Socially Distanced Spring Blooms mobile
Discover Story Ideas Details Back to Story Ideas

Enjoy Socially Distanced Spring Blooms in California

Wildflower season is beginning! Below are some of the places where visitors can safely and sustainably enjoy spring blooms across California. While visiting, be sure to maintain six feet from others, sanitize your hands frequently and wear face coverings when in close proximity to other hikers. Also, be sure to observe all trail signs and keep your pet on leash to preserve the flowers for future visitors.

Enjoy a Vibrant Wildflower Bloom on the Remote Channel Islands
After winter’s rains from late January through March, California’s remote Channel Islands erupt in a vibrant wildflower bloom. The island’s signature flower may be the coreopsis, which spreads itself across parts of the islands in vast fields as a sea of brilliant yellow flowers. The spring bloom coincides with the migration of Pacific Gray Whales (through the middle of April). Island Packers runs trips out to the islands from Ventura Harbor.

Fresno County Blossom Trail is the Ultimate Change of Scenery

Set sail in a sea of blossoms by cruising along a more-than-60-mile driving path in Fresno County. During a typical spring, the Fresno County Blossom Trail draws travelers from around the globe. The blooming fruit tree orchards, and the fluttering pink and white petals, make for a beatific backdrop for photos. Now is the time to visit, as blossom season begins in mid-February and winds down around the end of March. Safely travel the self-guided tour in the comforts of your own vehicle.


An Urban Oasis in Torrance
Madrona Marsh Preserve is an urban oasis in the heart of Torrance and is thought to be one of the last remaining vernal freshwater marshes in Los Angeles County. The seasonal wetland takes up a square block in Torrance and is flush with water and wildflowers around March. Look for stands of bright yellow bush sunflowers, small bunches of golden poppies and yellow deerweed. After exploring the preserve, take a minute to tour the native garden alongside the nature center across the street. You’ll see bushy black sage in bloom as well as cactus flowers, deerweed, flannel bush and other local species.

The Golden Fields of Sonoma Valley in Springtime
Before the grapes start to bud, Sonoma Valley's vineyards become a blanket of stunning yellow mustard flowers, which provide the soil with vital nutrients and act as a natural pest repellent. It's easy to see these golden fields as you drive throughout the valley but if you want a closer look, Highway 12 is a great place to pull over (in a safe location) and snap a picture. Other photo-worthy spots include B.R. Cohn Winery’s iconic "mustard flower hill," the terrace at Gloria Ferrer Vineyards and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood. The flowers can be enjoyed from January through April.

Daffodils Across The Ridge
In Paradise and Magalia, more than 160,000 daffodils symbolize rebirth. The Paradise Garden Club undertook the mass-bulb planting project in 2008 after a wildfire and in 2020, the Town of Paradise undertook a mass distribution of daffodils – which were recently adopted as the town’s official flower – to commemorate the second anniversary of the Camp Fire. The Magalia Beautification Association ensures that the daffodils blanket the entire Ridge, and some 1,250 hyacinth along the three main roads are planted in arrows pointing into town.

Spring Arrives in Glorious Color in San Diego
From March through April, drive out to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego’s rural East County for a spectacular display of color. Guests enjoy a vibrant kaleidoscope of wildflowers, from tiny bursts of color no larger than the head of a pin to towering ocotillos with fiery spines of scarlet blossoms. The wildflower bloom depends on timing and the amount of winter rainfall, and can last two to six weeks. From March through May 10, guests can also stroll through 50 acres of beautiful Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in San Diego’s North County.

Socially Distanced Spring Blooms in Orange County
There are a variety of parks and trails where nature lovers of all ages can view wildflowers safely and sustainably throughout Orange County. Highlights include Weir Canyon Trail at OC Parks' Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park in Laguna Niguel, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in Laguna Beach and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Trabuco Canyon. There are also a variety of seven-day self-guided access trails in the City of Newport Beach’s Buck Gully Reserve and the City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon. The peak wildflower bloom typically occurs mid-March to mid-April.

Super Bloom in Murrieta
Starting in late March through the end of May, the hills of Murrieta come alive each year with the vibrant colors of evening primrose, verbenas, poppies, desert lilies and many other varieties. Wildflowers can be seen throughout the Murrieta and Lake Elsinore regions, but one of the best spots to view them is Walker Canyon Trail. The trailhead is easy to find at Lake Street and Walker Canyon Road.

Wildflowers along the Weaver Basin Trail System
More than 100 lakes, lush meadows, fresh streams and spectacular vistas provide a fertile landscape for endless varieties of wildflowers in Trinity County, including wild orchids, cobra plants, mountain iris and leopard lilies. The Weaver Basin Trail system, 5 minutes from Main Street, Weaverville, comprises miles of easily navigated trails. The new paperback by Ken DeCamp – “Wildflowers of the Trinity Alps" – can be used to identify flowers, and maps are available at the Trinity Visitor Center, the Weaverville Ranger Station and Trinity County Resource Conservation District.

Safely Experience Lake County’s Famous Wildflower Blooms
In springtime, Lake County fills with an abundance of wildflower varieties, from the pastel yellows of lupines to the brilliant purples of the redbud bush. For a socially-distanced wildflower hike, try the Redbud Trail in the Cache Creek Recreation Area or the Highland Springs Recreation Area. Both locations have few crowds and plenty of room to explore safely. For some of the most amazing blooms in Lake County, take a drive on Bear Valley Road, just off of Highway 20. The well-maintained dirt road showcases over 16,000 acres carpeted with flowers and is regularly named one of the top wildflower viewing areas in Northern California.

Wildflowers Hikes in Nevada County
The woodlands and meadows in Nevada County surrounding Grass Valley and Nevada City are a wildflower lover’s dream, with an abundance of colorful flora that can be seen along easily accessible hikes and walks. One highlight is Wildflower Ridge Trail in Kenny Ranch, a large property that boasts open meadows, forested hillsides and a rare concentration of native plants. Bridgeport Buttermilk Bend Trail, located within South Yuba River State Park, is another favorite among the locals for spring wildflowers. Hikers will also enjoy beautiful views of the river canyon and access to many swimming holes.

Wildflowers Await in Yuba and Sutter Counties
As part of the California Floristic Province, Yuba and Sutter Counties are a biodiverse hotspot growing an unusually high concentration of native plant species – including over a dozen varieties of cluster-lily. In fact, there are 14 governmentally protected rare or endangered plant species found in the region. The Visit Yuba Sutter Official Visitor's Guide is available online, and includes the names of all the trails and areas for the best nature experiences in the region.

1,400-Square Miles of Blooms in Placer County
Made up of 1,400-square miles of the most diverse geography in California, Placer County offers up acres upon acres of wildflowers every spring. Several trails along the American River Canyon near Colfax are ideal for bloom-seeking. Stevens Trail offers breathtaking views of waterfalls and wildflowers, from peaches and oranges and deep blues and reds. The Windy Point Trail, known for its access to the stunning California Poppies, boasts over 100 species of wildflowers and low crowds for optimal, socially-distanced enjoyment.

View Wildflowers in San Luis Obispo’s Open Space
Just minutes from downtown San Luis Obispo, there are two local favorite spots for enjoying wildflower blooms. The Irish Hills Reserve offers eight winding trails, ranging from 1.9 miles to 8 miles, and Reservoir Canyon trail is 5.35 miles with an elevation of 1,350 feet. Each hike presents unique and beautiful landscapes to safely explore the wildflowers of central California as they begin to bloom in the spring.

Socially Distanced Blooms in Monterey County
Every spring in Monterey County from early April through May, the seaside town of Pacific Grove’s magenta ice plants bloom along its rocky coastline. The best time to view the drosanthemum floribundum is on a sunny day in early April through May at midday, as the flowers remain closed when it is overcast and cold. Start at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove and follow the trail along Ocean View Boulevard towards Pebble Beach for the best stretch of the blooms.

Poppies and Wildflowers Abound Throughout Majestic Mount Diablo
Poppies and wildflowers abound throughout majestic Mount Diablo each spring, and are easily accessed with a drive to the first summit or a short walk to the second. Visit the park anytime between 7 a.m. to sunset. While there you can picnic at the many available tables, enjoy the panoramic views or climb Rock City. The wildflower bloom is typically most intense mid-April.

Visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is set on a spacious 78 acres of sloping foothills above the city, offering beautiful beds of native plants in addition to 5.5 miles of scenic trails that lead past more than 1,000 California plant species. Spring is the best time to enjoy vibrant blooms and the late-afternoon view from the bookstore — up a gently sloping meadow abloom with wildflowers and backed by the Santa Ynez Mountain range— is absolutely sublime. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has fully redesigned its trail system to allow for physical distancing.

Catch the California Superbloom at Carrizo Plain National Monument
The New Cuyama region is a lesser-known wildflower oasis, and a great location for travelers to catch the infamous California superbloom – without the crowds. Blooms of golden yellow buttercups, bright orange California Poppies and vividly lavender sky lupines take over the landscape. Visitors are recommended to venture just 20 minutes north of Cuyama Buckhorn to the Carrizo Plain National Monument which is known for its unparalleled wildflower experience and cave paintings.

Spring Awakening in Mariposa County
Experience a true spring awakening in Yosemite Mariposa County amid California poppies and western redbud trees. In the lower elevations, spring blossoms include poppies, spider lupines, evening primrose, owl’s clover and redbuds, which turn to larkspur and dogwood as the season progresses. In the higher elevations, Sierra forget-me-nots, monkshood, leopard lily and marigold color the hillsides. Join a private naturalist-walk to get an insider’s perspective on the park’s flora or take an immersive walk on your own.

Experience a Long Wildflower Season in Tuolumne County
Tuolumne County has one of the state’s longer wildflower seasons. The lower elevations get blooms in March and April, while the High Sierra area gets them in the summer. In the early season (March-May), check out Dragoon Gulch Trail, West Side Trail or New Melones Lake Area. In June and July, visit the Red Hills Recreation Management Area. From August to September, visitors can view mules ears, sneezeweed, blue flax and wandering daisy along the Sonora Pass Area, which is a more difficult trail. If you are up for some serious off-the-beaten-path flower foraging, Emigrant Wilderness Area is a gem. There are also several day hike options, including the Gianelli Cabin area, offering a moderate trek of about 4.5 miles. You will see spreading dogbane, bloomer's goldenbrush, purple sand spurry and scarlet gilia to name a few.

Note: As communities re-open after COVID-19-related closures, some parks, businesses and attractions may still be closed or have new protocols in place. Please verify local guidelines and regulations for all destinations and hours and availability of individual businesses before publishing. Check out Visit California’s Responsible Travel Hub for guidance on how visitors can travel within California safely.

 

TAGS: