#NATUREALERT: The Super Guide to the 2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Pack your bags—a Super Bloom has begun in the west and will likely occur for the next couple months with waves of new color as each species takes its turn. Experts are forecasting this will be one of the most epic Super Blooms in decades! While getting outside is always awesome, timing your adventures for maximum super blooming is equal parts art, science, and luck. But no worries—we’ve got you covered with this Super Guide to the Super Bloom. We’ll be updating this post with breaking floral developments, and of course—book your campsite now to get the best spots!

Seeing the Super Bloom with Hipcamp

Get stoked — witness the flower power of Super Bloom in California with this trip report from Hipcamper, Ezekiel Gonzalez’s tour of the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park followed by camping at The Desert Pensione, The Joshua Tree Bom, CA.
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, south entrance Hipcamp: The Desert Pensione, The Joshua Tree Bom, CA
Photo by Ezequiel Gonzalez
Photo by Ezequiel Gonzalez, taken on trail. No flowers were harmed. #LeaveItBetter
Photo by Ezequiel Gonzalez
Photo by Ezequiel Gonzalez

What is a Super Bloom?

“Seeds stored in the desert sands for 5, 10, or even 30 years have responded to the wetter-than-average conditions creating carpets of yellow, white and purple flowers,” says Cameron Barrows, associate research ecologist at the University of California: Riverside. “The cause is a combination of the timing and amount of rain. The conditions are just right across much of California and the West.” So, if you don’t want to suffer from a bout of floral FOMO, here are a few tips and reasons to check out the 2019 Super Bloom, and beyond.

First Off, Here’s Where to Go

3/26/19 Update

Please uphold Hipcamp’s value to #LeaveItBetter and also the Leave No Trace 7 Principles. If flowers are crushed they cannot re-seed for the next season, so it’s crucial that all visitors stay on trail.

California

Flowers can be found from San Diego County to the Central Coast. Here’s where you have a good chance of witnessing flower power this upcoming weekend, and make sure to book your campsite in advance so you can stay out there! • In the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, find many varieties of blooms lining the trails. The Stunt High Trail within the Cold Creek Preserve is recommended by the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Wild Flower Hotline. Camp near the Santa Monica Mountains. Lake Elsinore and Walker Canyon have put new rules in place to lessen the impact of visitors on the area. As many as 100,000 people visited the poppies last weekend, forcing the city to shut off access to the canyon, although it opened up a day later. If you’d like to visit Lake Elsinore or Walker Canyon, you’ll have to catch the $10 shuttle service to gain access. Camp near Lake Elsinore. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve hosts visitors every spring who come to see the rolling hills of orange. Explore all eight miles of the preserve or stick to the 2.5-mile South and North Loops with a quick jaunt to Tehachapi Vista Point. Camp near Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is called the It park for wildflowers in 2019 according to the LA Times. Start at the Visitor center, and expect long lines as more than 2,000 people swing by on a weekend. Camp near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Carrizo Plain National Monument is California’s single largest remaining grasslands in California. Camp near Carrizo Plain National Monument. Diamond Valley Lake, Hemet is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles and is awash with wildflower displays from brilliant patches of orange poppies, deep blue lupine, and Canterbury bells to bright yellow goldfields. Camp near Diamond Valley Lake. The southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. Camp near Joshua Tree National Park.

Other Western States experiencing wildflower blooms

Arizona

White Tank Mountain Regional Park, about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix is one of the best places to see the orange and red poppies. Trails to check out include Goat Camp and Mule Deer for a short stroll or the eight-mile loop starting at Area 7 towards Willow Canyon Trail will reveal stunning displays as well. Camp near White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Picacho Peak State Park, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson is “experiencing some of the best blooms in 15 years.” Camp near Picacho Peak State Park.

Texas

McKinney Falls State Park is expected to sport 200+ acres of bluebonnets, red corn poppies and more. Camp near McKinney Falls State Park. In Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park, you’ll find bluebonnets, desert marigolds and more along the desert mountains. Camp near Big Bend National Park. If you find yourself outside this weekend, let us know! Tag @hipcamp or #hipcamp so we can share the love. Find more tips and a note about how to #LeaveNoTrace and #LeaveItBetter, check out Flower Power, 5 Tips for Visiting the 2019 Wildflower Superbloom.

3/1/19 Update

Get out there this weekend! Check out the latest #superbloom posts on Instagram to help direct your voyage and if the date of the photo isn’t shared, consider commenting on the post to ask when the photo was from. Find more tips and a note about how to #LeaveNoTrace and #LeaveItBetter, check out Flower Power, 5 Tips for Visiting the 2019 Wildflower Superbloom. Here’s a list of places where you can find flowers the weekend of 3/1/19 in California: • The Southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. Camp near Joshua Tree National Park. • Lake Elsinore is awash in golden poppies, just off of Interstate 15 and onto Walker Canyon Road. Camp near Lake Elsinore. Beyond California: Blooms have started in Mexico and may spread into Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and are already in Texas. Here’s a photo from Big Bend National Park, from February 17:
Photo by Julie Murrell, Big Bend National Park
Going forward, here’s where you’ll have the best shot of seeing this natural wonder, up close and personal.
Photo by Nicole Brown, Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore

The Best Wildflower Viewpoints in Southern California (Late-March to Early-May)

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

The orange poppies are expected to cover the rolling hills of the Reserve until mid-April. The Reserve lies an hour and a half from Los Angeles, on the west side of Lancaster. Find an updated wildflower forecast on the website. Find camping near Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

The Anza Borrego Desert State Park

The park three and a half hours from Los Angeles (two from San Diego) is known for healthy amounts of wildflowers, blooming in higher elevations, above the desert basin, first. Find an updated wildflower forecast on the website. Find camping near Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Joshua Tree National Park

There are large assortments of wildflowers usually reported on the East side of the famous park, one mile in from the entrance. Find an updated wildflower forecast here. Find camping near Joshua Tree National Park.
Photo by Alyssa Ravasio, Borrego Palm Canyon, CA

The Best Wildflower Viewpoints in Central and Northern California (Late-April to Early-June)

The Carrizo Plain National Monument

View nature’s fireworks at The Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County. Stay nearby Blue Sky Center. Find a detailed wildflower report here. Find camping near Carrizo Plain National Monument.

North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

Just under two hours from Sacramento, this reserve is a bastion for blooms. The reserve features great hiking opportunities and a few small waterfalls. Stay nearby at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Center. Find the wildflower report here. Find Camping Near North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve.

Mt. Tamalpais State Park

This park close to San Francisco won’t be experiencing a “desert super bloom” due to its climate and geography, but many flowers are beginning to pop up including the exquisite Calypso Orchid. Find camping near Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

Sierra National Forest

The Eastern Sierras are alive with dense beds of wildflowers, come early-spring. And, because of the elevation these flowers bloom at, they tend to stick around longer than super blooms in more arid areas. Find camping near Sierra National Forrest.

Our Favorite Hipcamps Near Super Blooms

Of course, we couldn’t chime in with some of our favorite Hipcamps before capping this off. Here’s a quick rundown on our top fifteen to check out.
  1. Peaceful Mountain Cabin
  2. Mustang Ranch Chalet
  3. Julian Backcountry Retreat
  4. Old Yosemite Base Camp
  5. Manzanita Den Campsite
  6. Rustic Sonoma Barn
  7. Cozy Caravan Style Tinyhouse Camp
  8. Camp in the Vineyards
  9. Sterling Creek Ranch
  10. TRINITY CABIN, of the Wisdom Center
  11. Porte-Cochere in Joshua Tree
  12. Terrace Ranch Portico
  13. Gable Hut
  14. The Desert Pensione Joshua Tree
Campsites are already being booked. Stay up to date on the latest hot spots to view the bloom by following Hipcamp on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Go forth and (responsibly) frolic in the flowers, gang! Check back, we’ll be adding information about more locations over the coming weeks! ?Find more tips in our post, Flower Power: 5 Tips for Visiting the 2019 Superbloom. About the Author
Matt Charnock

"We find ourselves, and our shared humanity, through stories." SF transplant, Starbucks gypsy. Outdoorsman by heart, barefoot by choice.

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