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Where to See California's Super Blooms
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Where to See California's Super Blooms

Wondering where to experience the most eye-catching wildflower blooms in California? Feast your eyes on these vibrant areas in California.

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7 min read

June 03, 2021

Ever thought to stop and smell the flowers? California’s super blooms are the ideal colorful displays to enjoy the wonders of nature. Observe mountain ranges transforming into surreal orange canvases—floral brushstrokes of yellow, green, and purple paint the landscapes and illuminate the panoramas. You’ll discover that the hot orange of the poppies in contrast to the browns of desert bushes yields a blissful sight to see. Pair that with the dramatic blue of the clear skies above and you got yourself a pretty paradise. 

Wondering where to experience the most eye-catching wildflower blooms in California? Feast your eyes on these vibrant areas in the Golden State.

The California Poppy Super Blooms You Won’t Want to Miss 

What’s more beautiful than Murrieta’s verdant rolling hills? A fresh rainbow-pop of color; thank you dazzling bloom of California poppies.

Murrieta

Is there anything more stunning than Murrietta’s palm tree-lined streets and spectacular sunny weather? How about a fresh rainbow pop of color brought to you by the dazzling bloom of wildflowers?

That’s what you can expect when spring arrives in Murrietta. Rainfall, cool winds, and local ecology come together to put on a colorful show for all to see. Evening primrose, verbenas, poppies, desert lilies, and plenty of other colorful wildflowers provide a front-row seat to nature’s splendor.

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To view the wildflowers in full bloom, the best time to visit Murrietta is in late March (April and May are also okay). It’s during these months that the flowers are especially fresh and vibrant—you’ll see them dancing in the sun all spring long.

Once in a blue moon, you may encounter a California poppy super bloom in Joshua Tree National Park. Unfortunately, the super bloom is short-lived.

Joshua Tree National Park 

Wildflowers in Joshua Tree are one of the park’s most beautiful sights. During each spring—given the right conditions—this national park explodes in a burst of color as the super bloom season in California begins. Reds, yellows, purples, and blues splash across the majestic Joshua Tree desert landscape, adding a magical feel to the park. What most people don’t expect to find in the desert park is the orange California poppy.

Delicate and ephemeral, California poppy super blooms don’t last very long here. These stunning wildflowers only bloom for a few weeks before wilting away in the summer heat. Given the harsh nature of the desert, the blooms appear only when conditions are favorable for their survival. After rainy winters, wildflowers at the state park flourish for a few weeks in spring—just long enough to produce seeds for the next generation. Seeds then bloom into breathtaking hedgehog cactus, sand verbena, purple mat, ocotillo, and sand blazing star.

Northern California Wildflower Blooms

Calero County Park

As Santa Clara County’s most diverse regional park and recreation area, Calero doesn’t disappoint when it comes to super blooms in Northern California. The county park is a local favorite thanks to its 18.9 miles of trails found in the backcountry section of the park. If you visit in late March, you’ll see an explosion of color—California gilia, narrowleaf flaxflower, and smooth cat’s ear brighten the trails and paths in Calero County Park. Stroll along the grassy hilltops and soak in the views of the colorful wildflowers while hiking the Javelina Loop Trail at the park.

California saxifrage is a common sight in Briones Regional Park. These flowering plants pop up while hiking any of the trails here.

Briones Regional Park

More than 2,000 species of wildflowers grow in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. Visit Briones Regional Park during springtime; vibrant hues of red, yellow, and bright purple will greet you along the way. The park boasts some of the best East Bay hiking trails featuring the most kaleidoscopic wildflowers in the region. When visiting in spring, you’ll find this area dotted with Himalayan blackberry, California saxifrage, brass buttons, yellow Jonny-tuck, red-stem filaree, baby blue-eyes, and arroyo lupine. If you’ve been meaning to find the best place to view wildflowers, this is it. 

Super Blooms in the Bay Area

Established in 1962, Alameda County's Sunol Regional Wilderness was originally inhabited by Native Americans.

Sunol Regional Wilderness 

The spectacular 6,580-acre Sunol Regional Wilderness never falls short when it comes to super blooms in the Bay Area. You can hike for hours in multiple spots and end up seeing tons of different varieties. The park has more than 30 trails that lead to flower fields of seaside heliotrope, California buckeye, Western Virgin’s bower, and cow parsnip. For yellow and red varieties, keep an eye out for native annuals like Lindley’s blazing star, common fiddleneck, rattlesnake weed, California lotus, and mountain garland.

But perhaps the most impressive thing you’ll see at the Sunol Regional Wilderness is the blue and purple California wildflowers. Concentrations of royal larkspurs, dove lupines, Persian speedwells, and blue fiesta flowers—these color combinations will take your breath away.

California poppies, daffodils, dove lupine, and dozens of other varieties of wildflowers dot Mount Diablo State Park.

Mount Diablo State Park

Over 400 species of California wildflowers bloom at Mount Diablo State Park in February, resulting in the best photo ops you can find in the Bay Area. No matter which trail you’re hiking—Mitchell Canyon, Waterfalls of Mount Diablo Loop, or Mary Bowerman Interpretive Trail—you’ll find yourself engulfed in a sea of super blooms.

Marvel at Bermuda buttercups, California barberries, checker lilies, and yellow oxalis as you explore the depth of the state park. You’ll also come across bush anemones, butterfly tulips, chaparral peas, crimson clovers, and arroyo lupine. You don’t even have to download a California wildflower identification app for this state park— the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association has a comprehensive guide to help you better understand the flora.

Southern California Super Blooms

Thousands of visitors come to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park each year to enjoy unique and captivating desert wildflowers in bloom.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park

It goes without saying that most sensational displays of wildflowers in the Golden State are found in the desert. So, if you're searching for a Borrego Springs super bloom, look no further than this desert state park.

A chart-topper among stargazing destinations, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is home to some weird desert art, undulating vistas, and mind-blowing super blooms. Every summer, the landscape becomes electrified with colors, as wildflowers, cacti, and lush bushes come into bloom.

Hike the Cactus Loop, Hellhole Canyon, and the Borrego Palm Canyon Trails to witness unmatched floral displays. Desert marigolds, Bigelow’s monkeyflowers, lupines, and desert dandelions—you’ll find Southern California's super blooms in all their striking glory. You might even spot desert apricots and sand verbena. No matter which wildflower you stumble upon, one thing’s for sure, this state park is bound to leave you with a lasting impression

Perhaps the best place to catch the poppy super bloom season in Orange County is at Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore.

Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore 

Drive an hour from L.A. to Lake Elsinore to see an unbelievably epic bloom at Walker Canyon. The orange poppy-covered mountains result in a spectacular scene that you can’t help but fall in love with. Just about everything—including freeway dividers and shoulders—is filled with patches of orange poppies, bright purple ice plant flowers, and yellow hillside daisies. When you want to see super blooms near San Diego, head to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore and prepare to feast your eyes on that first glimpse of fiery orange.

Super Blooms near Los Angeles 

The California poppy's intense blooming season usually falls between late winter and early spring at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Does a place like Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve even need an introduction? The stunning state-protected reserve is basically a shrine to California poppies, the official flower of the Golden State. Come here in late winter or early spring to see the California poppy's super bloom, which carpets the area in kaleidoscopic hues.

While this naturally occurring California reserve is the most persistent poppy-bearing land in the state, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other wildflowers don’t grow here. Catch a glimpse of owl’s clover, lupine, cream cups, coreopsis, and colorful goldfield while taking a walk among the super blooms in Los Angeles. It’s easy to satisfy all of your interests at this state park.

The giant coreopsis is the showiest wildflower in Southern California, and the most intense super blooms are found at Point Dume.

Point Dume Natural Preserve

While many people visit Point Dume for its white sand beaches, it’s the super blooms in Los Angeles that make us want to go there. Blankets of coreopsis, bush flowers, and California poppies carpet the headlands each spring. Yellow tickseeds line the trails at Point Dume, reminding you of the yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz.

Spectacular vistas of the Pacific are always the bonus at Point Dume—coastal hikes are worth the trek, even if they’re uphill. Keep an eye out for sand verbenas, morning glory, and evening primrose. 

Chino Hills State Park 

The most impressive Southern California super blooms are found in Chino Hills State Park—that’s just a fact. Much like Antelope Valley, this area hits you with poppy fields that look like visions straight out of a dream. The poppy season typically lasts from February to September, so March is the perfect time to marvel at orange-gold beauties. 

Besides California poppies, you’ll most likely spot violet owl clovers, silver lupines, and bush sunflowers. Not every state park can stir up emotions with its beauty, but Chino Hills manages to do that again and again.

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