I was lucky enough to witness the rare Super Bloom of 2017. It was so incredible I never wanted to miss one again and felt everyone should experience this rare phenomenon at least once!
It’s not too late to see the bigger, longer lasting Super Bloom of 2019!
What you will get from this post:
- List of the best places to find super blooms
- What makes a bloom “super”
- Breathtaking super bloom photos
- When to go
- How long will the super bloom last
- Are the poppy fields still in bloom?
WHAT MAKES A BLOOM “SUPER”
It happens when all conditions are just right. It requires a whole lot of rainfall in late fall and early winter, cool day time temperatures, and cool nights. This tends to happen once a decade. California has now had two in the past three years and I have witnessed both!
As for 2019, parts of Southern California haven’t seen this much rainfall in over a decade. This called for an even bigger “SUPER” bloom that will last even longer than 2017’s bloom.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VISIT PEAK SEASON FOR WILDFLOWERS AND BLOOMS
California’s landscapes range from coastal lines, rolling hills, flat plains, deserts, and mountains at all different altitudes landscapes. This gives you the chance to witness the Super Bloom anywhere from late winter to early summer! Which means it’s not too late!
Here is a list in order from “California Dream Big” of when and where you will see blooms at peak season:
Peak Season – early March to early April
I’ve never seen a flower bloom on a cactus before and the desert was full of them! I couldn’t believe it! Check out all the different types of blooms and colors I witnessed during my time in Joshua Tree.
Peak Season – mid-March to mid-April
Areas such as Carrizo Plain National Monument, Montana de Oro State Park blooms masses of California poppies, sticky monkey flowers, wild radish, and mustard, all along its easy Bluff Trail.
Los Angeles County
Peak Season – mid-March to late April
The hills of Lancaster bursts into color. The famous Antelope Valley California Poppy State Reserve and surrounding areas have painted hills full of orange, yellow and purple. You most likely have seen photos all over the internet from here. I decided to take the perfect day trip from San Diego to witness this phenomenon for myself! It’s only a three hours’ drive and was absolutely worth it!
Peak season – mid-March through late April
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve has poppies, brodiaea, Sierra primroses, fiesta flowers, fairy lanterns, baby blue eyes, and Indian pinks.
San Francisco Bay Area
Peak season – late April to mid-June
Point Reyes National Seashore and Russian Ridge Preserve.
Peak season: June and July
Several summer wildflower hikes in the High Sierra area.
Peak season: Starts mid-July
Lassen Volcanic National Park is one place to explore.
With all that said, it is not too late to visit super blooms in several locations at different times throughout the year! Check here for more details.
MY EXPERIENCE DURING THE SUPER BLOOM
There is an endless about of places to explore during a super bloom. Here are some of my favorite places I visited.
Poppy Hills at Lake Elsinore
The unpredictable super bloom brought thousands to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore. It’s about one hour’s drive from San Diego. You most likely saw photos of this place all over social media. The small town could not keep up with traffic creating a public safety issue. This forced them to shut down the area and bring temporary shuttles full of people to the area mid-March.
I was dying to go see for myself but our trip was planned for early April. Not knowing what to expect we went anyways. I have to admit I was a little disappointed, we were late to the poppy party :P! Most of the color was gone as you see here on April 4th. It was still worth a stop. They have a well-maintained walking path for hiking. You can bring your dog as well. The rolling hills were beautiful.
This is what it looked like two weeks prior.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
After missing Lake Elsinore’s peak bloom, I decided to make the perfect day trip to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve from San Diego area hoping it was in full bloom. Sure enough, it WAS! Once I arrived it felt like a fairytale! See all the details and breathtaking photos here.
CEDAR CREEK FALLS
I did this hike in early May and the wildflowers were incredible. The entire hike smelt amazing! There was so much color everywhere I looked. This trail is in the Backcountry hills 40-minutes east of San Diego. Considered a difficult hike however, I didn’t find it too difficult. Along this hike crossed three streams and arrived at an 80ft waterfall in a large pool of water at the end of the trail. Of course, I had to dive in! Check out the rolling hills filled with wildflowers during my Cedar Creek Falls hike.
Joshua Tree National Park
All super blooms are different, which makes them so special. Depending on the area, amount of rainfall and type of fall/winter they have determines if it will be a super bloom or not. I was lucky enough to witness a desert bloom. There were blooming cacti everywhere ranging from all sorts of sizes and colors! I have never seen anything like it!
Crystal Cove State Park
We hiked the 6-mile El Moro Canyon loop trail with some friends early April. She said she’s never seen this much color her entire life here! It was beautiful to see but apparently, they are EVIL! These tall black mustard flowers are invasive.
They suck all the resources away from native plants forcing them out of the area. They can grow up to 10ft tall and during the summer months dry out and provide fuel for wildfires. You can read more about it here. As for the hike, it was beautiful!
Took a one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach California to Catalina Island for the day in early April. It felt as if we arrived in Italy. This place is GORGEOUS! We rented a golf cart to explore the island. Since there was so much rainfall this year the cacti and wildflowers bloomed everywhere. I would love to come back and spend more time on this island, apparently, there are more than 165 miles of hiking trails!
THE FLOWER FIELDS in Carlsbad California
Not able to plan a spontaneous Super Bloom trip but still want to see fields of colorful flowers? How about 50 acres full? I highly recommend visiting The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. I didn’t make it during my visit but how gorgeous is this place, right?! They are in bloom for about six to eight weeks from early March through early May. You can find more details here.
If you missed out on the super poppy bloom but want to still see flowers, you have until mid-summer to chase wildflowers all over California! Use this guide to plan your trip!
I would love to hear about your experiences and more suggestions on where to find flowers in bloom! Comment below, Pin, share and subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!
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