Experience the Super Bloom in Los Angeles

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve | Photo: @southerntravelbug_, Instagram

In theory, April showers bring May flowers, but in Los Angeles, the flowers are not only already in bloom, we’re experiencing a bona fide super bloom! After years of drought, suffice it to say that Los Angeles has come roaring back to life, with the abundance of wildflowers as all the evidence you need to confirm.

Los Angeles is holding its own when it comes to natural, blooming beauty. However, unlike the never-ending entertainment available in Los Angeles, the super bloom has a limited run in L.A., and there’s no guarantee there will be another one soon. In the meantime, there are plenty of options for viewing the wildflowers in all their glory, throughout Los Angeles County. Here are our top picks and smart tips for seeing a super bloom in L.A.

For the latest updates, visit the California Department of Parks & Recreation.

Malibu Creek State Park Poppies

Poppies at Malibu Creek State Park | Photo: @faithran, Instagram

Adventure On Your Own

If you’re up for a little exploration, we recommend stops in Malibu, Calabasas, Pacific Palisades, Lancaster, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In Malibu, Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains boasts more than 70 miles of hiking trails, where you’re bound to find wildflowers on most any trail. The Chumash Trail in particular tends to be especially vibrant, with Chocolate Lily and Globe Gilia in abundance.

Further south in Malibu at Point Dume Nature Preserve, a hike across the bluff will let you get up close and personal with bright Yellow Coreopsis, while also taking in a spectacular view of the Pacific. Likewise, although the Woolsey Fire did significant damage to the beauty of Malibu Creek State Park, little by little the park is showing signs of regrowth, with California Poppies and Purple Lupin already beginning to bloom.

At Las Virgenes View Park in Calabasas, the New Millennium Loop Trail is boasting Red Maids, California Poppies, Lupine, and Wild Cucumber, while in Pacific Palisades at Will Rogers State Historic Park, Canyon Sunflowers are surrounded by Greenback Ceanothus.

If you’re seeking to delight your senses further East, you can’t go wrong at Saddleback Butte State Park in Lancaster. With miles of hiking trails, you’ll find different wildflowers at different elevations, and pass through entire fields of flowers if you opt to hike to the peak. Look (and sniff) for flowers including the aromatic Yellow Coreopsis, along with Tidy Tips, Fiddlenecks, and more.

Throughout the numerous preserves on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, look for wildflowers such as Native Milkweed, California Aster, Buckwheats and Cliff Aster at the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve in Rancho Palos Verdes, the Linden H. Chandler Preserve, the White Point Nature Preserve & Education Center in San Pedro, and the George F. Canyon Preserve & Nature Center in Rolling Hills.

Antelope Valley Poppies

Antelope Valley Poppies courtesy of @Insta_losangeles Instagram

Designated Viewing Areas

If you’re excited to see the super bloom, but a long walk or hike isn’t what you’re looking for, there are several viewing areas which allow for easy access. In Lancaster, one of the most popular destinations for super bloom viewing can be found at the aptly named Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. With regular bloom updates on the reserve’s website, remember that prime viewing hours are in the mid-morning when the poppies open up. Also keep in mind that high winds, and cool temperatures –which are frequent in the spring—will cause the poppies to close up.  To ensure optimal viewing, check the weather forecast before heading out.

In Gorman, at the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Reservation, self-guided tours allow for wildflower viewing from both paved roads, and hiking trails. Even better? You can download the Hungry Valley Wildflower Tour Map before you go. Look for wildflowers that may include Larkspur, Scarlet Buglers, Yucca, Lupine, Yerba Santas, and Yellow Goldenbush.

Pro Tips When Seeking Out the Super Bloom

It can’t be emphasized enough, that rules apply and need to be followed when visiting any area experiencing a super bloom. These rules are in place to ensure that future generations also have the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular phenomenon in the years to come. Here’s what to do, and what not to do when taking in the stunning super bloom sites in L.A.

DO:

  • Call the incredible Theodore Payne Wild Flower Hotline for free bloom updates

  • Stay on worn trails-including pets

  • Go now through June

  • Obey all posted signs

  • Bring an actual map if you’re hiking as GPS may not work

  • Visit on the weekday if you can

  • Plan to pay a parking or entrance fee

DON'T:

  • Pick any flowers (or let kids pick the flowers)

  • Walk over areas just because it looks like other people already have

  • Climb into areas without paying entrance fees

  • Stomp on flowers to get a perfect selfie

  • Bring pets unless you’ve confirmed they are allowed


Words by
Jen Hadley Avatar of author Jen Hadley