Last year, Death Valley had a impressive and rare Super Bloom. This year we are lucky that the rains brought a spectacular showing of blooms to California. Southern California’s deserts blossomed and just last week the Super Bloom migrated north and graced Carrizo Plain National Monument with a wild array of flowers. Typically wildflowers can be found in this region from late March to mid April. The blooms are currently at their peak (first two weeks of April 2017), so we decided to waste no time and headed down south.
Carrizo Plain is about a 4 hour drive from South Bay Area, making a day trip feasible. We took off early morning, stopped in Paso Robles to pick up a pack lunch for later and trekked on to our destination. You’ll also want to fill up on gas and water here as these resources are not available in the park itself.
Coming from the Bay Area on 101 South, after Paso Robles you’ll want to make your way on to Highway 58 East. Continue on Highway 58 until you reach the 7 Mile Road intersection. Here you’ll find the most magnificent showing of wildflowers in both yellow and purple. You can park alongside the road and trek up the hill for views.
Next, we continued down 7 Mile Road and made a right on Soda Lake Road. This road leads you alongside the western side of Soda Lake. The shallow white, salt crusted lake is worth a stop. Against the yellow flowers, it’s definitely striking.
Once you reach the end of the lake, make a left on to San Diego Creek Road. Along this road there are more wonderful views of the wildflowers on the valley floor. You can also get a good view of the yellow painted hills. This Road will lead you to Elk Horn Road and from there you can continue on to find yourself back at the Highway 58/7 Mile Road intersection where you can marvel one last time at Mother Nature’s artistry.
The whole trip from San Jose and back took us exactly 12 hours. It’s well worth the drive to see this rare and dazzling sight. Super Blooms are unpredictable as the seeds need just the right amount of sun and water to show, so who knows when a year like this will come again. We suggest getting out there as soon as possible so you don’t miss it!
- Stock up on gas, water and food in Paso Robles.
- Bring comfortable hiking/tennis shoes, especially if you plan to hike up some hills.
- There is no shade out here so bring sunscreen and a hat.
- Many of the roads within the park are dirt. They are dusty and when it rains they get muddy, so plan to take an appropriate vehicle.
- For up to date flower reports call Carrizo Plain National Monument’s information line: (805) 475-2035.
- Take a look at location tags on Instagram to see current photos and research wildflower viewing locations.