Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore

Leader: Ann Elliott    Thursday, March 27, 2024 10 am to 2 pm

Meetup registration link. Opens 2/29/24.  Limit 20.     Please sign the Waiver for Marin Chapter 2024.

Chimney Rock is a spectacular walk year-round. During this mid-spring visit we hope to find some of the flowers on the 50th Anniversary Challenge list: Wight’s paintbrush (Castilleja wightii), goldfields (Lasthenia californica), tidytips (Layia platyglossa), suncups (Taraxia ovata), and more. We will see some elephant pups before they take off to deeper ocean and maybe the beginning of the pacific gray whale northward migration.

Directions:  Meet at the Chimney Rock parking area, located in outer Point Reyes, near the end of Sir Francis Drake, a mile or so before reaching the Lighthouse. Please remember, even if it’s warm and sunny when you leave home, it could be cold and foggy and very, very, very windy at Point Reyes.

Bring: Water, a snack, and rain gear.      Heavy rain cancels.

Email Ann with any questions.        Text for day-of-trip questions or issues: 530-521-4402

Indian Tree Preserve, Novato

Indian Tree Preserve, Novato

Saturday, March 23, 2024 10 am to 3 pm      Leader: Ann Elliott

Meetup Registration Link. Signups open 2/29 limit 20     Please sign the Waiver for Marin Chapter 2024.

Ascend the nicely graded Big Trees Trail through hillsides of ferns and wildflowers, and new stands of redwoods and mature woodlands that open up to scenic views of Stafford Lake. We hope to catch some of the early flowers on the 50th Anniversary Challenge list: shooting stars (Primula hendersonii), checker lily (Fritillaria affinis), and warrior plumes (Pedicularis densiflora).

Those making it to the top of the ridge will lunch near giant redwoods with million-dollar sweeping views of the entire North Bay. We will return down the slightly steeper Deer Camp Trail. The round-trip mileage is about 5.5 miles. Some may want to just venture up the trail a couple miles and then retrace their steps back or do the shorter loop without reaching the summit.   According to David Herlocker, this is “one of the best destinations in the County.” Check out the iNaturalist field guide.

Directions:  Meet at the Vineyard Rd trailhead in Novato. To get there, exit 101 at the San Marin exit, and go west for more than a mile. After you cross Novato Blvd., continue straight on Sutro Dr.  Make a right onto Vineyard and follow to the end of the pavement.

Bring: Water, lunch, and rain gear.   Heavy rain cancels.

Email Ann with any questions.      Text for day-of-trip questions or issues: 530-521-4402



Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo State Park

Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo State Park

Monday April 29, 2024
Please sign up for this field trip on Meetup. Registration opens April 1.   Please sign Waiver for Marin Chapter 2024.

Mitchell Canyon is one of the wildflower “hot spots” in the Bay Area. This walk will be slow and easy, about 2 miles in length total, three-fourths on the Mitchell Canyon fire road and one-fourth on the single-track Globe Lily Trail.  Please bring your lunch.  After the walk, we will eat at the picnic tables in the shade near the visitor center.

We expect to see the rare (1B.2) Mt. Diablo fairy lantern (Calochortus pulchellus), along with many other spring wildflowers, hopefully including goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia), broomrape (Aphyllon fasciculatum), blue witch (Solanum umbelliferum), virgin’s bower (Clematis ligusticifolia), colonial onion (Allium unifolium), Sacramento Valley buttercup (Ranunculus canus), yerba santa, wallflowers, blow wives, ookow, silver bush lupine, and more.  If we’re lucky, we’ll also see the butterfly mariposa lily (Calochortus venustus), although we may be too early for that one. And looking up, on the slopes of Mt. Diablo, we’ll see stands of beautiful gray pines (Pinus sabiniana).

The Mt. Diablo Interpretive Association publishes a wonderful online Wildflower Guide. In addition, along the fire road there are ten numbered markers, which are described in this downloadable Mitchell Canyon Trail Interpretive Guide

Carpooling Options: Meet at 8:15 at Mission Avenue Park & Ride in San Rafael or Meet at 8:15 at the Manzanita Park & Ride in Mill Valley

Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center, Mt. Diablo State Park,  96 Mitchell Canyon Road,  Clayton, CA 94517

Driving Directions: The route to Walnut Creek may vary depending on where you start in Marin County. Once in Walnut Creek, from the intersection of Interstate 680 and Ygnacio Valley Road, go east on Ygnacio Valley Road 6.7 miles to Pine Hollow Road. Turn right on Pine Hollow Road and follow it for 1.7 miles to Mitchell Canyon Road. Turn right on Mitchell Canyon Road and follow it for 1.5 miles; the road dead-ends at the park entrance. Entry fee is $6.00 in cash per vehicle. There are restrooms by the parking lot.

Bring: Water, lunch, and rain gear.     Rain cancels

Email Suzanne with any questions. Text for day-of-trip questions or issues: 510-909-3980

Rock Spring

Rock Spring

Rock Spring Calypso Orchid Hunt, and More!

Sunday, March 10, 2024, 10:30 am to 2 pm  Leaders: Kristin Jakob & Renee Fittinghoff

Please sign up for this field trip  Meetup Registration   Please sign the Field Trip Waiver

 Join Kristin and Renee to search through the Douglas fir forest looking for the fairy slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa. The group will explore the trails around the upper Rock Spring meadow, enjoy a picnic lunch around noon, then head down the Cataract Trail as far as participants wish to hike, enjoying other early wildflowers and a diverse array of ferns. Trails are not particularly steep, but narrow and rocky in part, and possibly slippery if wet.

Directions: Meet at the Rock Spring parking lot on Mt. Tamalpais, located at the intersection of Ridgecrest and Pantoll Roads. This is approximately one mile uphill from the state park ranger station at Pantoll; turn uphill across the road from the ranger station. For those unfamiliar with the area, the ranger station is located on Panoramic Hwy. on the way from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. There is no charge to park at the Rock Spring paved lot, and there are some additional parking spaces along Ridgecrest.

Bring: Water, a lunch, sturdy shoes, and rain gear.    Rain cancels.

Email Kristin  with any questions.    Text for day-of-trip questions or issues: 650-608-1274


King Mountain

King Mountain

King Mountain loop trail, Kentfield
Thursday, March 7, 2024; 12:30 to 4:30 pm     Leaders: Betsey Crawford and Ann Elliott

Please sign up for this field trip  Meetup Registration   Please sign the Field Trip Waiver

 The two-mile King Mountain loop contains multitudes: redwood forest, bay forest, oak canopy, California buckeye, a variety of woodland shrubs, views of Mount Tam and Baltimore Canyon, and even some patches of chapparal. Among the flowers I’ve seen in March are hounds tongue (Cynoglossum grande), common pacific pea (Lathyrus vestitus), death camas (Toxicoscordion fremontii), blue dicks (Dipterostemon capitatum), mission bells (Fritillaria affinis), Iris douglasiana, milk maids (Cardamine californica), monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus), morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia), drops of gold (Prosartes hookeri).

King Mountain Loop is a very popular and easy to manage trail with an interesting beginning and end. We will enter at Ridgecrest Drive, which means we will go down a few switchbacks on 106 (I counted) easy-to-use railroad tie steps on the way in. Then up about 300’ (not elevation, just 100 steps sloping up) on the last stretch back to Ridgecrest. The latter is the only tricky part — a bit steep and stepping up some root “steps” at one point.

Directions: Take the Sir Francis Drake exit off 101 north or south. Drive west to College Ave and make a left at the light. College turns into Magnolia Ave. Drive to the junction of Estelle and Magnolia. There is parking in the lot of several defunct stores. We will meet there to carpool.

Bring: Water, snack; hiking poles helpful but not necessary       Rain cancels.        Questions? Text Betsey at 631-484-1949