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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

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. Our hikes are often slow with many stops and standing around for long periods. All participants should wear sturdy footwear and carry sufficient water, sun protection, food, clothing layers, personal first aid and other supplies you may need. Also bring hand lens and binoculars for viewing plants and fauna.

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.

 


JANUARY 2024

 

FEBRUARY 2024


Sat Feb 10  10:00am – 2:00pm  Dirca Walk at San Francisco Peninsula Watershed  (San Mateo County)
Join Chapter Rare Plant Chair Don Thomas to see the rare Western leatherwood (Dirca occidentalis) in the Crystal Springs Watershed along the Sawyer Camp Trail.  This will be an easy slow-paced walk of about four miles round-trip, starting at the trailhead on Hillcrest and Highway 280, with a stop for lunch.

Dirca is one of the first plants to bloom each year, revealing its bright yellow hanging flowers from its bare winter branches.  We will also have a chance to see other early blooming plants, such as hound’s tongue (Adelinia grandis) and trillium (Trillium chloropetalum).

Dirca is a rare paleoendemic plant native only to the San Francisco Bay Area, ranked by CNPS as 1B.2.  (Read more about CNPS rare plant ranks at www.cnps.org/rare-plants/california-rare-plant-ranks.)

An optional additional short walk along the Sawyer Camp Trail will be to the Jepson Laurel.  This was at one time the largest bay tree in California, but it has been declining for many years.  Many large branches have died and broken off the tree over time, so it has been dethroned as the largest in the state.

Wear warm clothes and bring water and lunch.

RSVP is required to join us for the hike.  Space is limited.  No drop-ins please.  To complete the required RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/. Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page.


Sun Feb 16  10:00am – 1:00pm  Dirca Walk at Jasper Ridge  (Woodside)

This is an activity for CNPS Members. Everyone will go on the waitlist, and verified members will be admitted until the trip is full. If you are not a current member, you can join at https://cnps.org/join.

Join Vivian Neou for another chance to see the rare Western leatherwood (Dirca occidentalis), this time at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (JRBP).  This will be a slow-paced walk of about four miles to also see other plants that may be blooming.

JRBP is home to some of the largest stands of Dirca in the area.  Participants will have an opportunity to see several stands of Dirca, as well as to learn about ongoing research on Dirca.

JRBP is a private preserve and is not open to the public. The trip is limited to CNPS  members only and eight participants.  No drop-ins.  To complete the required RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/.  Details will be sent to registered participants.

MARCH 2024

Sun Mar 3  9:00am – 2:00pm  Bug & Plant Identification Walk at Sierra Azul OSP
Plants and insects are at the very bottom of the food chain – many higher forms of life depend on them for survival.  An intact native plant habitat supports a diverse insect population, which in turn feeds amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals and other animals.  Learn to identify the common native plants and insects of our area with California naturalists Karan Gathani and Arvind Kumar on a guided walk through Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, the largest and southernmost preserve in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

We will hike the Woods Trail with spectacular views of Mt. Hamilton and the valley floor.  Expect to see coast live oak, madrone, California bay, bigleaf maple, buckeye, big berry manzanita, toyon, coffeeberry, cream bush, chamise, mountain mahogany, and sticky monkeyflower.  We may encounter butterflies, bees, beetles, grasshoppers, flies, spiders and ants.

The elevation gain is 600 ft; the distance covered is 5.4 miles round trip.

All interested in plant and insect identification are welcome; prior knowledge of botany or entomology is helpful but not required.

Wear good walking/hiking shoes.  Bring a sack lunch and plenty of fluids.  Drinking water is not available in the preserve.  We also suggest bringing a hat, sunscreen; and optionally, a hand lens and smartphone camera.  We expect to return to the parking lot by 2:00pm.

RSVPs will open up one week before the event. RSVP is required to join us for the hike.  Space is limited. No drop-ins please.  To register, please visit the Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/.  We’ll meet at the Woods Trail trailhead – search for Google pin: “Sierra Azul Parking Lot at Jacques Ridge.”  Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page.



Sunday March 31 - Friday April 5 - Joshua Tree National Park
Join Patricia Evans and Joe Cernac at Joshua Tree National Park for four days of exploration/five nights of camping.  We hope wet weather will bring carpets of flowers but in any event expect to see the usual suspects: goldfields, blazing stars, and Phacelias (both bells and the usual perennials and annuals), along with regional perennial specialties like purple bush (Tetracoccus hallii), Menodora spinescens, Krameria sp., and many others.  And as a bonus, or if the rain fails us, the interesting geology of the Little San Bernadino Mountains.

We will camp at the Cottonwood Group Campground, which gives us good access to the lower and upper Sonoran Desert as well as the Mojave Desert floristic provinces.  Campground creature comforts include picnic tables, sun shades, flat areas for tents, fire pits, toilets and potable water.  Group site fees ($200) will be split among attendees, and there may be additional park entrance fees.  Weather is expected to be warm days and chilly nights.

Before signing on this trip, commit yourself to attending so no one else loses a spot on the list.  Singles should consider if you are willing to carpool (only 11 cars allowed for up to 20 people, no overflow parking).

This trip is for CNPS members only (please ensure your membership is up to date or join).  Space is limited.  No drop-ins.  To reserve your spot and for additional trip information, please contact:
Registration: Sarah Wang at (408) 348-5857 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Trip info: Patricia Evans at (650) 949-2801 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Botany info: Joe Cernac at (408) 499-2515 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


PAST FIELD TRIPS

JANUARY 2024

Mon Jan 1 10am - 2pm New Year’s walk to Franklin Point, part of Año Nuevo State Park (Hwy 1 coast, southern San Mateo County)

Join CNPS members as we celebrate a Chapter tradition of welcoming the New Year with a walk to and BYO picnic at Franklin Point, which is part of the Año Nuevo State Preserve on the San Mateo County coast.

We will be exploring our surroundings as we casually walk towards Franklin Point, which is the most botanically interesting area of the park. We will be starting from the North Whitehouse Creek Trailhead, which is located south of Pescadero on Highway 1, just north of the Santa Cruz County line. We’ll enjoy ocean views, California native plants and raptors, songbirds and maybe marine mammals.

Coastal prairie flora we expect to see includes silver bur ragweed (Ambrosia chamissonis), California goldenbush (Ericameria ericoides), coastal sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala) and Argentina anserina (Potentilla anserina).

Expected dune flora includes yellow sand verbena (Abronia latifolia), pink sand verbena (Abronia umbellata), sea side heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum) and American dunegrass (Eleymus mollis). We also expect to see sea cliff bluff lettuce (Dudleya farinosa) and fleshy jaumea (Jaumea carnosa).As this is a day to have fun sharing nature at the beach with fellow Chapter members, the end time and depth of botanical or fauna discussion may depend on participants’ preferences.

Bring binoculars and layers of clothing for variable coastal conditions including wind, sun, precipitation and fog. We will be walking on sand dunes. Bring a lunch or snacks and fluids. Extreme weather cancels. Before signing up, please read the Año Nuevo State Park restrictions at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523.

Note that there are no bathrooms at Franklin Point. Flush toilets are located at the main entrance of Año Nuevo State Park, which may require payment to enter. For more information, contact Nabeel Al-Shamma at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page.



Thu Jan 4  7:00 – 9:00pm  Field Trip Planning Meeting  (Zoom)

Please join us at our 2024 Field Trip Planning Meeting. We will hold the meeting via Zoom. (Originally we were going to hold a hybrid meeting, but the room we planned to use will not be available).
 
The goal is to identify leaders and trips with a focus on the first half of 2024 and perhaps into the summer. We'll discuss both local and away trips. Please bring the list of trips that you would like to lead, and be prepared to encourage others with trips you'd like to attend. 
 
Leaders with all levels of plant experience are encouraged. One does not need to be a botanist or a plant expert to lead. Co-leaders, sweeps and folks interested in organizing and assisting with trips are all welcome.
 
 

Fri Jan 12  11:00am – 1:30pm  Winter Walk at Hidden Villa (Los Altos Hills)
Many of you have visited our CNPS SCV nursery during plant sales and events, but have you hiked the beautiful trails nearby?  Join Stella Yang and Judy Fenerty on a hike at Hidden Villa to see lovely streamside vegetation, mature chaparral, and heritage oak woodlands along the Ewing Hill trail.  The hike will be about 4 miles in distance and up to 850 feet elevation gain.  We should see silk tassel in bloom, numerous fern species emerging, and perhaps even early spring milkmaids.

We welcome newbies who are interested in learning more about the common plants typically seen in our area.  See the trail map here: www.hiddenvilla.org/visit/hiking-trails/.

Please dress in layers, bring a lunch, water and be aware that ticks are already present.  As always, please clean your boots and poles and remove seeds and mud at home before the hike.

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Parking at Hidden Villa costs $10 per car.  The address is 26870 Moody Rd, Los Altos Hills.  CNPS will match the amount paid in parking fees as a donation to Hidden Villa.  Please park in the main lot near the hostel.


Sun Jan 14  10:00am – 2:00pm  Winter Frolic with Ferns (Palo Alto Foothills Nature Preserve)
Join Deanna Giuliano for a moderately strenuous hike to visit ferns in Foothills Nature Preserve.  We will hike the Los Trancos trail to the Costanoan trail to the Fern loop for approximately 3.5 miles in distance and 600 feet of elevation gain.  We will see at least three to five species of ferns and possibly some fungi, mosses and lichens, along with other woodland species.

Deanna Giuliano is a Certified Botanist with CNPS and is the Nursery Director/Botanical Consultant for Grassroots Ecology.  Deanna has been botanizing, hiking and running the Santa Cruz Mountains for the last 25 years.

The park does charge an entrance fee of $6 per car.  We encourage carpooling.  You can check out the Foothills Nature Preserve website for more information.

Bring warm layers, raingear, water and snacks.  Heavy rain cancels.

RSVP is required to join us for the hike.  Space is limited. No drop-ins please.  To register, please visit the Chapter’s Meetup page.  We’ll meet at the Orchard Glen parking lot.  Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page.

 

DECEMBER 2023

Sat Dec 16 9am -12noon Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)

With the onset of winter, join us for a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk through Lake Cunningham Park. This lake is a major destination for waterfowl and migratory birds and its native garden draws many birds due to its habitat value. On this walk, Vicki Silvas-Young will show you how to identify the common birds of our area, while Arvind Kumar will identify the native plants that they depend on for food and shelter.The distance is 2 miles round-trip on a level path.

Bring a hat, water, your bird and plant lists, and binoculars. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page. We’ll meet at the Marina parking lot at 9am.

This event is cosponsored by CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

 

NOVEMBER 2023

Sun Nov 5 - 10am –3pm - Berries for Birds: A Beginner’s Plant ID & Habitat Walk

Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve (Morgan Hill)

Fall is the time when seeds and fruit of many native plants ripen and mature. This coincides with the start of the wet season, maximizing the potential for germination and propagation of the species. The fruit and seed bonanza sustains a wide variety of wildlife, including many types of birds and mammals. Some fauna play a key role in the dispersal and improved germination of these plants.

Join Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani on this beginner’s plant ID and habitat walk to look for a variety of native berries and fruit such as oak acorns, bay laurel nuts, buckeye nuts, holly-leaved cherries and a wide range of berries: madrone, manzanita, toyon, poison oak, coffeeberry, honeysuckle, elderberry, redberry and snowberry. Beginners interested in plant identification are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page. Meet in the Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve parking lot at 10 am. The address is 4289 Casa Loma Rd, Morgan Hill

 

OCTOBER 2023

Sun, Oct 22 10:00AM to 2:00PM - Achistaca Trail to Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve

Join Judy Fenerty and Stella Yang for this 4.5 mile, leisurely-paced loop hike, with moderate elevation gain and loss. We will see fall colors and will attempt to identify trees from their leaves on the trail. Bring your deductive powers and a lunch, and be prepared to look at our local forest from a different perspective.

There is no drinking water at the trailhead or on the hike, so please bring your own. In addition to a lunch for the trail, we recommend a hat, dressing in layers, and your favorite trail accessories (camera/smartphone/hand lens/binoculars/field guide/none).

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Meet at the parking lot at the corner of Highway 35 and Highway 9. Restroom facilities are available 2 miles south on Hwy 35 at Castle Rock State Park.

 

SEPTEMBER 2023

Sun - Sept 24 9am -12noon - Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)

At the onset of Fall, join us for a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk through Lake Cunningham Park. This lake is a major destination for waterfowl and migratory birds and its native garden draws many birds due to its habitat value. On this walk, Vicki Silvas-Young will show you how to identify the common birds of our area, while Arvind Kumar will identify the native plants that they depend on for food and shelter.

The distance is 2 miles round-trip on a level path. Bring a hat, water, your bird and plant lists, and binoculars. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page. We’ll meet at the Marina parking lot at 9am.

Cosponsored by CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

 

AUGUST 2023

Sun - Aug 20 9:30am –1:30pm Bean Hollow State Beach (Pescadero)

Plant Community Walk: Coastal Bluff Scrub

Why do plants grow where they grow? In nature, plants grow in readily identifiable communities or associations united by location (soil, topography and microclimate). Join Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani as we explore the coastal bluff scrub plant community at Bean Hollow State Beach. Beginners interestedin plant identification are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

We will take the Arroyo de los Frijoles Trail that goes from Bean Hollow Beach to Pebble Beach, and back. We expect to see coffeeberry, sagebrush, coyote brush, angelica, buckwheat, gumplant, seaside daisy, yarrow and more. The distance covered will be 1.5 miles with 45’ of elevation gain.

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 possibly foggy/windy weather. There is no drinking water in the park, so please bring your own.

Directions: The park is located 3 miles south of the town of Pescadero off Hwy 1. Take Hwy. 92 west to Half Moon Bay, then turn left on Hwy. 1 and go south for 18 miles, 3 miles past the town of Pescadero. We will meet in the parking lot at 9:30 am. Carpooling is recommended.

 

JUNE 2023

Sun - June 25 9am - 12noon First Day of Summer Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park, San Jose

With the onset of Summer, join us for a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk through Lake Cunningham Park. This lake is a major destination for waterfowl and migratory birds and its native garden draws many birds due to its habitat value. On this walk, Vicki Silvas-Young will show you how to identify the common birds of our area, while Arvind Kumar will identify the native plants that they depend on for food and shelter.

The distance is 2 miles round-trip on a level path. Bring a hat, water, your bird and plant lists, and binoculars. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Directions: Meet at the Marina parking lot at 9am. The Marina parking lot is on the western shore of the lake, next to Raging Waters, at the opposite side of the park from the main entrance on White Road. Parking fee is $6. In Google Maps, search for “Lake Cunningham Marina” (37.3353176 -121.8120059) to be directed to the Marina. RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

Cosponsored by CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

 

MAY 2023

Sun - May 7 10am-3pm Sierra Azul Open Space (San Jose)

Woods Trail Through a Gardener’s Eye: Locally Native Plants for Bay Area Gardens

With an Option for a Shorter Hike Ending at 12:30pm

California’s plant diversity is among the greatest in the world and many of our native plants are suitable for landscaping. It is easy to see why: locally native plants have evolved in local soils and microclimates and fit perfectly in Bay Area gardens.

Join Arvind Kumar, Ashok Jethanandani, Stephanie Morris and Vicki Silvas-Young on this walk along Woods Trail to learn about the native plants local to our area. Arvind and Ashok are home gardeners in San Jose with a special interest in local natives. Stephanie is a landscape architect and past Gardening with Natives Committee chair. Vicki leads many field trips for the Chapter, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Open Space Authority.

This hike is particularly focused on native plants on the trail that work well in gardens (and are generally available at native plant nurseries). It is not a detailed plant taxonomy trip. Observing the microclimates, companions and mature sizes of locally native plants can be a fantastic way to learn more about native plant gardening.

This contour trail of the Sierra Azul range has gradual ascents/descents, and the north-facing aspect keeps it cool even on warm days. The plants are flourishing after this season’s extended rainfall, and many may still be blooming. Plan future additions to your garden armed with the knowledge of the many attractive shrubs, subshrubs, perennials, and annuals that grow naturally here.

The full-length walk is 5.6 miles (out and back), with 330 ft of elevation gain/loss. Dress in layers, appropriately for the weather. Bring a sack lunch and plenty of fluids.

For those wishing to take a shorter hike, we will also leave with the main group at 10am but we will turn back earlier and skip the lunch break, returning to the parking lot by about 12:30pm. The shorter trip is about 2.5 miles and is also perfect for families! Bring water and bring snacks if desired.

Directions: Take Hwy 85 to San Jose. Take the Camden Ave. exit and go south. In 1.8 mi, turn right on Hicks Rd. After 6.3 miles, turn right on Mt Umunhum Rd. The parking lot is immediately on the right. In Google maps drive to pin “Sierra Azul Parking Lot at Jacques Ridge.”

We will meet in the lot at 10am and plan to return by 3 pm. (If the lot is full, find parking on the opposite side of Hicks Rd. in Almaden Quicksilver Park’s Wood Road lot and walk back.)

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

 

APRIL 2023

Fri - Sun April 7 - 9 Hite Cove Trail and Mariposa Overnight Field Trip (Mariposa County)

MEMBERS ONLY

Radhika Thekkath invites you to join her for three days at her family’s vacation log house and cabin in Mariposa to explore wildflowers on the 15-acre private property. The property is a 3 hour drive from the Bay Area and located at 2800 ft. elevation. Everyone will be accommodated using a combination of beds and tents based on a first come basis.

We will also take a moderate hike of 6.5-miles round-trip on the Hite Cove trail off Highway 140. https://www.yosemite.com/what-to-do/hite-cove/ It has been five years since the Ferguson fire came through here. Plant list from last year will be sent out to participants before the trip.

This trip is for CNPS members only (please ensure your membership is up to date or join). Space is limited. No drop-ins. To reserve your spot and for additional trip information, please contact Radhika at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Detailed trip information will be emailed to registered participants closer to the trip date.

 

Sat - April 29, 10:30am - 2pm Quail Hollow Ranch (Santa Cruz County)

The Santa Cruz Sandhills are a unique community of plants and animals found only on outcrops of Zayante sand soil in the central portion of Santa Cruz County. Join Joe Cernac and Jane Gomery for an easy tour of these Sandhills as presented in Quail Hollow Ranch County Park.

We will follow the Sunset Trail to Sunset Vista Point. Along the way we expect to see ponderosa pine and several manzanitas, including Arctostaphylos crustacea ssp. crinita, Arctostaphylos sensitiva and Arctostaphylos silvicola. We will also see many annual plants.

The round trip distance covered will be about 2.5 miles with a 5% grade in places. Elevation gain is only a few hundred feet. Parts of the trail are very sandy. Bring lunch and liquids.

To learn more about the Santa Cruz Sandhills visit www.santacruzsandhills.com/overview.html.

Directions: From San Jose, take Hwy. 17 south to the Scotts Valley exit and take Scotts Valley Rd. south to Mt. Hermon Rd. in Scotts Valley. Turn right and take Mt. Hermon Rd. until it dead-ends on Graham Hill Rd. Turn left on Graham Hill toward Santa Cruz. At the first light, which is E. Zayante Rd., turn left. Go approx. 2 mi. and make a left onto Quail Hollow Rd. Travel approximately ½ mi. The park entrance is on the right.

We will meet in the main parking lot at 10:30am. For maps and further directions, visit www.scparks.com/quail_hollow_directions.html

You can find the plant list on Calflora, which contains 550 entries: https://www.calflora.org/app/ipl?sva=5029&fmt=simple&wgs=srch::t!!fmt::photo!!inbp::t!!bgid::psd16945!!y::37.0879!!x::-122.06!!z::12!!lpom::d

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/

 

MARCH 2023

Sat March 4, 10-4 PM San Bruno Mountain State and County Park (Brisbane)

Join Ken and Dee Himes along the summit loop trail to see early flowering plants in the coastal scrub and coastal grassland plant communities. The hike will be about 4 miles in distance with an elevation change of about 800 feet. Dress warmly in layers as it can be very windy, and wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Hiking poles are recommended. Bring snacks and a sack lunch, and liquids for the day. Heavy rain cancels. For more information call Ken, 650–9 33–6319 or email Ken or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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 Old Bayshore/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 10AM inside the parking lot just beyond the entrance kiosk. There is a $6/day use parking fee. Bring exact change.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/mxei2DG9ghM5Cqo58

Park Website: https://www.smcgov.org/parks/san-bruno-mountain-state-county-park

 

Mon - Fri March 13-17 Anza Borrego State Park Camping Trip (CNPS MEMBERS ONLY TRIP)

Join us for four nights of camping at Anza Borrego State Park. Patricia Evans and Joe Cernac will co-lead this event. We’ll meet on the first day on Monday. Hike/ botanize on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will be a half day at the park or further north on our return. It is too early to predict if the rains will bring a great show, but we hope to see the usual suspects: rose sand verbenas, suncups, Ocotillo flowering red as well as Chuparosa and yellow Encelia.

The cost for camping will be between $45-55 per person for four nights, depending on the number of people. Plan on travel days ahead and behind the hiking days March 14-16. Anza Borrego is in San Diego county, ten hours away from the Bay Area. Because camping in the park is already “sold out”, you should reserve 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.

 

Sun Mar 19, 9am - 12 noon First Day of Spring Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park, San Jose

With the onset of Spring, join us for a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk through Lake Cunningham Park. This lake is a major destination for waterfowl and migratory birds and its native garden draws many birds due to its habitat value. On this walk, Vicki Silvas-Young will show you how to identify the common birds of our area, while Arvind Kumar will identify the native plants that they depend on for food and shelter.

The distance is 4 miles round-trip on a level path. Bring a hat, water, your bird and plant lists, and binoculars. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Directions: Meet at the Marina parking lot at 9am. The Marina parking lot is on the western shore of the lake, next to Raging Waters, at the opposite side of the park from the main entrance on White Road. Parking fee is $6. In Google Maps, search for “Lake Cunningham Marina” (37.33426 -121.81016) to be directed to the Marina. 

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please.

To register, please visit the Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/California-Native-Plant-Society-Santa-Clara-Valley-Chapter/  

Cosponsored by CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

 

Thu March 30, 9:30am - 2pm Red Hills - Tuolumne County

MEMBERS ONLY

Red Hills, is a foothill sierran serpentine region in Tuolumne County. About a two hour drive from the bay area. We will walk two sections observing what we hope will be an early peak blooming, at the shoulder season between winter and spring. Rare serpentine endemic Eriogonum tripodumChlorogalum grandiflorum and Allium tuolumnense are present. Hopefully bitteroot will be in bloom.  Join Janet Hoffmann <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> and Joe Cernac <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> as we observe, heads bowed to the ground, this flora rich area. We will meet at the main parking lot at 9:30 am. There is a bathroom at the parking lot. Email the leaders for directions and any other questions. https://www.blm.gov/visit/red-hills-recreation-management-area


This trip is for CNPS members only (please ensure your membership is up to date or join). Space is limited. No drop ins. To reserve your spot and for additional trip information, please contact the trip leaders.

 

FEBRUARY 2023

Sat Feb 11 10am–1pm Dirca Walk at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, San Mateo County

Join Don Thomas for a 3- to 4- mile hike with 500+ in elevation change to search for the elusive the western leatherwood (Dirca occidentalis) at Pulgas Ridge OSP near Edgewood Road. Western leatherwood is a rare paleo-endemic plant native only to the San Francisco Bay Area, rated by CNPS as 1B.2. It is one of our earliest flowering native plants, blooming in mid-to-late winter before most other natives begin blooming in the spring. We will look for late-flowering dirca along the Dusky Woodrat Trail. We may be able to observe other early-blooming plants, such as manzanitas and gooseberries.

Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To complete the required RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/california-native-plant-society-santa-clara-valley-chapter/.

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page. Before signing up, please read about Pulgas Ridge OSP at  https://www.openspace.org/preserves/pulgas-ridge

We will meet at the parking area at the corner of Edmonds Road and Crestview Drive. To get to the parking lot from Edgewood Road, turn onto Crestview near the entrance to Edgewood Park and then take an immediate left turn onto Edmonds.

Contact Don at donethomasd[at]gmail.com for more information. Trails are narrow at most parts and may be slippery and steep in some. Wear hiking shoes and bring hiking poles. Bring water and snacks for an optional lunch in the picnic area following the walk. Heavy rain cancels.

 

Saturday, February 18, 9:30 am to 2 pm, Bryophyte Walk at Almaden Quicksilver Park

Limited space - please do not sign up if you are not sure that you will be able to attend. If your plans change, please be sure to update your RSVP.

Join John T. McLaughlin, SJSU Biological Sciences Graduate Student, and Ben Carter, botany professor, for a 2 mile walk to learn about bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) of the Bay Area. This is an entry-level walk that will emphasize seeing different bryophyte species in nature and learning about their morphology, ecology and natural history.

There may be some moderate uphill climbs, but we’ll be moving very slowly. Bring a hand lens if you have one. Bring lunch, snacks and liquids. We’ll head out in any conditions except for heavy rain.

We will meet at the Mockingbird Hill Entrance: 19535 Mockingbird Hill Ln, San Jose, CA 95120. For more about the park, including a trail map, visit https://parks.sccgov.org/santa-clara-county-parks/almaden-quicksilver-county-park. Driving directions are at https://parks.sccgov.org/node/3011.

For general bryophytes questions or specific questions regarding the guided walk, contact John McLaughlin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RSVP is required to join us for the walk. Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To complete the required RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/california-native-plant-society-santa-clara-valley-chapter/.

 

Sun Feb 19 10am - 3 pm Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve

Plant Communities of the South Bay: A Plant Identification Walk for Beginners

Why do plants grow where they grow? In nature, plants grow in readily identifiable communities or associations united by location (soil, topography, and microclimate). Join Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani as we explore the common plant communities of the South Bay such as grassland, scrub, chaparral, and oak woodland. Beginners interested in plant identification are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

We will take the Arrowhead Loop Trail in Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, which goes through grassland, scrub, chaparral, and oak woodland. We will pass serpentine outcrops with native plants adapted to grow in this inhospitable medium. The distance covered is 4 miles with 600’ of elevation gain/loss. Meet in the parking lot.

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 winter weather. Heavy rain cancels.

This educational walk is cosponsored by the California Native Plant Society and Open Space Authority.

To  RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/california-native-plant-society-santa-clara-valley-chapter/.

 

Sat Feb 25 10am – 2:00pm Stile Ranch, San Jose 

Join Dee Himes and Stella Yang for a 2.5 to 3 mile early spring wildflower hike on Stile Ranch Trail - Fortnini Trail loop on the WESTSIDE of Santa Teresa County Park. Stile Ranch Trail goes through serpentinite grasslands and chaparral. This will be a great trip for those who are interested in plants and flowers that are endemic to the serpentinite soil profile and seeps. California has had some record rains this January and we expect to see in bloom shooting stars (Primula hendersonii), California buttercups (Ranunculus californicus), Lomatiums and Sanicles, and more. We will also see big berry manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca), leather oak (Quercus durata) and black salvias (Salvia mellifera).

TRAIL CONDITIONS: The hike will be challenging in intensity due to heavy erosion exposing rocks on the trails making the trails very uneven and sometimes difficult to balance for some. The trails are steep uphill and downhill, muddy and slippery. It is highly recommended to bring hiking poles to help maneuver the trails. There’s no overhead shade until we get to the Fortini Trail.

Dress in layers, wear sturdy hiking boots, bring water, snacks, a bag lunch, a wide brim hat and hiking poles, etc. Limited to 15 people due to narrow trails.

Reservations are needed. To reserve your spot and get directions, please sign up on our chapter Meetup https://www.meetup.com/california-native-plant-society-santa-clara-valley-chapter/

If you have any questions, please contact Dee Himes directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

DIRECTIONS:

We meet at 10am sharp under the oak tree located at the Junction of Stile Ranch Trail and Fortini Trail.

To get to the "Fortini Trailhead", from Hwy 85 take Almaden Expressway all the way to Harry Road and make a right. At the stop junction make a left turn onto McKean Road. Make a left turn at Fortini Road and then left turn on San Vicente Road which leads to the parking area, see link: https://goo.gl/maps/sNXS6hhWzPRqdZxn6

Arrive a bit early to get parking. It's a very popular trail. There are no bathroom facilities at Stile Ranch but there is a facility across the street on McKean Road at the Calero Park San Vicente Parking Area. You can also park here if you can't get parking at the trailhead and walk to the meeting location.

Please note, we are NOT at the main Santa Teresa County Park.

 

Sun Feb 26 13 10am - 4pm Montara Mountain San Pedro Valley Park (Pacifica)

Join co-leaders Ken and Dee Himes on an early spring outing to San Pedro Valley Park. We expect to see some early blooms: Montara manzanita (Arctostaphylos montaraensis), pink-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum), fetid adder's tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii), and possibly others.

The trip will be a moderate 4- to 5-mile loop hike on the Hazelnut Trail, through coastal scrub and chaparral plus some riparian woodland with an elevation gain and loss of about 600 feet and is expected to last until 4pm.

We’ll meet at 10am sharp in front of the park’s Visitor Center. Bring warm and wet weather layers for coastal conditions. Trails may be slippery - bring hiking poles. Bring water and a lunch or snacks, and fluids. Heavy rain cancels. For more information contact Dee Himes at dee4CNPS[at]gmail.com.

Space is limited. No drop-ins please. To complete the required RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page.

Before registering for a spot, please go to SPVP Webpage to review park rules. There is a parking fee of $6 per vehicle.

The Park is located at 600 Oddstad Blvd. in Pacifica. Driving directions are provided on the Meetup page.

 

Sun Feb 26 13 10am - 3pm Plant Communities of the South Bay: A Plant Identification Walk for Beginners

Why do plants grow where they grow? In nature, plants grow in readily identifiable communities or associations united by location (soil, topography, and microclimate). Join Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani as we explore the common plant communities of the South Bay such as grassland, scrub, chaparral, oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, and riparian. Beginners interested in plant identification are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

We will go up the Mayfair Ranch Trail and return via the Longwall Canyon Trail. The distance covered is 4.3 miles with 500’ of elevation gain. Expect to see oaks, bay laurel, madrone, bigberry manzanita, toyon, coffeeberry, buckeye, holly-leaved cherry, and snowberry. Beginners and enthusiasts alike are welcome; prior knowledge of native plants or botany is not required.

Meet in the preserve parking lot at 10 am. 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 winter weather. Heavy rain cancels.

Directions: The preserve is located at 4289 Casa Loma Rd, Morgan Hill. From Hwy 101, take Bailey Ave west. After 3 miles, turn left on McKean Rd. After 2.4 miles, turn right on Casa Loma RD. In 1.7 miles, arrive at the preserve gate. If the main lot is full, continue along Casa Loma RD to the overflow lot. We’ll meet in the parking lot at 10 am.

This educational walk is cosponsored by the California Native Plant Society and Open Space Authority.

To  RSVP, please visit our Chapter’s Meetup page at https://www.meetup.com/california-native-plant-society-santa-clara-valley-chapter/.

 

JANUARY 2023

Sun Jan 1 10am-2pm New Year’s walk to Franklin Point, part of Año Nuevo State Preserve (Hwy 1 coast̶southern San Mateo County)

Join other CNPS members as we celebrate a Chapter tradition of welcoming the New Year with a walk to and BYO picnic at Franklin Point, which is part of the Año Nuevo State Preserve on the San Mateo County coast.

We will be exploring our surroundings as we casually walk towards Franklin Point, which is the most botanically interesting area of the park. We will be starting from the North Whitehouse Creek Trailhead which is located south of Pescadero on Highway 1, just north of the Santa Cruz County line. We’ll enjoy ocean views, California native plants and raptors, song birds and maybe marine mammals. Coastal prairie flora we expect to see includes silver bur ragweed (Ambrosia chamissonis), California goldenbush (Ericameria ericoides), coastal sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala) and Argentina anserina (Potentilla anserina).

Expected dune flora includes yellow sand verbena (Abronia latifolia), pink sand verbena (Abronia umbellata), sea side heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum) and American dunegrass (Eleymus mollis). We also expect to see sea cliff bluff lettuce (Dudleya farinosa)and fleshy jaumea (Jaumea carnosa). As this is a day to have fun sharing nature at the beach with fellow Chapter members, the end time and depth of botanical or fauna discussion may depend on participants preferences.

Bring binoculars and layers of clothing for variable coastal conditions including wind, sun, precipitation and fog. We will be walking on sand dunes. Bring a lunch or snacks and fluids. Extreme bad weather cancels.

Space is limited so please reserve your spot by going to our Chapter’s Meetup page to sign up.

Driving directions and parking tips are provided on the Meetup page.

Before signing up, please read the Año Nuevo State Park restrictions at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523.

Note that there are no bathrooms at Franklin Point. Flush toilets are located at the main entrance of Año Nuevo State Park, which may require payment to enter. For more information, contact Dee Himes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 


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