Flora of the Mt. Wilson Trail

A Slide Show

Photographs by Michael Charters

The Mt. Wilson Trail begins 250 yards north of the intersection of Mira Monte Avenue and Mt. Wilson Trail Drive in Sierra Madre, CA. at the base of the San Gabriel Mts. The trail is probably the best known of the historic old trails of the San Gabriels and its modern history began in 1864 when it was first laid out by Benjamin Wilson in order to procure timber from the mountaintop for use on his ranch. It is approximately 14 miles roundtrip between the trailhead and the summit of Mt. Wilson, and good turnaround points en route are First Waters (1.3m), Orchard Camp (3.3m), and Manzanita Ridge (5.2m). The elevation at the start of the trail is about 1000' and at the summit 5700'. The purpose of this slide show is to familiarize hikers with the flora that they encounter along the trail. In a good rainfall year, plants are beginning to bloom in February, and by April the trail is usually a riot of color. All of the photographs shown here were either taken on the Mt. Wilson Trail or represent species that I have photographed on the trail. Non-native species are shown with an asterisk next to their name.

I have purposely identified most plants only to species level because the majority of people who look at this site will not care about variants or subspecies. If you want to look for a particular species, you may use the Plant List which has links to the individual plants and full species names. Please also refer to Tom Chester's Plant Guide for the lower section of the Mt. Wilson Trail, and his well-done introductory page on Mt. Wilson.


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