Where The Wildflowers Are: Southern California’s Springtime Surprise

Where The Wildflowers Are: Southern California’s Springtime Surprise

Southern California isn’t all beaches. Many of the counties in Southern California boast multiple microclimates which invite you to enjoy varieties in nature from the pine tree covered mountains, to the palm tree lined streets of beach towns, to the cactus scattered desert, to the flowing meadows, to the High Sierras. Each year after the rainy season, Southern California’s more distant nature explodes into a colorful delight of wildflowers. Wildflower season in Southern California is a main attraction for locals. Road trip opportunities are abundant to get into open spaces and witness the earth’s technicolor carpeting. Californians take their wildflower blooms so seriously there is even a Wildflower Hotline to tell you where the most blooms are. The season is just a few short weeks from the first appearance of flowers to the full explosion, to everything fading off with the onset of early summer temperatures. Witnessing the miracle of the seasons and the beauty of nature, along with the excellent social media content, is worth every mile you drive to get there. Where to go? Here are some of our favorites.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Reenact the scene from Wizard of Oz by taking a stroll through a field of California’s state flower: the poppy. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is not far from Orange County, just a drive to Lancaster. The park is a bursting contrast of bright orange poppies and purple lacy phacelia.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Down on the outskirts of San Diego County is the famous Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where Christopher McCandless, of Into The Wild spent some of his time before his epic, but fatal, trek through the Alaskan wilderness. Full of beautiful mountains, fun off-roading trails, and a hidden slot canyon, this park boasts a beautiful display of white, purple, and yellow wildflowers every year. When Southern California has been given the gift of a hefty rain season, Anza can produce a “Super Bloom” and it is a sight to behold.

Carrizo Plain National Monument

The hills are absolutely alive at Carrizo Plain National Monument in Santa Margarita. Picturesque mountains painted with yellow, white, and purple wildflowers will make you think you are walking through a piece of art. Challenging hikes into elevation will bring you the greatest rewards in the wildflowers. Make your move quickly from the end of March into April. Wildflowers here won’t last for long.

Death Valley National Park

It usually only takes a Super Bloom to get the US’s lowest elevation point to produce any flowers. Getting to Death Valley is a trek, but checking off a National Park from your list is worth it. If the park is blooming, it is an unreal sight. Full of bright yellow flowers, the sharp contrast to the desolate desert is amazing. While there, take a drive through the painted valley, visit the salt flats, and see if you can catch the sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa.

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