Courtesy of House Beautiful
Plant lovers are counting down the days until they can feast their eyes on this year's Super Bloom—bright blankets of flowers that covers the hillsides of California—but might need to adjust their itinerary. According to KTLA, the mayor of Lake Elsinore has announced that Walker Canyon will be closed to all visitors for the foreseeable future. Though the Southern California park has been a particularly amazing place to view (and Instagram) the horticultural happening, an increased turnout in 2019 trampled Lake Elsinore poppies, disrupted wildlife, and created an unhabitable environment for residents. The good news? There are tons of other sites in California where you can catch lesser-known but totallly spectacular super blooms, so we rounded them up for your planning purposes.
Though the Super Bloom typically starts in February and can last as long as July, early spring is often the best time to view the floral phenomenon. They don't happen every year—the massive field of golden flowers only erupts when there's been sufficient rainfall, adequate temperatures, and a lack of harsh, disruptive winds. But thanks to California's increased rain, 2023 is poised to be one beautiful sight. (And really, don't go to Walker Canyon! Local officials added that will have a "zero-tolerance policy" for trespassers, who will receive a citation for breaching the area.)
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
Located less than 100 miles east of San Diego, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California's largest park, which means it should have an impressive wildflower presence. It has historically been covered poppies, primroses, and lilies during Super Bloom season. (A major change to the large park's typically-bare terrain.) In fact, the 2019 Super Bloom was so stunning that it was even visible from space!
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
From challenging hikes to stays in trendy Airstreams, Joshua Tree National Park has become a top destination for locals and out-of-towners alike. This Super Bloom doesn't last long, but if you're in the area in March or April, you can spot a stunning, rainbow-tinged landscape. For many, the California poppy is the belle of the botanical ball.
LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
If you're curious about where to see the Super Bloom in Northern Cc California—and, okay, are a little late on planning—check out what Lassen Volcanic National Park has to offer. Snow tends to stay in the area well into spring, so peak blooming season will happening a little later than the other locales. Once you're there, you'll likely spot candy-colored blooms like silverleaf lupine and alpine false candytuft.
ANTELOPE VALLEY CALIFORNIA POPPY RESERVE
This Southern California locale literally has "poppy" baked into its title, so it's only fitting that it's an excellent place to spot the big Super Bloom. In addition to the area's naturally-growing poppies, you can expect to see wild blooms such as cream cups and owl's clover.
MOUNT DIABLO STATE PARK
Swing by Mount Diablo State Park, which is a short drive away from Oakland. Come February, over 400 different species of wildflowers are in full bloom. Take any of the park's hiking trials to enjoy the checker lilies, Bermuda buttercups, and many, many more.
Nestled on the border between California and Las Vegas, Death Valley is known for its rich terrain and impeccable hiking trials. While the verdict is still out on if it will deliver a full-blown Super Bloom, the National Parks Service predicts an above-average wildflower presence this year.
BRIONES NATIONAL PARK
Did you know that the Bay Area boasts more than 2,000 wildflowers? Fortunately, the Briones National Park in the East Bay highlights some of the best of them in shades of red, yellow, and bright purple. Think of it as a psychedelic assortment of petals.
POINT DUME NATURAL PRESERVE
As Point Dume proves, you don't have to choose between the beach and forest. The smooth, white sands are offset with trims of tickseeds akin to the yellow brick road.
CHINO HILLS SATE PARK
If you already booked accommodations near Lake Elsinore, Chino Hills State Park is just a quick drive away. The area is covered in poppy fields and pops of purple, with March as the peak time to take a peek.
Located west of Bakersfield, this expansive grassland is reportedly filled to the brim with colorful flowers like larkspur, daisies, and more. If you really want to see the blanket of blooms in all its beauty, stop by between late March and the end of April. While you're there, make a stop at Soda Lake, which bubbles just like baking soda.