The saying goes April showers brings May flowers but this year, the winter storms gave Southern California a jump start on spring and bloomy rewards everywhere you look. Wiffs of wildflowers and highway sides covered in color are available in nearly every nook and cranny. As a Texan-turned-tropics girl, I’ve never experienced changes in seasons quite like this and it has never been more clear to me than this year the beauty nature can create. To my biggest surprise, the best gifts so far have been unexpectedly pushing through the clayed soils of the desert floor.
With a few weeks remaining of super bloom madness, we’ve put together a mini guide to help you get outside the grind + within reach of this wildflower invasion. Grab your camera, a few friends + go get your fix on these fields layered in colors before they’re gone. Before you head out, make sure to review + remember the Leave No Trace principles to do your part in preserving + keeping the wild beautiful and available for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We headed out two separate times to two different locations searching for florals. Around an hour drive south-east of San Diego, will land you in Borrego Springs with plenty of options to plant your peepers on a variety of yellow, pink and purple blooms. We spent some time in Slot Canyon + crusin down the roads toward box canyon stopping to get a closer look at the mix of desert vegetation all along the way. Our friends at Shoestring Adventures put together a great weekend guide. Check it out for more details on specific locations if you’re looking for a particular plant or, if you’re like us, just hop in your car and see what you’ll discover.
If you don’t have much time to spend driving and would rather get your fix surrounded by salty sea air verses sand, take an easy stroll down the trail at my favorite neighborhood beach break, Beacon’s Beach. The hills are layered right now and the sweet smells of pollen somehow work just right with the fresh salty air. This is a perfect place if you live in Encinitas or if you’re just looking for a coastal combo of waves + wildflowers.
California sunflowers, wild sweet peas and wild hyacinth grow in bright patches in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, which stretches seven miles through inland San Diego. Recent rains have amplified the year-round stream; hike out soon to see the waterfall in peak season.
(submitted by Kate Néve)
If blankets of orangesicled dreams is what you’re craving, Walker Canyon will fill your fix. You don’t even have to stop to get off the highway to witness this California magic carpet, but if you do, Nobody Hikes in LA put together some tips to get you there. If you choose to stroll through the fields to get a closer look, respect the space and don’t trample or pick the poppies, please.
California desert poppies or gold poppies (yellow), Chia (deep spiky purple), Brown-eyed desert primrose (white), and Phacelias (long and chunky purple flowers) can be found here. Lining Cottonwood Springs Road are gold poppies and desert primrose perfectly paired with ribbons of bright purple phacelias and patches of deep purple chia. You wouldn’t even see the park’s visitor center for about 6 to 7 miles of roadside wildflower stretches. These beauties have been in bloom since late February given that this area of the park is at a lower elevation. There are plenty of spots to park safely on the side of the road. Wandering and documenting is encouraged, picking is prohibited.
(submitted by Gabaccia)
Spring looks good on this new found favorite neighborhood trail. Overgrowth of vegetation lines the trails from all directions with a variety of greens, whites, purples and yellows. Your senses will go crazy from the smells + views. This trail is fun + approachable and friendly for two or four-legged friends alike. You can tackle the entire loop in under an hour if you’re quick or in a couple if you like to take it all in. With or without the super bloom’s effects, add this trail to your to do list as the views are a sight to see all year long.
A little less than two hours from downtown LA, you’ll find Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Blankets of this native Calfornia wildflower lining the parks floor. It’s said that you can see many other flowers such as goldfields, lupine, and lacy phacelia are also creating a mosaic of color that changes daily, but these have seemed to be the one’s stealing the show right now. Make sure to stick to the trail to not step on, crush or pick to help minimize the disrupting their habitat.