Report on the Field Trip: Laguna Trail/Fire Lane Trail/Coast Camp/Santa Maria Beach/Coast Trail/Laguna Trailhead

By Susan Schlosser

Susan Schlosser by S Pogorzelski sqSusan Schlosser – Photo by Stacey PogorzelskiA group of plant lovers hiked the Laguna Trail in the Point Reyes National Seashore on September 10.  The route led from the trailhead just beyond the Point Reyes hostel off to Coast Camp and the nearby beach.

California bulrush Susan SchlosserCalifornia bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus) – Photo by Susan SchlosserParticipants observed wetlands, coastal scrub and the beach on this field trip. Wetlands we saw included year-round flowing creeks (Laguna and Santa Maria), wet, boggy areas amidst coastal scrub, coastal riparian, bulrush-cattail marsh, and a salt/brackish/freshwater gradient at the mouth of Santa Maria Creek. Plants we identified include water parsley, (Oenanthe sarmentosa), California bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus), panicled bulrush (Scirpus microcarpus), fringed willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum ssp. watsonii), common slough sedge (Carex obnupta), bur reed (Sparganium eurycarpum var. eurycarpum) and American speedwell (Veronica americana).  On the beach fresh algae torn from nearby intertidal and subtidal rocky substrates included bull kelp, (Nereocystis luetkeana) and feather boa kelp (Egregia menzisii) as well as a marine angiosperm, surf grass (Phyllospadix scouleri).

Spoon leaved goldenweed Susan SchlosserSpoon leaved goldenweed (Solidago spathulata) – Photo by Susan SchlosserThe coastal scrub was diverse and included areas dominated by coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis var. consanguinea), blue blossom (Ceanothus thrysiflorus), and California hazelnut (Corylus cornuta ssp. californica). A highlight along the Fire Lane Trail was blooming California goldenrod (Solidago  veluntina ssp. californica)  and spoon-leaved goldenrod (S. spathulata). Other flowers on the route were sticky monkey flower (Diplaucus aurianticus), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), seaside daisy  (Erigeron glaucus), California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense), western morning glory (Calystegia purpurata ssp. purpurata), coastal tarweed (Deinandra corybosa), and lanceleaf selfheal (Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata). Many of the other plants we saw had gone to seed or berry.


Elk were in the lower Laguna Creek riparian area and also on the slopes above the Coast Trail. We saw and heard birds throughout this route. This is a fascinating route of habitats and plants. Visiting in other seasons will likely be interesting too.

Check out the plant list for the hike on these trails HERE.

California aster Susan SchlosserCalifornia aster (Symphyotrichum chilense) – Photo by Susan Schlosser

Mimulus aurantiacus Laguna Trail Point Reyes NS Stacey Pogorzelski smSticky monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus) – Photo by Stacey Pogorzelski