prairie (Solano County)
  • April 3 North Table Mountain Reserve (Butte County)
  • April 10 Rancho San Vicente (South San Jose) CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN
  • April 9 – 14 Eastern Mojave Desert
  • April 16, Calero County Park, Serpentine Loop Trail
  • April 17 Restoration project walk along Stevens Creek, Cupertino
  • May 14 Mount Hamilton Road Trip (San Jose)
  • May 14 Grass Walk at Los Trancos OSP
  • May 15 Butano State Park, Pescadero (San Mateo County)
  • May 22 Geology and Plant Walk at Alum Rock Park (San Jose)
  • May 21 Windy Hill Open Space Preserve (Portola Valley)
  • June 12 First Day of Summer Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk @ Lake Cunningham Park
  • July 16 - 23 Ericaecious Heaven - Duck Lake and Mt. Eddy Backpacking Trip
  • Oct 30, Uvas Canyon County Park, Morgan Hill
  • Dec 18, Beginners Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose).

2015 field trips

lewisia-rediviva-bitterroot400 Photo by Dee Himes

  • Jan 1 Año Nuevo State Park (Hwy 1 coast-southern San Mateo County)
  • Feb 7 Eaton Park (San Carlos)
  • Feb 22 Montara Mt., San Pedro Valley County Park (Pacifica)
  • March 1 Pulgas Ridge Open Space (San Carlos)
  • March 5  Maguire Peaks Loop, Sunol Regional Park
  • March 8 Stile Ranch, San Jose
  • March 15 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • March 21 Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Hills
  • March 22 - 28 Central California Camping Trip
  • March 23 –  28 Mojave Desert Car Camp
  • March 28 Coyote Lake (Gilroy)
  • April 5 Edgewood Park, San Carlos
  • April 11 Alum Rock Park (East San Jose)
  • April 12 Calero County Park / Rancho San Vicente (south San Jose)
  • April 26, 9:30am - 2:00pm Sunol Regional Park, East Bay
  • April 26th 10AM-3PM Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve
  • May 2 Mount Hamilton Road Trip (San Jose) 10am - 4pm
  • May 9 Grass Walk at Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve (Redwood City)
  • May 10 Stile Ranch Hike #2, San Jose
  • May 17 Butano State Park (Pescadero in San Mateo County)
  • May 22 - 25 Sierra Foothills Memorial Weekend Trip
  • Jun 6 - Fountain Thistle Work Party (San Mateo)
  • July 7 - 15 Botanizing the Western and Eastern Siskiyous
  • Aug 8  Stile Ranch Trail, Hike #3
  • Aug 22 Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Moonlight Walk
  • Nov 21 Bryophytes in Pescadero County Park (San Mateo County)

2014 field trips

Photo by Toni CorelliCoastal flowers overlooking tidepools and Pacific Ocean beyond

  • Jan 1 Año Nuevo State Park (southern San Mateo County)
  • Jan 25 Rancho Cañada del Oro (South San Jose)
  • Feb 8 Eaton Park (San Carlos)
  • Feb 16 Pulgas Ridge (San Carlos)  
  • Mar 16 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Mar 22 New Hagen Meadow (San Jose)
  • Mar 23  Sweeney Ridge (San Bruno)
  • Apr 4 - 6  Carrizo Plain National Monument Car Camp (San Luis Obispo County)
  • Apr 13 Sign Hill (South San Francisco)
  • April 19-20  Mt. Diablo State Park Carcamp and Day Hikes (Contra Costa County)
  • Apr 20 Coyote Lake (Gilroy)
  • May 4 Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park (Gilroy)
  • May 6 Año Nuevo-Cascade Field (San Mateo County Coast)
  • May 11 Bean Hollow Pigeon Point Light Station (San Mateo Coast)
  • May 17 Devil’s Slide Trail (San Mateo Coast)
  • May 18 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • May 20 Pescadero (San Mateo Coast)
  • May 27 Montara and McNee Ranch
  • May 31 Fountain Thistle Work Party (San Mateo)
  • June 27-29 Mt. Eddy Carcamp (Klamath Mtns)
  • July 13th–17th  Mt. Lassen Carcamp
  • Jul 26 Crystal Springs Watershed (Mid-peninsula)
  • Aug 23 Bean Hollow SB (San Mateo County Coast)
  • Sat Oct 25 Castle Rock Fall Hike (Skyline – Santa Cruz Mountains)

2013 field trips

  • Jan 1 Año Nuevo State Park (southern San Mateo County)
  • Jan 26 UCSC Upper Campus, Santa Cruz
  • Feb 2 Water Dog Lake (Belmont)
  • Feb 10 Perennials and Woody Plants of Alum Rock Park (San Jose)
  • Feb 23 San Pedro Valley County Park (Pacifica)
  • Mar 2 Edgewoood County Park (Redwood City)
  • Mar 3 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Mar 20 Pinnacles National Park (San Benito County)  
  • Mar 23 Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve (Santa Cruz County)
  • April 6th Coyote Lake (Gilroy) 10am - 3:30pm   
  • Apr 8th– 10th  Lake County, Bear Valley, Palisades, Table Rock
  • Apr 13 Rockaway Headlands (Pacifica), Moss Beach and Pillar Point Bluff (San Mateo Coast)
  • Apr 14 New Hagen Meadow (San Jose)
  • May 5 Grant Ranch (San Jose)
  • May 11 Grass Walk at Edgewood County Park (Redwood City)
  • May 12 Mount Hamilton Road Trip  (San Jose)
  • May 18 Cowell Ranch Beach and Cowell-Purisima Trail (San Mateo Coast)
  • May 19 Stile Ranch/Santa Teresa County Park (San Jose)
  • May 25 Butano Ridge (east of Pescadero)
  • June 8th  Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve  (east of Half Moon Bay)
  • June 15 Mt. Diablo State Park (Contra Costa County)
  • Sep 15 Sharsmith Herbarium (San Jose State University)
  • Sep 29 Monte Bello Open Space Preserve (Skyline-west of Palo Alto)
  • Nov 2 Crystal Springs Watershed

2012 field trips

  • Sun Jan 1 Año Nuevo State Park (southern San Mateo County)
  • Sun Jan 22 Sierra Azul (Los Gatos)
  • Sat Jan 28 Quail Hollow Ranch (Santa Cruz)
  • Sat Feb 4 San Pedro Valley County Park (Pacifica)
  • Sat Feb 18 Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve (Redwood City)
  • Sun Feb 19 Sierra Azul (Los Gatos)
  • Sat Feb 25 Stevens Creek County Park (Los Gatos)
  • Sat Mar 10 Stile Ranch (Santa Teresa County Park)
  • Sun Mar 18 San Bruno Mountain County Park (Brisbane)
  • Sat Mar 31 Uvas Canyon County Park (Morgan Hill)
  • Sun Apr 8 Blair Ranch (Morgan Hill)
  • Sat Apr 14 New Hagen Meadow (San Jose)
  • Wed April 18 Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve (Cupertino) 
  • Sat – Tues May 5-8 Carrizo Plain to Cuyama Valley (San Luis Obispo County)
  • Sun May 6 Coyote Lake (Gilroy)
  • Sun May 13 The Wildflowers of Cascade Field (North of Año Nuevo–Hwy 1)
  • Sat May 19 Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  • Sun May 20 Palassou Ridge OSP (Gilroy)
  • Sat Jun 2 Grass Walk at Los Trancos OSP (Los Altos)
  • Sat Jun 9 Fountain Thistle Work Party (San Mateo)
  • Sat Jun 16 Stile Ranch (San Jose)
  • Wed -Thu Jun 27 - Jul 5  Mineral King Backpack (Southern Sierra Nevada) 
  • Sat Jul 21 Crystal Springs Watershed (Mid-peninsula)
  • Sun Aug 5  Bean Hollow State Beach (Hwy 1)
  • Sun Oct 21 Uvas Canyon County Park (Morgan Hill)

2011 field trips

  • Sat Jan 1 Año Nuevo State Park (southern San Mateo County coast)
  • Sat Jan 15 San Francisco Peninsula Watershed Dirca Hike
  • Sat Jan 29 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Sat Feb 5 Edgewood County Park & Preserve (Redwood City)
  • Sat Feb 12 Coal Mine Ridge (Portola Valley)
  • Sat Mar 5 Hidden Villa (Los Altos)
  • Sun Mar 6 Sunol Regional Park (Fremont)
  • Sat Mar 12 Pulgas Ridge Open Space (Redwood City)
  • Sun Mar 13 Stile Ranch (Santa Teresa County Park)
  • Sun Mar 20 – Sun Mar 27 Death Valley Car Camp
  • Sun Mar 27 Coyote Ridge (San Jose)
  • Sat Apr 2 Coyote Ridge (San Jose)
  • Sun Apr 3 Coyote Lake (Gilroy)
  • Sat Apr 9 Joseph Grant Park (San Jose)
  • Sun Apr 10 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Sat Apr 16 10am San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Sat Apr 30 South Valley Reserve (eastern Santa Clara County)
  • Sun May 1 Whitehouse Creek (Pescadero)
  • Sat May 7 Blue Oak Ranch Reserve (Mt Hamilton Range)   
  • Sun May 8 Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park  (Felton)  
  • Sun May 15 Grass Walk at Edgewood County Park (Redwood City)  
  • Sun May 22 The Cedars (Sonoma County)
  • Sun May 22 Mt. Madonna County Park (Gilroy)
  • Sun Jun 5 San Bruno Mountain (Brisbane)
  • Sun Jun 19 Beginner’s Woody Plant Walk - Alum Rock Park (San Jose)
  • Sat  Jul 9 Crystal Springs Watershed (mid-peninsula)
  • Fri-Sun July 29-31 Carson Pass (Sierra)
  • Sun Aug 7 Calero Creek (South San Jose)
  • Sat Sept 10 Sun Bean Hollow State Beach (Hwy 1)
  • Sat Oct 8 Hidden Villa (Los Altos)
  • Sat Oct 29 Castle Rock Fall Hike (Skyline-Santa Cruz Mtns) 
  • Sat Oct 29 Fountain Thistle Work Party (San Mateo)
  • Sun Nov 6 Rancho Cañada del Oro (San Jose)

2010 field trips

  • Sat Jan 9 Ano Nuevo State Park
  • Sat Jan 16 Picchetti Ranch and Stevens Creek County Park
  • Sun Jan 31 Stanford Trees and Landscape History
  • Sat Feb 20 San Pedro Valley County Park
  • Sun Feb 21 Los Gatos Canyon: Plant ID-ing for Beginners
  • Sun Mar 7 Rise of the Sporophytes!
  • Sun Mar 14 San Bruno Mountain
  • Sat-Mon Mar 27-29 Golden Valley and Grass Valley Wilderness
  • Sat Apr 3 Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch
  • Sun Apr 4 Warm Springs Vernal Pools
  • Sat Apr 10 Coyote Ridge
  • Sun Apr 11 San Mateo Coast (Rain Cancelled)
  • Sat Apr 17 Rancho Cañada del Oro
  • Thu Apr 29 Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve and Stevens Creek County Park
  • Sun May 2 Blue Oak Ranch
  • Wed May 5 An Evening with the Grasses
  • Sat May 22 Fountain Thistle-San Francisco Peninsula Watershed
  • Sat-Sun May 22-23 The Cedars (Sonoma County)
  • Mon-Fri May 24-28 High Desert Trip - Southeastern Sierra
  • Sun May 30 Mt Hamilton Field Trip
  • Sat Jun 5 Grass Walk at Los Trancos OSP 
  • Sat Jun 12 Fountain Thistle Field Trip & Restoration Work Party at Crystal Springs
  • Sun Jun 13 Mt Hamilton Field Trip
  • Sun Jun 20 Feelin’ Fruity-Belmont's Water Dog Lake Open Space
  • Sat-Sun July 31-Aug 1 Butterfly Valley-Red Hill
  • Sat Aug 14 Portola Redwoods State Park
  • Sat Sep 11 Edgewood Natural Preserve
  • Sat Sept 25 Rancho Cañada del Oro
  • Sun Oct 3 Shields Grove at U.C. Davis
  • Sun Oct 10 Uvas Canyon-San Jose

2009 field trips

  • Sat Feb 28 Fire-follower Walk at Owl and Buckeye Canyons (San Mateo County) 1-4 pm
  • Saturday, March 7, 9 am, Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
  • Sunday, March 8, 9:30 am, Mt. Tamalpais
  • Saturday, March 14, 10 am, Stile Ranch Hike
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 15-19, Desert Wildflower Trip
  • Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, Carrizo Plain National Monument (eastern San Luis Obispo County)
  • Saturday, March 28, 1 pm, Del Monte Forest, Monterey
  • Sunday, March 29, 1 pm, Coyote Ridge (Second trip on Saturday, April 11, 10 am)
  • Sunday, April 5, 10 am, Grant Ranch County Park
  • Sunday April 5, 10:30am-1:30pm. West Pinnacles w/ Corky Matthews
  • Saturday, April 11, 10 am, Coyote Ridge
  • Saturday April 11. Fire Followers at Big Creek Reserve w/ Dave Nelson
  • Monday April 13 through Friday April 17. CA desert
  • Saturday, April 18, 9:30 am, Woods Trail, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve
  • Wed April 29 7pm An Evening with the Grasses
  • Saturday-Sunday, May 2-3, The Cedars (Sonoma County)
  • Sat May 16 10am San Mateo Coast
  • Sun May 17 9am Mount Hamilton
  • Fri-Tues May 22-26. California Floristic Province in Oregon
  • Sat May 30 1pm Ring Mountain, Marin County
  • Sun Jun 7 10am Grass Walk at Los Trancos
  • Sun Jun 14 10am San Mateo Coast
  • Sun Sep 20 Bonny Doon Ecological Preserve
  • Sun Oct 4 Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve
  • Sun Oct 25 Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

2008 Field Trips

2007 Field Trips

CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter Field Trips

IMG 7822 dee stella ken pinnacles 640pxChapter field trips are free and open to the public.  Field trips are oriented to conservation, protection and enjoyment of California native plants and wildlife.  A list of past field trips and reports can be found here.

 Many other upcoming chapter activities are listed in the Blazing StarYou can also find many of our chapter field trips and other activities on our Meetup Group.  Signing up on Meetup allows the trip leaders to send notifications in case of changes or cancellations.

 In our region it is important to be prepared for hiking on rugged and steep terrain, wide temperature ranges and rapidly changing conditions at any time of year.  All participants should wear sturdy footwear and carry sufficient water, sun protection, food, clothing layers, personal first aid and other supplies you may need.  Cell service is mainly restricted to cities and major highways. On your way to an outing do not rely solely on your phone. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a particular field trip, please contact the trip leader in advance.


Wed Feb 27 - Sun Mar 3 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Camping Trip (Borrego Springs, CA)

Join trip leader Patricia Evans and botanist Joe Cernac for three days of botanizing and three nights of camping in the Sonoran desert. We expect a profusion of desert spring wildflowers, including rose sand verbenas, suncups, red flowering Ocotillo, Chuparosa, and yellow Encelia, given three inches of rain in the last two months of 2018. For more information about what we might find, see the field trip report from our visit in 2016.

We will arrive at park on Wednesday, February 27; hike/botanize on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and start for home either Saturday night, March 2 or Sunday, March 3. Plan on travel days before and after the hiking days of February 28 to March 2. Anza-Borrego is in San Diego County, approximately ten hours from the Bay Area. More information on the park.

Because of tight limits on the number of people, vehicles, and people sleeping in vehicles, reserve your spot ASAP with Patricia Evans by calling 650-949-2801. If you email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., you are not guaranteed a spot until she calls you back, so please include a phone number. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park charges an entrance fee. Entrance fees and campground fees will be split among participants.


Sun Mar 17 10am – 4pm San Bruno Mountain State & County Park (Brisbane)

Join Ken and Dee Himes for a hike along the Summit Loop Trail to see early flowering plants in the coastal scrub and coastal grassland plant communities. We can expect to see footsteps of spring, Sanicula arctopoides, Franciscan wallflower, Erysimum franciscanum, and the endemic San Bruno Mountain Manzanita, Arctostaphylos imbricata. The hike will be 3.5 to 4 miles with 800 elevation changes.

Dress warmly in layers as it can be very windy, and wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Hiking poles are recommended as some areas are very steep. Bring snacks, a sack lunch, and liquids for the day. Heavy rain cancels. For more info. call Ken at (650) 591-8560 or email Dee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Directions: From Hwy. 101 northbound, take the Old Bay-shore/Brisbane exit and proceed north on Old Bayshore, past the town of Brisbane. Make a left turn onto Guadalupe Cyn. Pkwy., and follow it uphill (west) about a mile and a half to the park entrance. We will meet at the parking lot just beyond the entrance kiosk. There is a $6 day use/parking fee at pay station, bring exact change or credit card.

Mar 23 - 24 Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (Sonoma County)

Join trip leader Patricia Evans and a biologist from the Sonoma Ecology Center to tour an area in Sonoma County that severely burned in 2017. See amazing fire followers and how the area is recovering! Leave home early Saturday and meet at 10 am at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, then camp overnight at the park after hiking. On Sunday, we will visit the vernal pools in Sonoma Valley Regional Park near Glen Ellen before heading for home. Cost is about $20/person for camping and biologist fee. Sugarloaf Ridge is in the Sonoma Valley near Kenwood, between Santa Rosa and the City of Sonoma, so you may want to plan an extra day before or after the trip to do other things in the area.

Please reserve with Patricia Evans by calling 650-949-2801 asap (she is out of town right before the trip). You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., but you are not guaranteed a spot until she calls you back, so please include a phone number.

Sun Mar 24 9am - 12pm First Day of Spring Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk @ Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)

Do you love being outdoors? Do you want to deepen your appreciation of nature by learning the names of birds and plants around you? As Spring begins, join us for the first walk of its kind this year: a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk through Lake Cunningham Park. Lake Cunningham is a major destination for waterfowl and migratory birds, and its native garden is home for many resident birds for its habitat value. On this walk, Vicki Silvas-Young will show you how to identify the common birds of our area, as well as the native plants they depend on for food, shelter, and nesting places.

Difficulty Level: The distance is 4 miles round trip on a level path.

Notes: Bring a hat, water, your bird and plant list, and binoculars. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Parking fee is $6. Meet at the Marina building at 9:00 am. The Marina is on the western shore of the lake, next to Raging Waters, at the opposite end of the park from the main entrance on White Road. In google maps, search for "Lake Cunningham Marina" to be directed to the Marina.

Space is limited. RSVP via Meetup (“California Native Plant Society-Santa Clara Valley chapter”) to reserve your spot. Cosponsored by CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, and Open Space Authority.


Wed Apr 3 - Thu Apr 4 North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve and Feather Falls (Butte County)

Join co-leaders Judy Fenerty and Joerg Lohse to explore the approximately 3,300 acre North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville. We’ll meet at the reserve at 11 am, and wander across the basalt mesa, crossing streams and enjoying the spectacular wildflowers that occur in this unique environment. After our day exploring Table Mountain, we’ll hike Feather Falls on Thursday. Feather Falls is a moderately strenuous, 8-mile loop hike with an elevation gain of ~1,700 feet. We’ll stay over Wednesday night, with options to camp near Feather Falls or stay in motels in the Oroville area.

Space is limited and this trip is limited to CNPS members only. Please email Judy Fenerty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register and get directions and trip details.

Sun Apr 7 10am - 4pm Uvas Canyon County Park (Morgan Hill)

Join Ken and Dee Himes on a 3.5-4 mile hike in this mostly shady woodland of mixed evergreens including redwoods, madrones, sycamores, alders and big leaf maples. There are also isolated populations of Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa) here, which is more commonly found north of the Golden Gate. We also expect to see such plants as canyon liveforever, Dudleya cymosa, Inside-out-flower, Vancouveria planipetala, to name a few.

PRE-PAID PARKING ALERT : There is a $6 fee per car and you must make your own pre-paid parking reservation as soon as possible due to high traffic volume for viewing waterfalls. Go to to make your own reservation. You must arrive within the time slot you selected. Please read their instructions carefully or call the County Park directly.

We’ll meet in the parking lot at 10am sharp. Allow time for parking and using facilities. The hike will be moderate in intensity, with an elevation gain of about 700 feet. We will walk at a fairly leisurely pace, stopping for lunch about halfway. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes, dress in layers and a walking stick could be useful. Bring snack and lunch, and plenty of water. Heavy rain cancels. For more information contact Ken at (650) 591-8560.

Directions: From Hwy. 101, take the Bailey Ave. exit to head southwest on Bailey 3.2 mi. to McKean Rd. Turn left onto McKean. (McKean becomes Uvas Rd. 2.2 mi. south of Bailey.) From Bailey travel 6 mi. south on McKean/ Uvas Rd. and turn right onto Croy Rd. Continue 4.4 mi. on Croy, through Sveadal (a private resort), to reach the Park entrance. For more information visit the park website.

Sat Apr 13 10am - 12pm Vernal Pool Wildflower Walk (Fremont)

Come see the wildflower blooms around some of the last intact vernal pools in the East Bay, at the Warm Springs Unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont! Enjoy learning about the unique features of a vernal pool grassland and about the endangered species supported by this habitat, particularly the beautiful endangered Contra Costa goldfield. There are several other vernal pool and grassland plants, and wildlife, to see at this time of year as well!.

This unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is normally closed to the public. There are no restroom facilities at this site so please plan accordingly..

Heavy rain will cancel. Please wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen/hat. Must be able to walk through uneven terrain throughout tour and climb over fence ladder (like a step ladder)..

Please note: Directions to the meet place will be emailed to you once you register. You must follow this link and register through the refuge’s EventBrite registration process. John and Becky Bradley will be there to meet and greet and lead this relatively short, 2-hour hike. Call (510) 565-0908 if you have questions..

Sun Apr 14 10am - 2pm Beginners Wildflower Id Walk @ Stile Ranch Trailhead, San Vicente Ave (at Fortini Rd), San Jose

The serpentine hills of Stile Ranch are home to a rich diversity of native annual and perennial wildflowers, and the display this year is expected to be particularly exuberant. Join Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani on this walk to learn to identify the common wildflowers of our area. We will also examine the foliage (and fruit where available) of each species, to get a leg up on recognizing them out of bloom. Beginners interested in plant identification are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

On this loop hike, we will go up the Stile Ranch Trail and return via the Fortini Trail. The distance covered is 2.6 miles with 450’ of elevation gain/loss. Meet at the Stile Ranch Trailhead parking lot on San Vicente Avenue just west of the T-junction with Fortini Road. (In google maps, search for “Stile Ranch Trailhead”.) Parking is limited; carpooling recommended.

Bring a hat, water, a bag lunch, and your favorite trail accessories (camera/smartphone/hand lens/binoculars/field guide/none). Dress in layers, and appropriately for the weather.

RSVP via (“California Native Plant Society - Santa Clara Valley Chapter”).

Thu Apr 18 10am – 3pm Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve (Cupertino)

Join co-leaders Joe Cernac and Kate Gudmundson for an easy hike through foothill oak and shrub. Thanks to this month’s added warmth, we expect to see many spring bloomers. We expect a 4-mile mile round trip with 600 ft elevation climb back to the trailhead. Bring lunch and liquids. For more information, contact Joe at (408) 292-5465 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Directions: From I-280, exit Foothill Blvd., proceed south on S. Foothill Blvd. continuing on Stevens Creek Blvd. once the foothills are reached. Turn right onto Montebello Rd., turn at first left into Picchetti Ranch Winery and OSP. The driveway will split, do take the right driveway to OSP parking lot. We will meet at the parking lot at 10am.


Sat May 11 - Wed May 15 Lost Coast Backpacking Field Trip (Humboldt County)

Join Joe Cernac and Trevlyn Williams for a 25-mile hike in 4 days along the Lost Coast, a pristine, undeveloped stretch of California coastline. Although there is virtually no elevation gain, this is a surprisingly strenuous off-trail hike on beaches, in sand and over rocks. We will take our time while Joe identifies plants and Trevlyn points out marine wildlife.

This website has detailed information on the Lost Coast but is somewhat outdated, reservations are now required and we need to purchase our permits at least 30 days in advance. With bear activity and no trees to hang food, bear canisters are required and we plan on renting them from the BLM office. For more information and to sign up for this field trip contact Joerg Lohse at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Itinerary: On Saturday May 11th, we drive to Shelter Cove, CA and meet at Black Sands Beach to carpool, rent our bear canisters and explore the area. From Sunday through Wednesday we will be hiking from Mattole Beach to Black Sands Beach along the Lost Coast. Projected campsites are near creeks and wind sheltered. On May 15, Black Sands Beach will be reached, car shuttle arrangements completed, and we will drive home.

Our Photography Group is a great place to meet other native plant enthusiasts while improving your photographic skills and learning more about our native plants. It is open to all. The group has monthly meetings, photography outings and an active online discussion group. Our upcoming events can be found on Meetup. Past events can be seen here.

We also announce activities to our online discussion group.


Our upcoming meetings will focus on Mobile Photography for beginners.

Dates TBD:
Photo editing (Snapseed, Lightroom)
  • Understand basics : Exposure, Saturation, cropping, healing tool and more.
 Photography accessories:
  • How to use loupes, binoculars, scopes and more.
  • How to use lights and reflectors

Plant lists for many San Francisco Bay Area parks and preserves can be generated from the Natural Resources Database at Visual plant lists may also be generated at

The following are custom plant lists from local CNPS field trips, bioblitzes, plant surveys and restoration projects:

 Other lists:

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