Map: Where To See Southern California's Super Bloom This Weekend
After the wettest winter Los Angeles has seen in years, our normally arid and vacant deserts have transformed into lush and colorful floral utopias. According to NPR, the rain and manageable temperatures have allowed dormant seeds to bloom after decades of surviving the harsh desert environment. As a result, flowers and cacti and other indigenous plants are now blooming all across the region. The main draw is always the poppy, since it's California's state flower and provides the most striking visual of all the springtime blooms. The Antelope Valley usually steals the thunder every year, but don't limit yourself to this one area. There are countless locations all across Southern California where it's possible to bask in the somnambulant power of opiate flowers and funnel political anxiety into #superbloom Instagram photos. This is L.A., though, so expect lots of traffic going to and from any of these locations.
Here are the highlights:
ANTELOPE VALLEY POPPY RESERVE
About an hour and forty minutes from downtown L.A.
The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve has such a legendary status because of its consistency. Poppies fill the entire state park every spring, and eight miles of gentle hiking trails make it accessible to immerse yourself in the seasonal event's beauty. The California Parks Department protects the area and allows it to exist in its fully natural state, which creates for a reliably lush and picturesque experience. The reserve is 15 miles west of Lancaster and sits at a 2600-3000 ft. elevation. The DesertUSA wildflower report has confirmed the beginning of the bloom, with a full blanket of flowers likely to happen a little later than normal because of the late rainfall this winter.
The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is located 15 miles west of Lancaster at 15101 Lancaster Road.
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
A little over three hours from downtown L.A.
A bit further southeast than the Antelope Valley sits Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The expansive park hosts a wide variety of flowers, most of which are currently in full bloom. Lots of dune evening primrose, verbena, arizona lupine, and yellow desert dandelions are blooming at the end of DiGiorgio Road and Coyote Canyon, creating a rainbow of desert flowers. Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California so there are far more possible locations to see the super bloom. The park updates its site regularly with blooming locations and traffic information to help all visitors have as seamless an experience as possible.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located along highways S22 and 78 in Borrego Springs, CA.
POINT MUGU STATE PARK
About an hour and a half from downtown L.A.
If you don't have a full day to commit to driving hours away for the super bloom, head up to Malibu and visit Point Mugu. While it's not as large and diverse as some of the other state parks, its proximity to L.A. (and the beach!) means you can get your super bloom fix much more easily. Right now, according to DesertUSA, the northern end of Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu is covered in parry's phacelia and poppies. Other species in bloom include the wishbone bush, fiddleneck, and stinging lupine, so if you're in the mood for playing Is It A Flower Species Or The Name Of An All Female Folk Trio, Point Mugu is the place to go.
Point Mugu State Park is located at 9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
About an hour and a half from downtown L.A.
Walker Canyon is a section of Riverside County in full poppy splendor. It's Anza-Borrego's kid brother, bordering the western edge of the state park, but it can hold its own because of the commitment to poppies. The tide of orange creates an enthralling carpet effect, with the occasional purple flower peeking through. Walker Canyon is in the city of Lake Elsinore, which is named after the actual Lake Elsinore, the largest freshwater lake in Southern California. The shores of the lake itself are also replete with flowers right now, making it impossible to miss the splendor of this year's super bloom.
Walker Canyon is located along the 15 freeway at the Lake Street exit.
If you're eager to see the flowers, but not quite sure what the species are, all you need to do is listen to Joe Spano's wildflower report. The NCIS actor has been the voice of the wildflower hotline for the past dozen years or so, receiving updates every Thursday night in order to provide a recording for the weekend's flower obsessives. The hotline was silent for the past three years, so tips only came through the website, but now the chance to call in and hear it over the phone is back.