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Figueroa Mountain Road
In the San Rafael Mountains, Los Padres National Forest, California

Figueroa Mountain is well known to botanists and those who seek for spring-time wildflowers. A road leads through fields and vineyards to the foot of the San Rafael Mountains, where it abruptly begins an ascent that continues to 4,534 feet (1,382 meters). The lower slopes of the mountain are protected in several reserves, the upper parts are in Los Padres National Forest.

The mountain's botanical fame is partly based on biodiversity, due to its range of altitudes and several outcrops of serpentinite. But it is perhaps more appreciated for the reliable mass displays of common species such as California poppies, goldfields, and sky lupines. The poppies in particular, mostly on adjacent Grass Mountain, form such large and brilliant stands that they attract attention from motorists on Highway 101 - more than 10 miles (16 km) away!

Wikipedia: Figueroa Mountain

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Figueroa Mountain Road in the San Rafael Mountains

Figueroa Mountain Road in the San Rafael Mountains

The last of the brilliant springtime flowers in the Figueroa Mountain area can be seen across the canyon on Grass Mountain. The road here cuts through an outcrop of bluish serpentinite.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Serpentinite on Figueroa Mountain Road

Serpentinite on Figueroa Mountain Road

Infertile soils and bare serpentinite outcrops occur along Figueroa Mountain Road, adding to the diversity of habitat types. California poppies form an orange patch near the summit of pyramidal Grass Mountain.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Figueroa Mountain and Zaca Ridge

Figueroa Mountain and Zaca Ridge

A few patches of springtime color remain high on Figueroa Mountain and across the canyon on Zaca Ridge.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Figuero Mountain area vegetation mosaic

Figuero Mountain area vegetation mosaic

A classic California vegetation mosaic of grassland, chaparral, woodlands and forest. Much of the area along Figueroa Mountain Road is protected in land trusts and preserves, as well as US Forest Service at the higher elevations.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Poppies and lupines in a burn area

Poppies and lupines in a burn area

California poppies and bush lupines thrive in a recently burned forest on the south side of Figueroa Mountain.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Golden poppies and blue lupines on Figueroa Mountain Road

Golden poppies and blue lupines on Figueroa Mountain Road

A dramatic display of California poppies flanked by blue bush lupines high on Figueroa Mountain Road.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Poppies and lupines on Figueroa Mountain

Poppies and lupines on Figueroa Mountain

The best of the late blooms on Figueroa Mountain, somewhat trampled by admirers. A month earlier the peak bloom on nearby Grass Mountain was a hundred times this large.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

California poppies and lupines

California poppies and lupines

A short steep hike above Figueroa Mountain Road I found hillsides of untrampled California poppies and blue bush lupines.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

Figueroa Mountain wildflowers at their best

Figueroa Mountain wildflowers at their best

A short distance from the main road there was a wonderful display of spring wildflowers, mostly California golden poppies and blue bush lupines. Figueroa Mountain Road is famous for such mass blooms in years with enough winter rainfall.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Padres National Forest, California

Date photographed: April 14, 2016

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