Field Trips

CNPS- Yerba Buena Natural History Walks:

Another bountiful bevy of entertaining and informative walks from our visionary leaders in 2020!

All are welcome (some trips you need to register for but most you don't). We're out there...get out there with us!


February 22, 2020, SATURDAY 10 am - 12 noon

Early Spring Walk on Bayview Hill

Leader: Margo Bors

After the winter rains, early spring is a rewarding time to visit Bayview Hill.  The Hill has many early blooming natives including several lomatiums and other members of the carrot or parsnip family.  Johnny Jump-up, in the violet family, host plant of the endangered Callippe Siverspot butterfly, will be in bloom.  We may also see members of the iris, lily and lupine families.  The many California grassland natives in bloom are delightfully visible during this time of year before the grasses become too tall and dense.

The walk up Key Ave. is steep, but we will take our time and enjoy the surroundings.  The upper area is fairly level with fascinating plants, birds and geology, and impressive unobstructed views in every direction. Bring a snack and water and wear layers as temperatures can vary greatly in different areas.  There are no bathroom facilities.

Meeting Place: Key Ave. entrance to Bayview Park, two blocks east of 3rd St.

Transportation: Short walk from MUNI T-Line station at Le Conte & 3rd St.

Contact: Margo Bors, email, phone 415-824-0471


February 29, 2020, SATURDAY, 10:00am – 12:30pm

San Pedro Valley County Park, Hazelnut Trail

Leader: Jake Sigg

The Hazelnut Trail on Montara Mountain offers probably more diversity than any other area around here. A reason for that may be because it contains a rich mix of inland and maritime chaparral in the process of replacing a diverse grassland. In the absence of frequent burning practiced by the indigenous people, woody plants displace the grasses and wildflowers, and you can see that process happening here. We start out from the Visitor’s Center and cross the creek coming down from Brook Falls, cross a thriving riparian woodland, loaded with lush vegetation, then our ascent brings us to a couple of grasslands which will have a few early blooming wildflowers. At this time of year the glory of this trail is the woody plants, and February is the perfect time to visit. Subtlety and restraint—the Japanese term shibui—characterize it. Sage greens, grays, soft browns, blue-greens, copper and an infinity of other hues and textures dominate. Most of the shrubs are still awakening from summer-autumn dormancy. Lichens are a trip and plentiful. Manzanitas and pink currants may be in full bloom. Hazelnuts ditto; pendent male catkins are abundant, and the sharp-eyed may spot red female flowers hiding in the axils of the branchlets—tiny but showy when you focus on them. A favorite—and locally rare—is the chinquapin, a close relative of the chestnut. The underside of its leaves are covered by a rich golden tomentum; in the right light conditions it fills the area with a warm golden glow. This area is remarkably intact in terms of native species. However, building a trail is like opening a wound, where the land is exposed to infection. The only invasive weeds we will see are along this trail. But the trail also allows the wildflowers to persist, so there is much to see continually. This is a single-track trail, so not always possible to keep everyone within earshot. Our policy is “rain or shine, but heavy rain cancels.” If the weather is uncertain on the morning of Feb 29,  call to confirm 415-731-3028.

We will limit the number of people to 15. First come first served; reserve at


March 22, SUNDAY 10 am – noon

The Natural Wonders of Glen Canyon

Leader: Paul Bouscal, California Naturalist

Join us on a spring hike to explore this canyon in the midst of residential neighborhoods. Glen Canyon is one of San Francisco’s significant natural resource areas containing a variety of vegetation including forbs, grasslands, shrubs, willows and other trees. At this time of year we hope to see spring wildflowers in bloom.  The park features rock formations, and it is the source of Islais Creek. We will walk and view parts of this 70-acre park to enjoy the flora, fauna and natural history.

Meet at Elk and Chenery Streets. This is approximately a 10-minute walk from the Glen Park BART station.  The 44 bus also stops nearby. In San Francisco layers of clothing are recommended. Heavy rain cancels.
Contact Paul at, or call 650-438-9109 if you have questions.


March 28, SATURDAY 10 am- 2 pm

San Bruno Mountain: Summit Trail

Leader: Doug Allshouse

The Summit Trail is a very popular and spectacular 3-mile loop that stretches over the northern portion of the mountain and is the most species-rich trail. It passes through a logged eucalyptus forest and descends past active seeps until it reaches April Brook. We’ll see horsetails, fringe cups, iris, coast rock cress, and at least five ferns. From there we head up to Bitter Cherry Ridge with rocky outcrops covered with fog lichens and views of the ocean and the Daly City dunes. If we have time, we’ll check out Kamchatka Point and some endemic manzanitas then descend to the parking lot through Cable Ravine. Otherwise, we’ll bail out at Battery Road 59 and descend Radio Road. There is a $6 entrance fee (cash, credit/debit card) payable at the pay station. Meet at the parking lot on the other side of Guadalupe Canyon Parkway by turning right at the stop sign just past the kiosk/pay station and follow the road under the parkway. Bring a lunch and layers of clothing because, due to the marine influence, the weather is a box of chocolates; you never know what to expect. Heavy rain cancels. Contact Doug at, or call/text 415-269-9967 if you have questions.


April 25, SATURDAY 10 am to 3 pm

San Bruno Mountain: Ridge Trail

Leader: Doug Allshouse

Come spend the day walking the Ridge Trail which follows the San Bruno Mountain ridgeline. The trail offers a long and interesting menu of plant species including the endemic SBM manzanita, several paintbrushes, Franciscan wallflower, two wild cucumbers, three lupines, stonecrop, coast rock cress and more. On a very clear day the vistas extend from Pt. Reyes to the South Bay and from the Farallones to Mt. Diablo. Its topography begins in Franciscan coastal scrub, blue blossom chaparral and coastal terrace prairie, and then transitions to needlegrass grassland the further southeast we travel. The wildflower show, while varied and spectacular, is just part of the allure. If weather permits, we probably will encounter the endangered Mission Blue butterfly, along with other spectacular species such as Anise Swallowtails and Green Hairstreaks. An autumn 2018 grassfire near the East powerline should hopefully offer some fire-follower wildflowers. The entire out-and-back trip is about 4 miles over a rocky and undulating fire road with frequent elevation changes. Bring a lunch and water. The $6 entry fee is payable at the kiosk to a ranger or the cash or charge pay station. Turn right at the stop sign and follow Radio Road up to the summit parking lot. The mountain offers box-of-chocolates weather so bring layers. Heavy rain cancels. Any questions, directions or weather reports contact Doug at or 415-269-9967.


May 7, THURSDAY 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

San Francisco Botanical Garden in Spring

Leader: Paul Bouscal, California Naturalist

Take a spring hike in the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s California section to see a variety of plant species and the insects and wildlife they attract. Bring a bag supper and enjoy a communal dinner in the garden among the native plants and evening wildlife. In spring it may be windy; layers of clothing are recommended. Please note there is a non-resident fee to enter the SFBG.  Meet at the main entrance at 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way.

The CNPS speaker program starts at 7:30pm at the County Fair Building, so plan to stay on for an enjoyable evening.

Contact Paul at, or call 650-438-9109 if you have questions.