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FIELD TRIP: Santa Margarita River Trail

3 to 5 miles roundtrip

DIFFICULTY: EASY (There are some boulders to traverse but it is flat and well travelled)

Santa Margarita River winds through a very picturesque canyon landscape just North of Fallbrook, fed by perennial waters from as far East as the San Jacinto Mtns. This trail is a beautiful example of oak riparian and Southern cottonwood willow riparian forest with many slow, wide ponding areas with reeds and cattails where birds love to congregate. While we ordinarily focus on plantlife, this area is a perfect example of nesting habitat for many native birds, including the rare Least bells vireo, southwestern flycatcher, and california gnatcatcher (further up the slopes). At 1.5 mile in, the trail heads uphill to dense coastal sage scrub and coastal chaparral so we'll get a great look at vegetation from aquatic environments up to very dry, sunny areas. This will be a great opportunity to see the rare Rainbow manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowiensis) in bloom along the trailside further in. It's a California Native Plant Society 1B.1 species and there are very few places to see this species up close on public trails...

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Earlier Event: February 14
Garden Committee Meeting
Later Event: February 20
Wildlife-Friendly Landscapes