Where to See the Wildflower Superbloom This Spring
On the wild side.
With all the rain this year, SoCal is expected to have one of its best wildflower blooms in ages—a “super- bloom,” as they say. And the flowers are likely to last longer than usual, possibly even into early summer. (Blossoms typically begin to decline in May.)
Before you head out, check the Theodore Payne Wild Flower Hotline at (818-768-1802, ext. 7). The weekly recorded reports, narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Spano, suggest the best locations for spring viewing in Southern and Central California.
Keep a few tips in mind. The bloom usually happens from south to north, so check out the southernmost spots first. Once there’s a bloom happening near San Diego, it typically then rolls up the state.
Also, poppies open up during midmorning and curl back up during late afternoon/early evening and when the temperature starts to drop. So midday visits typically work best.
Linden H. Chandler Preserve
Part of the 1,400-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, the Chandler Preserve has 30 miles of trails weaving through hills, canyons and rock outcrops. Keep your eye out for the endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly. Palos Verdes Dr. North and Dapple Gray Lane, Rolling Hills Estates; pvplc.org/conserved-lands
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The reserve is famous for its extensive display of golden orange poppies. Explore 8 miles of trails, and be sure to visit the Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center, which is open through Mother’s Day. It has wildflower and wildlife exhibits, paintings and a gift shop. Check out the live “poppy cam” on the website. Parking, $10; 15101 Lancaster Rd., Antelope Valley; parks.ca.gov
Point Mugu State Park
This park is just up the coast from Malibu, 15 miles below Oxnard, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. Explore more than 70 miles of hiking trails (dogs are not allowed on trails). The park has 5 miles of ocean shoreline, so you can take a dip before heading home. Parking, $12. 9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; parks.ca.gov
Walk the trails at Paramount Pictures’ old “movie ranch,” the setting for many films and TV shows. In 1980, the National Park Service revitalized a portion of the ranch and today you can hike it. 2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills; for map of the best trails to spot wildflowers, go to alltrails.com
Eaton Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center
This 198-acre natural preserve at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains has picnic areas, expansive hiking and equestrian trails, and wildflowers. The on-site nature center offers animal presentations, bird walks and nature walks. 1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena; parks.lacounty.gov
Malibu Bluffs Open Space
84 acres with ocean views, trails and wildlife viewing. Some trails lead from the bluffs downhill to Malibu Road with access to the beach. Site is adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park, which has baseball diamonds, restrooms and a children’s play structure. 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; nps.gov
Wild Flower Hill
This site—essentially a 0.75-mile trail—is part of the Theodore Payne Foundation. If you spot a wildflower that you can’t identify, take a photo, and then ask one of the nursery sales associates for help in identifying it. Retail nursery, demonstration garden, picnic area and seed and bookstore. 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley; theodorepayne.org
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
This is one of the most popular spots in SoCal. A stunning display of 55 acres of blooming ranunculus flowers. Timed-entry tickets between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. are available only online. $23 adults, $12 for ages 3 to 10 and free for children under 3. Other kiddie activities on-site, so plan for a full day of family fun. 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad; theflowerfields.com
Lions and tigers and bears—oh my!