Here’s How to Take in the Impressive Wildflower Blooms Popping up Across Southern California

Sand verbena and evening primrose are seen in Anza-Borrego State Park in this Feb. 22, 2019, photo released by California State Parks.

Sand verbena and evening primrose are seen in Anza-Borrego State Park in this Feb. 22, 2019, photo released by California State Parks.

For the second straight year, unusually heavy winter rains across Southern California have delivered a spectacular burst of wildflowers in desert areas, and people are flocking by the thousands to take in the rare display.

Many areas of the state have received record-breaking rainfall this year, yet California State Parks officials are stopping short of calling this year’s display a sequel to last year’s “super bloom,” noting that it’s “impossible to predict exactly where, when and if wildflowers will bloom.”

The most vibrant views will be in desert landscapes, where above average precipitation combines with yearslong drought that has starved grasses and weeds that tend to hog nutrients.

The colorful displays are expected to include California poppies, sand verbena, lupine, evening primrose, popcorn flowers, desert sunflower and desert lilies. Different varieties will pop up in different areas.

Early March is the beginning of the wildflower season in most areas, and with more rain on the way the array is only likely to get more dramatic. The blooms should last at least through most of April.

Lake Elsinore has already experienced an influx of visitors looking to take in the bright-orange poppies blanketing hillsides near the 15 Freeway.

Other hotspots are expected to include:

Desert sunflowers and sand verbena blanket a valley in Anza-Borrego State Park in this Feb. 15, 2019, photo released by California State Parks.

Desert sunflowers and sand verbena blanket a valley in Anza-Borrego State Park in this Feb. 15, 2019, photo released by California State Parks.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster
• Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, just outside Borrego Springs in San Diego County
• Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, also near Borrego Springs
• Diamond Valley Lake wildflower trail in Hemet
• Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach
• Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas
• Chino Hills State Park in Chino Hills
• Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana Mountains
• Crafton Hills Preserve, north of Yucaipa
Oak Glen Preserve east of Yucaipa
• Joshua Tree National Park in Joshua Tree
• Mojave National Preserve east of Barstow
• Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument south of Palm Desert

You can find details on the best time to visit on each park’s website.

Because the rare occurrence is expected to draw thousands into wilderness areas, parks officials urge visitors to respect the landscape, come prepared and follow safety tips.

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