4/12/2018 Carson Falls (Fairfax, CA)

DATE:  April 12, 2018
LOCATION: Carson Falls (Fairfax, CA)
ADDRESS: Carson Falls Trail, Bolinas, CA 94924
 LATITUDE & LONGITUDE: 37°58’35.5″N, -122°38’45.6″W


This trail was a mixture of inclines, declines and muddy areas along with open chaparral, serpentine and forest-like areas with many trees and shrubs. Trails were muddy and there was water running by, including a beautiful waterfall. One particular trail was downhill and extremely rocky with wet mud spots. However, the site was beautiful as most of the time we were in the forest-y areas of the park. Some dominant species include the Phacelia genus in the Boraginaceae family though not many plants flowered due to the cold weather recently.


“Smooth Western Morning Glory”

This native Californian species is also called the Calystegia purpurata and is in the Convolvulaceae family. It is normally found in serpentine areas. It is a perennial herb and is often glaucous. The leaves are a light green and in a triangle shape. The flowers can vary between purple and white and generally have a peduncle inflorescence. Because this plant grows close to the ground in serpentine areas and has distinct leaves, it can be easily identifiable.

“Starry False Lily of the Valley”

This species is also called  Maianthemum stellatum and is found in the Ruscaceae family and is native to California. Despite looking like a lily, this plant has white flowers with 6 petals and has a raceme inflorescence. It’s fruit can range from maroon to black in color and has a 3 chambered ovary. The leaves are also parallel venation with an elliptic shape. It is mostly found in moist areas ear streams or on slopes.

“California Goldbanner”

Though this plant resembles a Scotch Broom, it is a different Fabaceae species called Thermopsis californica.  The leaves are generall compound into 3 parts and are hairy. It is a small herb with yellow flowers with a banner. There are generally 2-5 flowers per node and the fruit are straight. It can be easily identifiable to family due to it’s similar appearance to a French or Scotch Broom. 





We left the USF campus at approximately 12:45PM to Carson Falls and arrived at approximately 1:30PM. However, it did take longer to head back to campus due to traffic across the Golden Gate Bridge. Though the weather was not particularly hot or cold, there was wind for a few minutes and was cool throughout the entire hike as we were in the forest area for  a good portion of the hike. Though slightly tiring because of the uphill portions, this hike was moderately difficult due to the mud. However, the waterfall at the top of the hike was breathtaking.

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