Super bloom in Southern California: where and when you can see the best wildflowers - ForumDaily
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Southern California Super Bloom: Where and When to See the Best Wildflowers

Spring is almost here, which means the Southern California wildflowers are about to arrive, and given the rainy winter, we can hope for an impressive sight. Time-out.

Photo: IStock

Whether you're looking to go on one of the best hikes in Los Angeles to see colorful flowers, or even go on a day trip to see desert flora, there are plenty of options in Southern California.

After the unforgettably wet (and snowy) winter storms of February, we're seeing a super bloom again this March. Many trails are still quite wet or completely closed. But all that recent rain is boding well for now, until the early spring heat robs us of any chance of a super bloom.

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Please be responsible when visiting the following months - stay on marked trails and do not trample on flowers.

1. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

A particularly wet winter of 2016-2017 brought a super bloom to the Anza-Borrego desert, but this year we are seeing something even more unusual: a bloom in the middle of winter. As of early March, you can find patches of flowers at the north end of the park at Henderson Canyon Road, at the entrance to Coyote Canyon and Cactus Loop Trail at Mamarisk Grove, and at the south end at June Wash and Vallecito Wash.

In a typical year, you can expect to see poppies, phacelia and lots of tiny flowers. As for where to see them, Henderson Canyon is the easiest to get to, although each canyon, such as Borrego Palm Canyon and Coyote Canyon, offers different options (visit Web sitefor route information during the season).

2.Point Dume

Take a hike to the top of the legendary Malibu Cliff and you'll find clumps of giant coreopsis that change color from dusty green to bright yellow every winter and spring (as of early March, the hilltop is mottled with vibrant colors). You'll find very limited parking on Cliffside Drive, between Birdview Avenue and Dume Drive, but you can take a stroll up the flowering cliff from the sandy beach below.

3. Palos Verdes Peninsula

On the Palos Verdes Peninsula, wildflowers bloom all year round due to its coastal location, but like most places in Southern California, March and April are peak months. In the summer, you'll see soft white-flowered buckwheat, cacti, native spurge, rocky and California asters. In the spring, head to any of the local nature reserves - Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, Linden H. Chandler Preserve, George F. Canyon, and White Point Nature Preserve - to try and catch the bloom. For years when wildflowers don't bloom as brightly, consider manicured displays in South coast botanic garden.

4. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Poppies are beautiful when they cover the slopes of the desert with orange flowers. But poppies are also fickle: if there is too much rain, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve can only expect a moderate poppy season. Too dry? There won't be much bloom either (but you can still see some other wildflowers).

Peak poppy season is usually between March and mid-April - a short window if you want to catch the bloom in full swing. Check inpark website, to find out about the latest bloom status (or tune in live BROADCAST, which as of early March looks like a green but not yet blooming hillside).

5 Point Mugu State Park

The Santa Monica Mountains are home to about 900 native plants, so you're sure to find small patches of wildflowers on any trail in the area. However, if you're looking for the best angle for a spectacular spectacle (you'll only find small splashes of color so far), head to Point Mugu State Park and Rancho Sierra Vista, both of which are on the western end of the range. Try the Chumash Trail. It starts at PCH and is a steep climb where chocolate lilies and hylias are known to grow along the ridge. Or start on the north side, at Rancho Sierra Vista near Thousand Oaks, where you can hike the rolling hills looking for wildflowers in the shade of Boney Mountain.

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6. Malibu Creek State Park

Although the landscape has changed significantly since the devastating Woolsey fire, Malibu Creek State Park has shown significant signs of recovery since 2018. However, it is still a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year.

7 Carrizo Plain

These vast grasslands in southeastern San Luis Obispo County may extend beyond what we typically think of as Southern California, but the three-hour drive is often worth it afterward. Make no mistake: on most days, you'll find a dry, dry lake bed in the center of this national monument. But when conditions are just right - as they were in 2017 - the hillsides turn into carpets of daisies, gold mines and other yellow, orange and purple flora. As of early March, the hills are looking quite green with some nice pops of color, but nothing as spectacular as 2017 so far.

8.Death Valley National Park

Photo: IStock

After a rainy winter, you can find this iconic desert environment dotted with mallow, desert sunflower, desert sand verbena, evening primrose, and more. If you don't want to make the five hour or so hike there without knowing what you might see, we suggest checking out online report about wild flowers to make sure the hike is worth your time and where to go to find the best flora. The park is not expecting a super bloom in 2023.

9. Idyllwild Nature Center

Due to recent snowfall, Idyllwild Nature Center is currently closed to vehicular traffic.

Nestled in the San Jacintos Mountains, the wildflowers are so important here that an entire festival takes place around them. The Idyllwild Wildflower and Art Show usually starts just in time for the region's peak wild flower season (which comes much later in the season). So if you go at the end of May, you will find many types of flora, including western azaleas, various types of lupins, leaf and alpine asters, and various types of penstemons. If you want to go hiking to see the flowers, try the Summit Trail from the nature center to the county park meadow, and then return along the Perimeter trail.

10 Chino Hills State Park

Since early March, all trails, with the exception of the paved Bain Canyon road, have been temporarily closed due to recent rain.

Chino Hills may not reach the status of a full blown super bloom park, but the state park looks a lot like The Shire from Lord of the Rings after a wet winter. A few very small spots of poppies line some of the trails above the green hills, with small yellow and purple spots, and snow-capped mountains are visible in the distance. Follow the lonely park road and just before it turns to its end point, you will find a parking lot where Bane Canyon Road becomes Telegraph Canyon Road. Follow signs for Bane Ridge Trail and you will see poppies in 10 minutes. You will need to pay for parking ($10 per day or $3 per hour), although there is free parking in a residential area at the entrance, but from there you have to walk two to three kilometers along a road without shade.

11. Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore (CLOSED)

Marked by traffic nightmares, short-term closures and crowded thousands of visitors, Walker Canyon on Lake Elsinore became a superbloom sensation in 2019. The hillside trail was covered in stunningly beautiful carpets of poppies and other bright colors - with lines like Disneyland.

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Some of the first poppies started appearing in Walker Canyon in early February, but the city on Lake Elsinore really doesn't want you to come visit: both public and private lands are off-limits to the public for the duration of the bloom. Walker Canyon Road is closed to vehicular traffic and there are no parking signs up and down adjacent Lake Street and Temescal Canyon Road. In any case, the city does not expect this year's bloom to match the 2019 color.

You think there's certainly another way, but be prepared to get stranded on unmaintained back roads if you try to go there. If you're just looking for a floral backdrop in this general direction, consider taking a trip to the flower fields in Carlsbad.

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