California Native Plant Society
San Gabriel Mountains Chapter

Colby Canyon

The Angeles Crest Highway meanders its way across the San Gabriel Mountains, and Colby Canyon is one of the many canyons that it goes by. The Colby Canyon hiking trail starts from the small parking lot on the highway about a half-mile beyond Switzers, a few miles before the turn-off to Mt. Wilson. The primary destination for this trail is Strawberry Peak, the tallest mountain in the southern part of the San Gabriels. Before reaching the long, steep zigzag pathway up towards Strawberry Peak, the canyon rises relatively gently, and the trail is an easy one, all the way to a group of sycamore trees that serves as a comfortable picnic area. It's a delightful canyon to walk through, and doesn't take too long, at least for this lower part. There is water in the creek for much of the year.

Click on the thumbnails to see higher-resolution images, 640 x 480 pixels.

A. IN EARLY SPRING (March 2008)

Colby Canyon Colby Canyon Martin's paintbrush Martin's paintbrush Martin's paintbrush

A typical view from the track, looking further up into the canyon

Looking down to a small waterfall in the bottom of the canyon

Martin's paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. martinii) is common in the shady areas along the track.

Sycamore grove
Sword fern
Colby Canyon
Coville's lip fern
Elegant rockcress

Sycamore grove

Sword fern (Polystichum imbricans) near the sycamore grove

From the track, looking back down the canyon, towards Los Angeles

Growing in a rock crevice, Coville's lip fern (Cheilanthes covillei)

Elegant rockcress (Arabis sparsiflora var. arcuata)

White snapdragon
White snapdragon
Spreading larkspur
Spreading larkspur
Blue dicks

White snapdragon (Antirrhinum coulterianum), a tiny flower on a tall stem, easy to miss

Spreading larkspur (Delphinium patens). The key is the white part with middle blue/purple stripe.

Blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)

Purple nightshade
Purple nightshade
Chaparral whitethorn
Colby Canyon trail
Colby Canyon

Purple nightshade (Solanum xanti). It occurs in several places along the track.

Chaparral Whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis))

Along the track through Colby Canyon

View into the canyon from near Angeles Crest Highway

B. IN SUMMER (June 2008)

Caterpillar phacelia
Sticky monkeyflower
Parry's colinsia
Rose snapdragon
Heartleaf penstemon

Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida)

Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

Parry's collinsia (Collinsia parryi)

(Rose Snapdragon (Antirrhinum multiflorum)

Heartleaf Penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia)

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All images © 2008-2017 Graham Bothwell .
Thanks to Jane Strong for assistance in identification of plants and flowers.