Blanketing the surrounding mountains in Southern California are beautiful, bright flower species. In the past, Super Blooms have occurred around once a decade, but just occurred in 2017 due to favorable temperatures, heavy rainfall and a lack of damaging winds, according to the California Department of Parks & Recreation.
Cooler temperatures have extended the opportunity window to view the super bloom. In certain areas, the colorful event will continue for several more weeks.
Carrizo Plain National Monument is the closest super bloom location to San Luis Obispo, but many other locations in Southern California also have unique flower blooms this season.
Here are some of the best locations to view the super blooms, estimated driving times from Cal Poly, and the flower species currently blooming at each location.
What To Bring and How to Avoid Damage
A full tank of gas, food, water, clear travel directions and sunscreen are all recommended by the Theodore Payne Foundation. The Foundation also recommends that visitors do not pick, step, or sit on the flowers.
Where to Go
Carrizo Plain National Monument
The best viewing locations at Carrizo are along Soda Lake Road, Overlook Hill, Simmler Road, Elkhorn Road and the Temblor mountains. High clearance vehicles are recommended on Elkhorn Road and the Temblor Mountains by the Theodore Payne Foundation.
Hillside Daisies, Valley phacelia and goldfields are in bloom near Soda Lake road. Baby Blue eyes are prominent at Overlook Hill and Coreopsis, Tidy Tips, Hillside Daisies can be viewed along Simmler Road. Desert Candle and Lemmon’s mustard are in bloom at the Temblor Mountains.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 1 hour, 45 mins
Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
Juniper trees are fruiting and Joshua Trees are flowering at the park.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Placerita Canyon Nature Center
According the the Theodore Payne Foundation, the buds of California peonies have opened, as well as white popcorn flowers, fiddleneck, yellow California sun cups and Fremont’s star lily.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 2 hours, 53 minutes
The foundation reported that the native garden section of Descanso has really started to take off. Blue blossoms, yellows and purples dominate the garden.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Harford Springs Reserve
Cream cups, royal goldfields, juniper trees, baby blue eyes, ground pinks, popcorn flowers, chia and California blue bells are visible at the reserve.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 4 hours, 5 minutes
Diamond Valley Lake
Lupine, Goldfields, Chia and Baby Blue eyes are all in bloom at the Valley.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 4 hours, 50 minutes
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The Reserve will be in “peak” bloom for at least the next two weeks according to the Theodore Payne Foundation.
Poppies, Goldfields coat the hilly landscape. Blue, yellow and white pygmy leaf lupine, wild hyacinth, forget-me-nots, lacy phacelia, hairy lotus, evening snow, freckled milk vetch, silver puffs and desert parsley are also in full bloom.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 5 hours
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
The flowers at the State Park are beginning to fade, but are still worth the drive according to the Theodore Payne Foundation. Viewing maps are available online at the Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association website.
According to the Foundation, the state park is an excellent spot for hikers. The report recommended hiking up Hellcole Canyon for a unique view of the super bloom.
Estimated travel time from San Luis Obispo: 5 hours, 35 minutes