Wildflowers near Los Angeles?
October 16, 2009 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Wildflowers day trips from Los Angeles?

Girlfriend and I want to see wildflowers in the wild. We live in LA, and would prefer to be able to do this on a single day (she's got some furlough time coming up).

Where are the best? What did you like about them? What's can't miss? What specific dates should we shoot for? What's the best season to see which flowers?

I know very little about the plants in Southern California, mostly because I grew up in the Midwest.

And personal experience is very much appreciated—I've found a fair passel of vague pages on the internet (some Parks Service, some not) that don't really have the "Go here the third week of February" specificity that I'd like, being a total newb and all.
posted by klangklangston to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't helpful now, but go to the desert in March for the wildflowers.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:07 PM on October 16, 2009

Response by poster: Actually, since she has to plan her furlough days by the end of the month, that sort of thing is totally helpful—But where in the desert?
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2009

And check out the Wildflower Hotline
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2009

Anza-Borrego in February or March.

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in April.
posted by chicainthecity at 1:15 PM on October 16, 2009


That page has the phone numbers to call in the spring to find out what's in bloom in each park. A big rain or a few hot days can change everything, and the state sure isn't going to update their website that fast, so it's best to call for the most accurate and most local info.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:19 PM on October 16, 2009

There's some good info here. Any of the desert parks (Joshua Tree, Mohave, Anza-Borrego) will be good. Unfortunately, it's hard to plan in advance because it depends so much on how much rain falls and when. But if you plan for early/mid March you should be fine.

Also, keep an eye on the Death Valley page-- it only happens occasionally, but when they get rain up there the flowers are incredible. Not really a day trip, but if you can swing a weekend it is owrth it.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:22 PM on October 16, 2009

Here's an article that lists a number of places in the Simi to Malibu mountain area that (a while ago at least) had wildflower walks. Note that it's a March article, advertising that as the peak season for those parks.

I'd never thought about seeing wildflowers as being much of a challenge, they grow all over the beach and hills here, fyi, and I'm commuting distance from LA. Definitely driving from LA north up the 101, once you get past Ventura, you see plenty of them, the Santa Ynez valley is a nice place to see landscape and flowers, and Lompoc has a Flower Festival which might make a fun destination. It's a more appealing area to visit than the deserts, imo, though their displays are indeed amazing.

Here's an article on the Antelope Valley poppies.

Some info on the Santa Ynez area.

Another thorough list.

Whoa, check this out.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:04 PM on October 16, 2009

March through May, drive up Bouquet Canyon Road from Santa Clarita. Really picturesque!

Also take the 5 north about 1.5 hours to Gorman. Just past Pyramid Lake, there is a hillside. In spring it is COVERED with Mustard, Bluebonnets, and Farewell-to-Springs. Stunning!

Antelope Valley when the poppies bloom is lovely.

The rose garden at the Mission Santa Barbara, while not wildflowers, is still gorgeous. Also the Huntington Museum's rose garden. The Getty Museum also has interesting gardens on the main grounds

It's true, flowers are all over the place. A drive into the mountains or along the coast, through the canyons is very rewarding!

You might also try the various Botanical Gardens in the area, they're neat. One is north of Pasadena off the 210, and one is way out east.
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 10:14 PM on October 16, 2009

Tehachapi Pass and Bear Valley Springs can be really beautiful if you hit it at the right time. Seconding Mojave, esp. in a year with heavy or late rains. Also, don't forget high-country wildflowers. If you have time, check out the southern Sierra a little later in the year.
posted by shifafa at 9:47 PM on October 18, 2009

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