California Native Plant Society
San Gabriel Mountains Chapter

Lightning Ridge and vicinity

The one-mile interpretive loop trail at Lightning Ridge is short, but rich in flora. The trail was created years ago by the Forest Service, and printed copies of the interpretive flyer are still found in the green metal box at the start of the trail. This easy trail is located at Blue Ridge Summit, which is the point where Angeles Crest Highway crosses Blue Ridge, at an elevation of 7,360 feet.

The Lightning Ridge trail passes through a delightful black oak woodland, and ends higher up on Lightning Ridge, where it joins the Pacific Crest Trail. Near that junction, there is a magnificent southward view along the length of the valley of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. On the other side of the highway from Lightning Ridge is Inspiration Point, a spectacular overlook of this same valley.

Nearby, a gravel road heads east along Blue Ridge. Part of this web page includes photos from the Blue Ridge road.

Below are three panels of photos:
A. Lightning Ridge trail, on a sunny day in late May
B. Lightning Ridge trail, on a misty day in early June
C. Along the Blue Ridge road

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

A. LIGHTNING RIDGE — on a sunny day in late May

The first row of this panel shows photos from the drive across the Angeles Crest Highway to Lightning Ridge.

Snow bush, or mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus) at islip Saddle, on Angeles Crest Highway

Snow Canyon, on Angeles Crest Highway. Here we see the remains of snow at the end of May, the view north to the Mojave Desert, and Peirson's lupine (Lupinus peirsonii)

Bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata), with its shiny purple trunks

Black oak (Quercus kelloggii), and the black oak woodland

Volcanic gilia (Gilia ochroleuca)

Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)

Curved-stem phacelia (Phacelia curvipes)

Wright's blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia torreyi var. wrightii)

Rock melic grass (Melica stricta)

Purple nightshade (Solanum xanti)

Alpine gooseberry (Ribes lasianthum)


Spreading larkspur (Delphinium patens ssp. montanum)

Golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Lichen Upper Lightning Ridge trail East Fork valley

Colorful lichen

Mojave lianthus (Lianthus breviculus)

Near the top of Lightning Ridge

East Fork of the San Gabriel River

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B. LIGHTNING RIDGE — on a misty day in early June

The start of Lightning Ridge trail — CNPS group outing

Western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum)

Purple nightshade (Solanum xanti)

Mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishii)


Broad-leaved lotus (Lotus crassifolius var. crassifolius)

Black oak woodland (Quercus kelloggii)

Curved-stem phacelia (Phacelia curvipes)


Black oak (Quercus kelloggii)

Rock melic grass (Melica stricta)

Squirreltail grass (Elymus elymoides)

Mojave Indian paintbrush (Castilleja plagiotoma)

Fremont's bush mallow (Malachothamnus fremontii)

Plain mariposa lily (Calochortus invenustus)

Western morning glory (Calystegia occidentalis ssp. fulcrata)

Western chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. demissa)

California broomrape (Orobanche californica)

Snow bush or mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus)

Possibly spreading larkspur (Delphinium patens ssp. montanum)

CNPS group walking along the ridge

Trees in the mist

CNPS group in the mist

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Mt. Baldy and East Fork valley of San Gabriel River

Mountain phacelia (Phacelia imbricata ssp. imbricata)

Johnston's bush lupine (Lupinus excubitus var. johnstonii)

A tasty onion (Allium sp.)

Volcanic gilia (Gilia ochroleuca)

Probably Veatch's blazing star (Mentzelia veatchiana

Parry's larkspur (Delphinium parryi ssp. parryi)

Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)

Martin's paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. martinii)

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Images copyright © 2008-2009 Mary and Graham Bothwell.
Thanks to Jane Strong for assistance in identification of plants and flowers.