Jepson – Johnstone Trail – Lover’s Lost

Jepson – Johnstone Trail – Lover’s Lost

Signup – Meetup

Signup Details:

  • Registration will be handled in Meetup online or with the app. Sign ups to Meetup are free for participants using your Google, Apple, or Facebook account or by using an email address.
  • You must also digitally sign the CNPS waiver with WaiverSign. New! You only need to sign the waiver for Marin CNPS events once in 2024. 2024 Marin CNPS WaiverSign Link
  • This field trip is limited to 20 participants. Please only sign up if you plan to attend.
  • Contact the leader with any questions.

Tomales Bay State Park has botanical treasures any time of the year, from the Zen-like environ­ment of the bishop pine forest through mixed hard­woods to ledum swamps and decomposed granite beaches along the bay. Bring your mushroom identification books along too.

Be prepared: Recall the plight of the couple who wandered from this trail on Valentine’s Day 2020 and were lost for over a week. To avoid their fate, please stock your packs with the essential equipment for any hike:

  • navigation (map & cell phone);
  • food & water;
  • protection from sun, rain, and wind (dress in layers w/sturdy shoes);
  • first aid kit;
  • emergency whistle;
  • helpful extras: shelter (space blanket), headlamp, knife, and fire (matches).

Meet at the small unmarked parking area at the top of the Jepson Trail, which is located just south of the entrance to Tomales Bay State Park on Pierce Point Rd. To get there from central Marin, go out Sir Francis Drake Blvd., several miles past Inverness. At the fork in the road, bear right onto Pierce Point Rd., and go approximately one mile to the parking area. If you see the entrance sign to Tomales Bay State Park (Heart’s Desire), you have gone too far, so turn around and go back 200 yards. Heavy rain cancels. Call Ann

iNaturalist Training and Practice

iNaturalist Training and Practice

Please register on Meetup

Location: San Geronimo Valley Community Center & Commons

Sunday, February 25, 2024 – 2 pm to ?

Leader: Ann Elliott

Questions   530-521-4402

Let’s get ready for the 50th Anniversary Marin Native Plant Challenge!

Download the iNaturalist and Seek apps from the App Store or Google Play if you can. If that is also a challenge, we can help with the download while in WIFI. Then we will go out into the “wilds” to document some plants.  We may venture as far as Roy’s Redwoods.

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



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

A Southern Marin Native Plant Garden

A Southern Marin Native Plant Garden

{igallery id=3009|cid=78|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}

The theme of this virtually 100% California native hillside garden is the wealth of garden-worthy native plants local to Marin County that can create a beautiful and diverse garden landscape. The vast majority of the approximately 200 species of plants in this garden are California natives that grow in the wild in Marin County.  The garden is sectioned into different habitats that include riparian/woodland slope, coastal shrub, dry meadow, brushy meadow, hedgerow and chaparral.

•    Attracts Pollinators and Birds – One of the joys of the native garden is the return of beneficial insects and bees.  With the huge and sudden decline of European honeybee pollinators, California native bees are the pollinators of last resort.  Native bees flourish among the wide variety of flowering plants in this garden.  A variety of butterflies visits the garden for nectar and larval plants.  Insects, nectar, seeds, berries and protective cover also attract a variety of birds, including Bewick’s wrens, scrub jays, ruby-crowned kinglets, juncos, towhees, golden-crowned sparrows and Anna’s Hummingbirds.

•    Woodland Slope – A dry creek bed and path wander down the slope among California currant, scarlet monkey flower, red twig dog wood, creambush, elk’s clover, salal, California myrtle, solomon’s seal, coastal irises and a variety of ferns and Spring ephemerals are among the many native riparian plants found in this area.

•    Dry Meadow – A dry meadow features drought tolerant grasses, perennials and a few shrubs. It also features a variety of annual wildflowers that are sown annually to supplement those that reseeded from the previous year.  Most showy are the clarkias that come in many shades of pink and red.

•    Hedgerow – One side of the garden is planted with large native shrubs that form a hedgerow that provides cover for birds.

•    Declining Water Use – Grouping plants by habitat results in more efficient irrigation and lower water usage. Plants in the most drought tolerant zones receive no supplemental water after they are established. Drip irrigation is used throughout the garden except for the dry meadow.  Plants in the chaparral and hedgerow areas have been completely weaned off of irrigation.

•    Virtually No Fertilizers or Soil Amendments – Because most California natives are happiest without much fertilizer and soil amendments, this garden uses no continuing applications of fertilizer.  During planting only a small amount of soil amendment was worked into the soil to lighten up the clay/chert soil and a small amount of organic fertilizer was added.

•     No Pesticides or Fungicides – California natives are adapted to surviving and, if happy, thriving in Marin without pesticides and fungicides.  The variety of plants and habitats in this garden attract a large variety of beneficial insects and birds that maintain a natural balance in the garden. Nature is allowed to take its course rather than resorting to chemical warfare, and nature’s course in this varied ecosystem has favored this benign neglect.