California Native Plant Society
San Gabriel Mountains Chapter

Messenger Flats and Lightning Point

The Mt. Gleason road branches from the Angeles Forest Highway and follows a ridge all the way to Mt. Gleason (6,500 feet). Beyond thatMt. Gleason the road becomes a single lane, with few places to pass. The primary destinations are the campgrounds at Lightning Point and Messenger Flats. Lightning Point has a Group Campground behind a locked gate, about 10 miles from Mill Creek Summit, and requires Group Campground reservations to be made with the Forest Service. We walked in to Lightning Point, where there is a good wildflower trail extending out along the ridge.

A further mile of narrow, dirt road reaches Messenger Flats. The road extends for a further 20 miles through to the Santa Clarita area, but is narrow and windy, best for high-clearance vehicles only.

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


Beyond Mt. Gleason, the road traverses hillsides covered in chaparral whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis), here in at its peak in May

View towards the Los Angeles area

Mountain violet
(Viola purpurea)

Messinger Flat

Messenger Flats campground

Near the campground

Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)
with Pale Swallowtail butterfly

Probably var. johnstonii (Johnston's bush lupine) or maybe var. austromontanus (Southern mountain lupine) at Messenger Flats

Spearleaf mountain dandelion (Agoseris retrorsa) at Messenger Flats, both the flower (L) and the seed (R) at Mesenger Flats

Scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius)

Tall trees arouind the campground

Mt. Gleason Paintbrush (Castilleja gleasonii)

Golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

The last mile of the road to Messinger Flats

South from the road near Messinger Flats

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Chaparral whitethorn (C. leucodermis) dominates the scene while walking in to Lightning Point

Martin's paintbrush (Casilleja applegatei ssp. martinii)

Wildflowers along the trail at Lightning Point

Veatch's blazing star (Mentzelia veatchiana)

Spearleaf mountain dandelion (Agoseris retrorsa)

Prickly phlox (Leptodactylon californicum)

View from Lightning Point towards the coast

Morning glory (Calystegia sp.)

A manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.)

Davidson's phacelia (Phacelia davidsonii). Notice the white flower in the picture at the right.

Blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)

Davidson's Sierra Nevada lotus (Lotus nevadensis var. davidsonii)

A lupine (Lupinus sp.), at Lightning Point

A forest road beyond Lightning Point

Deerbush (C. intergerrimus)

Indian milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa)

Chaparral Yucca (Yucca whipplei)

Ceanothus hillsides near Lightning Point

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Images © 2009-2019 Graham Bothwell.
Thanks to Jane Strong for assistance in identification of plants and flowers.