Wildflowers adorn California landscapes

Springtime can be missed in a blink; however those with open eyes won’t miss the orchestra of colors that carpet California hillsides, meadows and landscapes with wildflowers.  With thousands of varieties and numerous habitats, climates and terrain, the blooms are as varied and unique as California itself.

Destination Lancaster Credit www.AreYouThatWoman.com 88With most of the state experiencing an unusually wet winter, these “uncultivated  flowering plants” should be bountiful in coming months. Early spring (February–April) is the opportune time to view desert blooms. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a juxtaposition of rock formations with vivid blossoms amidst beaver tail cactus and white blooming Joshua trees and yuccas. Early spring trekkers will be treated  to desert candles, lilies and asters, wooly sunflowers and Indian paintbrush. The Coachella Valley Nature Preserve, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Death Valley National Park also showcase their share of seasonal color and are already flourishing.

To be immersed in true California color, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster in Los Angeles County consists of seven miles of trails through 1,745 acres of golden petals.

Wildflowers generally peak March through early June, however an abundant snow pack will extend the Sierra Nevada wildflower season into the summer months. For late spring through summer viewing, head to higher elevations. Fish Slough and Lake Sabrina in Bishop are popular viewing areas in the Eastern Sierra.

Pebble Plains-59When you think of wildflower viewing, do you ever imagine lying on your belly to see those colorful blooms? At Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve adjacent to Big Bear Lake come prepared to get horizontal. Often called belly plants, this unique variety of wildflowers are so small you may need to put your nose to the ground to see them.

San Mateo’s Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve in the San Francisco Bay Area flourishes with blue larkspurs and lupines, pink shooting stars, white fairy lanterns and red paintbrush. Marin’s Chimney Rock at Point Reyes National Seashore showcases yellow goldfields, blue irises, poppies and Point Reyes chocolate lilies. Other popular locations in the Bay Area include the Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve near Novato and Napa’s Missimer Snell Valley Wildflower Preserve, where onlookers can appreciate the vibrant hues from the road.

North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Butte County transforms into an endless sea of color and is one of the region’s premier viewing areas. The paths that lead you there (Highway 70, Cherokee Road), are equally spectacular. Many are con­vinced that the biggest wild­flower show in Butte Coun­ty is found north of Table Moun­tain at Chico’s Bid­well Park. 

Also in Butte County, Oroville’s North Ther­mal­i­to Fore­bay is easily reached. The paved path wrap­ping around Rat­tlesnake Hill is also wheel­chair acces­si­ble Paradis Lake Courtesty of Paradise Lake Recreation Districtallow­ing vis­i­tors to enjoy spring wild­flow­ers with ease. This 1.2-mile loop may be short but it includes one of the most photogenic spots in Butte Coun­ty — the Sut­ter Buttes ris­ing behind the North Forebay’s footbridge. What do you do when it starts to heat up in the Sacra­men­to Val­ley but you still want more wild­flow­ers? Head to the foothill region! Par­adise Lake keeps the bloom going into May and June with for­est favorites like lupine, bleed­ing heart, and flow­er­ing dog­wood trees. Pack a picnic and bring chairs to enjoy a respite at lake's edge.

Discover greater wildflower adventures at California State Parks and Jepson Prairie Preserve in Solano County.


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