When the wildflowers bloom during the California spring, it looks from a distance as though an artist spilled their paints across the hills. Vibrant yellows, oranges, reds, and purples all combine into a breathtaking natural patchwork of lively color. Hundreds of floral species might populate a single canyon or stretch of field, and the promise of their bright blooms call visitors from all over the country. March through the middle of May are the best months to go hiking or walking in California and see the wildflowers blossom. Here, I outline a few of the best places to breathe in the sights and smells of these lively blooms.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
More than 200 species of flowering plants are found in the rural location. The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail provides the chance to see the vibrant red blooms of the ocotillo, the purple desert lavender and the yellow brittlebush. Other species scattered around the park include the desert chicory and dandelion, the filaree, popcorn flower, poppies and red stonecrop. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider hiking over to Hellhole Canyon to see the barrel cactus, lupin and phacelia in bloom! The cascading water of the Maidenhair Falls is also a must-see for visitors to the park.
Palos Verdes Peninsula
If you find yourself in Southern California, make time for a trip to the Palos Verdes Peninsula! This coastal region boasts beautiful flowers year-round; however, March through April are the best times to catch the spring flowers in bloom. The nearby Chandler Preserve has blooming fiddlenecks, which attract fluttering hordes of monarch butterflies. Lupines are found along the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve along with red paintbrush, California bush sunflowers, mariposa lilies and wild hyacinths.
Malibu Creek State Park
The park was established in the Santa Monica Mountains and is a popular hiking destination. The many blooms found here in the spring include the coreopsis, goldfields and owl’s clover along the Lost Cabin Trail, and the park’s Backbone Trail is home to the hummingbird sage. Other species found in the region include the black sage and the purple sage.
Idyllwild Nature Center
Situated in the San Jacinto Mountains, the location is so popular for wildflowers viewing that locals host a festival each year. The center stands at an elevation of 5,400, which causes spring flowers to open their buds toward the end of May. Here, visitors encounter the Alpine asters, evening primrose, monkeyflower, penstemon, rosy pussytoes, snow plants and western azaleas. Journey up to 6,000 feet and see more varieties. Locals also recommend strolling along the Summit Trail to a meadow in County Park and back up along the Perimeter Trail. As hikers meander through the differing climates on the trail, they have the rare opportunity to see a wide variety of floral species.