California Travel Tips

Wildflowers are Now in Bloom – Go!

Published on: March 05, 2013


Wildflower Bloom Status, see National Parks free days to plan your free admission strategies.


It’s been a very dry winter again this year, but after the recent late rains, there appears to be a good number of poppy plants starting to germinate. As of early March they are very small, so their shallow young roots are vulnerable to freezes and heat waves. It looks like it will be a late season, so late April, early May MIGHT be the peak-they won’t know until it’s happening but that’s what happened last year after a similar winter. The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center, with displays about the wildflowers and animal life, an orientation video, an art gallery of Pinheiro’s watercolor paintings and a gift shop opens on Saturday March 16, 2013. The annual Lancaster Poppy Festival takes place on April 20-21, 2013.

POINT REYES SEASHORE – For wildflower enthusiasts, a trip to Point Reyes in the spring and summer is a must. Wildflowers bloom at the Seashore March through August, depending on many factors including the amount and frequency of rains. Colors range throughout the spectrum and across many sizes. They can be viewed in many habitats including woodlands, scrublands, grasslands, coastal bluffs, beach, dunes, disturbed areas, salt marsh edges. Abbotts Lagoon, Chimney Rock and Tomales Point are just a few of the locations where the flowers bloom early in the season.

PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK – The peak blooming season at Pinnacles is from March through May, when over 80% of the plants are in bloom. By March, bush poppies and buck brush are the dominant flowering shrubs, along with forbs such as California poppies, fiddleneck, peppergrass, filaree, fiesta flower, monkeyflower, and baby blue-eyes. In April, most of the March-blooming species are still blossoming, and such species as Johnny-jump-ups, virgin’s bower, gilia, suncups, chia, black sage, pitcher sage, larkspur, and bush lupine have joined the spectacular display.

DEATH VALLEY NP – Peak Blooming Periods for Death Valley are usually mid-February to mid-April in lower elevations on alluvial fans and foothills where Desert Gold, Golden Evening Primrose, Gravel Ghost, Bigelow Monkeyflower, and Desert Five-spot are prominent. Early April to Early May at 3000 to 5000 feet elevations look for Desert Dandelion, Brittlebush, Desert Paintbrush, Mojave Aster and Indigo Bush. Early May to mid-July at 5000 to 11,000 feet elevation Desert Mariposa, Purple Sage, Rose Sage, Panamint Penstemon, Magnificent and Inyo Lupine blossom.

LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK – Lassen Volcanic offers spectacular opportunities for wildflower viewing during the summer months.

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