Calflora Home GREAT PLACES
Lightning Ridge Nature Trail
KEYWORDS:   San Gabriel Mts, great views, high elevation, montane mixed forest, montane wildflowers, short trail
A nature trail was created at Lightning Ridge because there is a great variety of species on a short trail. The trailhead at Blue Ridge summit (7,360') (Inspiration Point) is the highest nature trail in the area on the Angeles Crest Highway. This is one of the most species-rich trails in the area, because the trail is at the divide between the desert and coast side of the San Gabriel Mountains in the High Country and perhaps due to the profusion of annuals seen after a fire. The trail offers wonderful vistas of the desert with its dry lakes, distant peaks, and mountain canyons, some of which can be enjoyed from two very-well-placed benches.

The printed guide to the numbered landmark posts, some of which are missing, is sometimes available near the trailhead. Botanical highlights of this trail include: Wind-pruned trees - statuesque Jeffrey pines that have branches only on the side protected from the biting wind here. These trees show the direction and constancy of the cool moist wind being sucked up the canyon by the void left in the atmosphere by the rising hot air on the desert side of the mountains. Rock gardens with brightly colored lichens and flowers growing out of the crevices. The moisture brought by the up-canyon winds keeps the lichen wet enough to grow here.

A forest of black oak, a forest for all seasons: cool and green in the summer, golden in the fall, black silhouettes in the winter and pink new growth in the spring. Buckwheat Hill, a rocky slope nearly covered with beautiful matted buckwheats. An ongoing lesson in plant succession after a major fire. The area burned in 1998, and it still contains some of the species that dominate after a fire. The burn may account for the excellent wildflower display here.

DIRECTIONS:   Directions to Lightning Ridge Nature Trail from Wrightwood:
From Wrightwood, take Hwy 2 westbound, past Big Pines, up to Inspiration Point. The trail head is located on the north side of Hwy 2, by the restroom in the north parking area of Inspiration Point.

  • Restrooms, large parking area.

    The Lightning Ridge Nature Trail is located west of Wrightwood at Inspiration Point (Blue Ridge Summit) on State Highway 2. The Lightning Ridge Nature Trail loops around the north side of Inspiration Point and offers views of the Antelope Valley and High Desert. The hike is simple but gives breathtaking views.

    Display a National Forest Adventure Pass in the windshield of your vehicle.

    Not too much mountain driving.

    Nearby Wrightwood provides good picnic lunches at Jensens and the bakery.

  • TRAILS:   Intersects PCT (Pacific Crest Trail)

    MORE INFORMATION AND CONTACTS Plant Guide to Lightning Ridge Nature Trail
    see descriptions above
    CNPS San Gabriel Mountains Chapter: Lightning Ridge and Vicinity
    The Lightning Ridge trail passes through a delightful black oak woodland, and ends higher up on Lightning Ridge, where it joins the Pacific Crest Trail.
    CNPS CHAPTER AREA: :   San Gabriel Mountains

    AREA OF THE POLYGON::   1,011 acres
    DENSITY::   0.486 native species per acre
    Thanks to  Jane Strong  for contributing this great place.