With the atmospheric river flowing right over California, the yearly precip totals are getting close to 100%; this is especially true many southern areas of the state. Nature enthusiasts, hikers and especially flower lovers have taken note, talking up what the wildflower season will hold; superbloom this, desert bloooms that. While nobody is sure what the season will truly hold, one thing is certain, March will usher in the season of wildflowers.

So, once the sun starts shining a little more (yes, the storms will come to an end) and the air warms, the seeds in the ground will awaken from their semi-dormant state. And that’s when the wildflowers, like magic, will begin to paint the landscape with vibrant colors; oranges, yellows, purples… The first blooms usually start in the southern deserts, then like a wave, they move north, and ultimately, even the higher elevations succumb to the colors on nature’s palette.

The wildflower season typically runs March – May, so now is the time to scout out your places of interest. How far are you willing to go to see nature’s display? It’s always a good idea to look up the location online, take the proper rations, especially water, if you go further out into the wilderness, and call if there’s a phone number at a state or national park – there’s even a Wild Flower Hotline you can check each week. But your main ally will be flexibility, because when a bloom begins, it can all happen and be done with over a couple of weekends.

Here are the places in California where you’ll be able to find wildflowers:

San Francisco and the Bay Area

* McLaren Park, San Francisco
* Buena Vista Park, San Francisco
* Crissy Field, San Francisco
* Corona Heights Park, San Francisco
* Tilden Park, Berkeley
* Briones Regional Park, East Bay Hills
* Mori Point, Pacifica
* Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve, Redwood City
* Mount Diablo, Clayton
* Henry Coe State Park, Gilroy
* Chimney Rock, Point Reyes
* Alamere Falls, Point Reyes
* Albany Bulb, Albany
* Sunol Regional Wilderness, Sunol
* Steep Ravine, Mount Tamalpais
* Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, Santa Cruz
* Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley
* Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley
* Pinnacles National Park

California – some wild flower lovers might be willing to travel a little further for many of the most spectacular views.

* North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve
* Lake Tahoe
* Eastern Sierra Nevada
* Mount Lassen
* Antelope Valley
* Joshua Tree
* Anza-Borrego
* Carrizo Plain National Monument

Note: Because of extensive areas the 2018 fires covered, near Redding, in the foothills east of Chico, and in any area where there’s been fire, much of the burn area top soil may have been washed away. Native flowers might find it harder to fight against non-native species and grasses, which are more hardy and might compete better for resources in the terrain that remains.


Afar: California Wildflowers Where and When to Find Them

Timeout: See colorful wildflowers on these 9 Bay Area hikes

Seasonal Rain

SF Gate: Where to See Bloom

USA Today: When Wildflowers Super Bloom Happens in California