California’s magnificent superbloom is beginning to fade out, but you still have some time to catch the breathtaking spectacle before it’s all gone.
Each week through May, the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants updates the Wild Flower Hotline to notify visitors of the best places throughout Southern California to check out spring flowers.
In its latest report on Friday, the Foundation warned that many spots are starting to see a downturn in the bloom as the season comes to an end.
“Short heat waves are alternating with short cooling periods (and) developing into a late spring weather pattern,” the Foundation wrote. “Wildflowers at lower elevations are losing their bloom, so you should get out to see them in the next week or so.”
Here’s a look at all the spots that still have pretty blooms for everyone to enjoy, according to the Foundation:
The massive, visible-from-space bloom at this San Luis Obispo County hotspot has probably already passed its peak, but according to the Foundation there is still time to take in the majesty.
The north areas of Carrizo Plain National Monument along 7 Mile Road “are flush with hillside daisies,” according to the group, while over on the alkali flats visitors will see beautiful stretches of Valley larkspur, dense carpets of goldfields and owl’s clover.
On Soda Lake Road to the south of the lake, there’s thistle sage, desert dandelion, yellow pincushion and locoweed. For visitors with trucks or four-wheel drive, the ridge areas of the Temblor and Caliente ranges are also “wonderfully rich and floriferous now,” the group said.
Other blooms you might see include desert candles, San Joaquin mentzelia, phacelias, gilias, onions and stinkbells.
If you want to head further into the valley, the hills along Highway 198 near Lake Kaweah “are awash with the early bloom of bright yellow elegant madia, with blue islands of silver leaf lupine and fiesta flower floating in the yellow sea,” according to the Foundation.
Hidden among those blooms are pink tomcat clovers, pale yellow mountain pretty face, thin-lobed owl’s clover and caterpillar phacelia.
The Three Rivers and Salt Creek areas also offer “awesome hikes to view a variety of lovely flowers,” the group said.
Further to the south, the Santa Monica Mountains offer a large expanse filled with interesting blooms.
According to the Foundation, the Mishe Mokwa and Backbone trails outside of Thousand Oaks have a lot to offer intrepid flower explorers, including red-skinned onions, blue dicks, seep monkeyblowers, succulent lupine, caterpillar phacelia, fiesta flower, Pacific pea, Catalina mariposa lily, woolly blue curls, wide-throated yellow monkey flower, tomcat clover, Kellog’s snapdragon and more.
The trails in the Santa Monica mountains did sustain some storm damage over the rainy winter, so make sure to be aware when hiking in the area.
According to the Foundation, the “reviews are mixed regarding the quality of the poppy bloom” at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve outside of Lancaster.
Warm weather might help encourage the poppies to open and cover the area in a stretch of bright orange, the group.
Besides poppies, visitors can expect to see lupines, goldfields, fiddlenecks and more while walking around the reserve’s eight miles of trails.
The Foundation noted the poppies have “escaped” the reserve and spread to other wildflower fields throughout Antelope Valley.
You can find poppies near Elizabeth Lake, along with hillside daisy, goldfields, sky lupine and phacelia, according to the group.
The nearby Portal Ridge Wildlife Preserve also has Bigelow’s coreopsis, chia, Coulter’s jewel flower, Davy’s gilia and, of course, poppies.
The Placerita Canyon Nature Center near Santa Clarita has a “wonderful variety” of unique wildflowers, according to the Foundation.
Those include Fremont white star lily, sun cups, popcorn lowers, whispering bells, spotted eucrypta, silver puffs, common phacelia and chaparral gilia.
Pacific pea, cobweb thistle, scarlet bugler, purple nightshade, spiny lupine, yellow pincushion and the ever-present goldfields can also be spotted along the trails.
Though blooms in lower elevations are starting to disappear, those at colder, high elevations are just beginning to kick into high gear.
That’s evident at Anza Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County, where wildflower displays at higher elevations — such as along the Wilson Trail — are “quite satisfying” as flowers replace snow, the Foundation said.
“The plants sense that heat is coming, so they need to bloom now before they run out of moisture,” the Wild Flower Hotline report read.
The blooms here include bajada lupine, goldfields, hairy lotus, Wallace’s woolly sunflower, common phacelia, white tidy tips, California coreopsis, yellow pincushions, chia, cupped leaf ceanothus and interior goldenbush.
The Wilson trailhead is a bit difficult to access — it requires some careful driving over a “very rutted” dirt road — so other visitors may prefer to visit via the easier Jasper Trail Road from which they can walk to the Wilson Trail.
The Foundation said there is a full bloom of blue ceanothus visible when driving east from Highway 15, along Highway 76 from Fallbrook to Lake Henshaw in the Palomar Mountain area.
Goldfields, San Diego pea and stinging lupine can also be seen in this area.
Check out the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants’ Wild Flower Hotline by calling 818-768-1802, extension 7, or visiting theodorepayne.org/learn/wildflower-hotline.
This story was originally published April 29, 2023, 5:30 AM.