Mount Sutro: Current Conditions in the Cloud Forest

Sunday evening, we were  in the forest. We started at Stanyan x 17th, going up the (Stanyan) “Kill-trees Trail.”


It’s been very foggy in the last few weeks, and you can see the effect of the Cloud Forest. The tall trees precipitate moisture from the fog, and the forest patters with internal rain in many places. The trees look mysterious and ethereal.

The rain also saturates the trails, many of which are now deeply slushy. Some mountain-bikers have ridden through some of the bad spots, and further churned up the mud. On the route we took, the Kill-trees trail was quite dry, even dusty. Once we crossed Medical Center Way onto the North Ridge Trail, it grew wetter, and the middle of the route was like walking through a mire: muddy (and slippery). The Native Garden was quite dry, as it usually is, and anyway its paths are graveled.

We avoided the South Ridge Trail; we were there a couple of days ago, and some areas are very squishy. Instead, we took the paved Nike Rd down to the Aldea campus, and then the Fairy Gates Trail. The entrance to the Fairy Gates trail is a grassy patch in front of the Chancellor’s house, which leads into an amazing tree tunnel where trees completely cover the path, forming a dark archway. That was wet, but once we’d passed the Fairy Gates (a pair of standing rocks), the trail dried out, and by the time it connected to the Kill-Trees Trail to complete the loop, it was actually dusty again.


You can’t miss the nasturtiums, their brilliant orange color luminescent in the fog. They’re blooming all along the Fairy Gates trail, and just below Medical Center Way.

Here and there, some wild cherries have fallen near the trail. A few blackberries are apparent.

We also saw pale pink Passion Flowers, and some interesting fungi.

In the native garden, a few flowers are still blooming in the “meadow” sections old and new — some California poppies (we presume they’re the right ones) and some hairy gumplants.


Along the Stanyan Trail, we saw a number of trees splashed with orange paint and/or tied with pink tape. We suspect these are marked for destruction, adding to the toll of downed trees on the “Kill Trees Trail.”

Though we really like the trail giving forest access from Stanyan, we’ve been saddened by the huge gaps in the canopy, the trees felled, the decimation of the understory and the much-reduced bird-sounds.

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1 Response to Mount Sutro: Current Conditions in the Cloud Forest

  1. John Furman says:

    Very nice report, reminding me of how lucky we are to have this forest in our backyard.
    –John Furman

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