California Native Plant Society
San Gabriel Mountains Chapter

Highway 39

This is the currently-closed road that extends north from Azusa all the way to Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2) at Islip Saddle. Although the road is currently closed by a locked gate from just north of the junction of the West and North Forks of the San Gabriel River, there were car tours during 2008 led by the U.S. Forest Service, starting from San Gabriel Canyon Environmental Center at Rincon, about 7 miles north of Azusa. From there, a caravan of cars was escorted all the way up Highway 39 to Highway 2.

The first part of the closed road, leading to Crystal Lake (we did not visit the lake) is under repair, and we were told that it should be open within a few years. Beyond that, the road is maintained for emergency access purposes only.

All of the following pictures were from a trip up Highway 39 on 30 August 2008. It was the peak of summer, but there were still some flowers, especially at the higher elevations.

Click on the thumbnails to see higher-resolution images, 720 x 480 pixels.

Looking south from Bichoda Mesa Looking back towards Azusa Bush mallow Hollyleaf cherry California brickellbush

San Gabriel River, North Fork, looking south from Bichota Mesa (R). Looking south while ascending towards Crystal Lake (R)

Probably Malacothamnus fasciculatus (Bush mallow) at Bichota Mesa

Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) at Bichota Mesa

California brickellbush (Brickellia californica)

San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush
San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush
Scarlet monkeyflower
Jerusalem-oak goosefoot

San Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)

At Snow Spring: Fremont's cottonwood (Populus fremontii), and Arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis) (L), Scarlet monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis) (M), Jerusalem-oak goosefoot (Chenopodium botrys) (R)

Prickly poppy Prickly poppy Davidson's buckwheat Rock buckwheat
Rock buckwheat

Prickly poppy (Argemone munita)

Davidson's buckwheat (Eriogonum davidsonii)

Rock buckwheat (Eriogonum saxatile)

A buckwheat
California buckwheat
California buckwheat
Giant blazing star
Giant blazing star

Sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum)

California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)

Giant blazing star (Mentzelia laevicaulis)


California fuchsia California fuchsia Parish's buckwheat Parish's buckwheat Curl-leaf mountain mahogony

California fuchsia (Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium)

Parish's buckwheat (Eriogonum parishii)

Curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)

  Twin Peaks and Mt Waterman Twin Peaks Nearing the top  

Twin Peaks and
Mount Waterman

Twin Peaks from high up on Hwy 39

Nearing the top, not far from Islip Saddle


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Images copyright © 2009 Graham Bothwell.
Thanks to Jane Strong for assistance in identification of plants and flowers.