DIFFICULTY: EASY to MODERATE (4 to 5 miles)
PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Novice +, Professionals always welcome!
ACCESS: Open to all, no charge
[SEVERE WEATHER CANCELS EVENT - Temps over 90F (32C) or Storm Warnings]
For a first, CNPS-SD will head down into Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve for a trail that will aim for the Penasquitos Creek falls, which run all year. Depending on our group and the weather, we'll make a choice to head up to a site with dozens of bright yellow Weed's mariposa lily OR to take a shadier route among the oak trees of the canyon on a return loop along the Creek.
From the street parking trailhead on Park Village Rd, the trail heads down through coastal sage scrub into the grasslands that line the Southern oak riparian woodlands along the Creek. Various patches of southern maritime scrub appear along the canyon slopes and freshwater marsh in spots in the Creek. While June is ordinarily a little late for peak bloom, recent rains have brought some longevity to our native plants. Summer bloomers will be in full swing.
Rare species in the canyon are many, though they are not often along the trail. Nuttall's scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), Summer holly (Comarostaphylis diversifolia), and White Coastal Ceanothus (C. verrucosus) run within the northern facing chaparral; Coastal barrel cactus (Ferocactus viridescens), Del Mar Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa crassifolia), and California adolphia (Adolphia californica) are on the southern facing hillsides. In the riparian zone, we'll encounter San Diego sagewort (Artemisia palmeri), San Diego marsh elder (Iva hayesiana), and Coastal wire grass (Juncus acutus leopoldii) in the riparian zone.
Come prepared with weather suitable gear (including shoes that can get wet), lunch, snacks, and water as always. We'll stop near the falls for a break before heading back to the cars. iNaturalist app (join the SD Plant Atlas Group) is highly recommended as are any guides, lenses, and cameras. Always prepare for the weather beforehand. Rattlesnakes, low water crossings, and poison oak are certain along this trail so we'll go over a safety briefing at the trailhead.
CARPOOL: Carpool will be available for anyone who might find it convenient, especially anyone using public transit. Arrive between 8:15 and 8:30AM at the Fashion Valley Transit Center Parking Lot (West side parking area of the Fashion Valley Mall near Fashion Valley Rd). Look for a black Toyota Tundra. Spaces may fill up, so please be prepared to drive. Carpool participants should expect to return around 2 PM. Parking is free for 24 hrs and has roving security at Fashion Valley Transit Center, however risks are the same as parking anywhere on the street. Message the group for possible alternatives.
PARKING AT TRAILHEAD: Street parking. Trailhead is marked by a stone pillar entryway in the wood fence.