California may be known for its sunshine, and, up until recently, it was also known for its severe drought. After years of abiding by strict water usage regulations, Southern California residents are finally being rewarded with a decent amount of rainfall. While we had to suffer a few weeks of avoiding bad drivers, we got more than we asked for out of the slight inconvenience: an abundance of beautiful Southern California wildflowers. These wildflowers are blooming all over the state, colorful hues bursting from even the rarest places.
Where are the best and most vibrant displays of botanical beauty you might ask? Look no further because we are about to break down our list of the top places to check out Southern California wildflowers this spring.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
Flowers are popping up all over Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. And while the reserve is only expecting a mild poppy turnout this spring, that doesn’t mean other flowers won’t be making an appearance. Goldfields, lupine, and lacy phacelia can also be found all throughout the reserve. Pay a visit on a week day to avoid long lines and crowds on weekends. Act fast, because this bloom is only expected to remain at its peak until the end of April.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is experiencing one of its best Super Blooms in over a decade. At the start of March, bright yellow flowers lined the desert landscape, an obscure sight in one of the driest places in San Diego/Imperial County. Take a drive along highway S2 and through the town of Borrego Springs to see the best display of wildflowers this park has experienced since 2005. Get here quick, as reports show the flower fields here are quickly disappearing with the warming weather.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
For years, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch have been a prime destination for flower-seekers. 50-acres of extravagantly colored Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers can be found by walking along a dirt trail or taking a tractor ride at this well-run ranch. The annual display of nature’s best is in full bloom right now, and will stay open until May 14, 2017. Act fast as April is usually the optimal time to view these flowers at their best.
Palm Springs Desert
Deserts are thought to be places that see little precipitation, the antithesis of a healthy environment for spring flowers, right? Wrong. The desert may be dry and warm, but this didn’t stop wildflowers like Spanish Needle, Purple Mat, and Desert Dandelion from appearing. This year’s Desert Bloom is turning out to be one of the best yet, with many areas experiencing plentiful growth. Flower fields north of town and along trails in western canyons are the best places to see the wildflowers. Check out Tahquitz Canyon, Chino Canyon, Indian Canyons, and Oswit Canyon for the most vibrant flower displays.
Death Valley National Park
It isn’t every year that Death Valley is graced with an abundance of wildflowers. Ideal weather conditions this winter brought about an ocean of purple, pink, and white flowers, growing and thriving in the middle of the desert. This year the seasonal seeds scattered across the desert retained enough rain to sprout and bloom for weeks on end. Despite a burgeoning growth of flowers here, you have to act fast as these flowers go back to seed form quickly amid the arid desert heat. As of the end of March, multiple blooms could been found in the Golden Meadow Valley on the drive to Ubehebe Crater and also when driving out of Death Valley NP.
Placerita Canyon Nature Center
Placerita Canyon features groves of oak trees, willows and a sycamore-lined seasonal stream in Santa Clarita. The ecology trail found near the nature center is a prime representation of spring right now with buckwheat, California lilac, wild peony, and yerba santa dotted along the trail. Check out the free “Blooms of the Season” wildflower walk every fourth Saturday of the month for an informational stroll past the best flowers in the area.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve on any day of the year is breathtaking. The Pacific Ocean is in plain view, the trails are easy to follow and traverse, and the temperature is usually cool. After a decent amount of rain, the wildflowers sprouting on the sides of most trails here only add to its overall allure. I’d recommend hiking the Beach Trail, a short 3-mile round trip trail that features impressive views of the local flora and ocean.
Mission Trails Regional Park
Mission Trails has long been a convenient place for San Diego hikers to fully enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors. There are miles of trails, multiple peaks to bag, and even rock faces ideal for climbing. Yet for much of the year, few flowers can be found anywhere in the 7,220-acre regional park. A little rain changed all that. Now more than ever visitors are in for a treat with plenty of blooms all throughout the park. For optimal flower viewing, check out the Oak Canyon Trail, a 3-mile round trip hike that will take you past the Old Mission Dam, waterfalls, and plenty of California Poppies.