Every year I see people posting photos of spring blooms, I tell myself we’re going to go see them too. But every year, we plan too late, and they’ve already come and gone. I’m not much of a flower kind of girl (Jacob knows I will take food or booze over flowers any day), but there’s something I love about a whole field of flowers! If they were bugless, I could hang out in them all day.
This year has been the perfect storm for the superbloom in southern California. Since I’m already obsessed with making daily lists for myself, I decided the best way to get myself to go is to come up with a list of places I want to go see them.
Timing is key with the superbloom, and the low desert is already seeing blooms right now (early March) and it’s predicted to last in the high desert until June. Don’t miss your chance to see them!
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Last Updated: March 12, 2020
When & Where to See Flower Fields in Southern California
Trailhead Coordinates: 33.732593, -117.393808, map
What: California Poppy and OthersSeason: Feb to AprilHours: Sunrise to Sunset
17495 Soda Lake Rd, Santa Margarita, 93453, map
What: Goldfields, California Poppy, etc but differs year-to-year based on conditionsSeason: Feb to MayHours: Sunrise to Sunset
5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, 92008, map
What: Tecolote Giant Ranunculus (also is known as a Persian Buttercup or Ranunculus Asiatic)Season: Changes Yearly. Mar 1st – May 8th, 2016Hours: 9AM to 6PM
We made an exception for the Flower Fields. These aren’t wildflowers, but it’s a sight you can’t miss.
15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, 93536, map
What: Various Poppies (Primarily California Poppy)Season: Late February to May, Check site for Bloom StatusHours: Sunrise to Sunset
652 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, 92004, map
What: Parish’s Poppy, Hairy Desert-Sunflower, Desert Lily, Sand Verbena, Dune Evening Primrose, Indigo Bush, and other various wildflowersSeason: Feb to AprHours: Sunrise to Sunset
When we visited, the caterpillars were eating through a whole field of them each day. They disappeared so fast that we had to look for small patches in Borrego Springs outside the park.
Where to Stay: La Casa del Zorro Resort and Spa, Borrego Springs (mid-range)
Coordinates: 34.73486, -119.98585, map
What: California Poppy and Sky LupineSeason: Feb to AprilHours: Sunrise to Sunset
Coordinates: 34.79264, -118.846951, map
What: California Poppy, California Tickseeds, Bentham Lupine, Bluehead Gilias, and Lacy PhaceliasSeason: Feb to MayHours: Sunrise to Sunset
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn (mid-range, 17 mi away)
Photo: Anita Gould
Coordinates: 35.250187, -120.895203, map
What: California PoppySeason: Feb to AprilHours: Sunrise to Sunset
18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 92651, map
What: Hyacinth, Morning Glories, Popcorn Flowers, and Southern SuncupsSeason: Feb to AprHours: Sunrise to Sunset
Coordinates: 35.46434, -120.33701, map
What: Goldfields, Coastal Tidy Tip, Baby Blue Eyes, and California PoppySeason: Feb to AprilHours: Sunrise to Sunset
Coordinates: 33.938204, -115.965612, map
What: Mojave Poppy, Canterbury Bells, Desert Dandelion, and moreSeason: March – April, Changes YearlyHours: 24/7 Year RoundAddress: 12460 Keys Creek Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082
We found the largest concentration of Mojave poppies in Wilson Canyon. The bluebells and lupines were found in Cottonwood Visitor Center area. It looks like the blooms are slowly going north now.
Where to Stay: Most Popular Airbnbs in Joshua Tree
12460 Keys Creek Rd, Valley Center 92082, map
What: LavenderSeason: May and Jun, Changes YearlyHours: Wed through Sun 10am-3pm, July through April by reservation only
271 Highway 190, Death Valley, 92328, map
What: Desert Star, Blazing Star, Desert Gold, Mimulus, Encelia, Poppies, Verbena, Evening Primrose, Phacelia, and more.Season: Feb to April (Lower Elevations), April to May (3000-5000 ft elevations), May to July (5000 to 11000 ft elevation.Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Photo: Beau Rogers
More Wildflower Hot Spots in California
Chino Hills State ParkCoachella Valley PreserveDiamond Valley LakeIdyllwild Nature CenterMontana de Oro State Park, San Luis Obispo CountyBig Morongo Canyon PreserveMalibu Creek State Park Mojave National PreserveMuir WoodsNorth Table Ecological Reserve (Feb – Apr)Palos Verdes Peninsula (Mar – Apr)Pinnacles National ParkPoint Mugu State ParkRed Rock Canyon State ParkValley of the Oaks (Mar – Apr)Hite Cove Trail, Northern California (Mar – May)
Essential Tips for Visiting and Photographing the Super Bloom
Photo Tip – There are ways to photograph yourself “in” the flowers without going off trail. Shoot with a long lens and at a low vantage point. That will bring the distance of the flowers and you closer together and will also hide the trails.When you see people post about the super bloom, go ASAP. We saw entire fields disappear in a couple days because they’re being eaten by caterpillars. Did you know they eat 200 times their weight in flowers and leaves?Please respect the flowers so that others can enjoy them too.See wildflower updates on Desert USA. Other sites haven’t been as accurate and left us disappointed. Make sure you pay attention to posting dates and visitation dates since they may differ. You can also see who’s posting recently on #superbloom. I usually look in the captions or ask when they visited, since a lot of them could be latergrams.
What to Pack for Your Visit
Where to Stay in Southern California
DID YOU MISS THE Spring Bloom SEASON in California?
If you miss the flowers in SoCal head up to the PNW. The flowers bloom later there. Check out the best hikes to see Pacific Northwest Wildflowers.
I’ve always wondered by definition what qualifies as a wildflower (I mean… aside from the genetically modified ones… didn’t all flowers come from the wild?) Maybe you already know this, but in case you were wondering, I finally looked it up after all these years. ha! It’s simply a flower that grows without any care or nurturing. However, if you take that same flower and plant it in your garden, then it no longer is a wildflower if you intend to keep it alive longer than its natural lifespan (florists / botanists, does that sound about right?).
Do you have any favorite flowers? Have you been to any of these spots? Out of these places, where would you be most interested in visiting?
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WANT TO SEE MORE FLOWER DESTINATIONS?
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.
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