This article has been updated.
Southern California is at the tail end of one of its wettest winters in decades, making conditions ripe for one of the state’s famed super blooms, in which entire fields of poppies and buttercups seem to emerge from the soil all at once. The abundance of rain in and around LA has brought out so much of the state’s natural beauty that it’s even made the act of sitting in traffic just a little more bearable. It’s hard to be the same level of stressed out and annoyed when snow-capped mountains tower in the distance and the sides of the highways — usually reserved for beer bottles and Doritos wrappers — are teeming with lush grasses.
But none of these perks compares with actually seeing the main attraction: the wildflowers. A super bloom, according to National Geographic, is an “an explosion of wildflowers that exceeds typical spring blooms” — leaving remote locations and state parks across California with an ocean of brilliant blooming flowers. We’re already in the midst of a few blooms with more expected as temperatures continue to warm up. Predicting where and how long the blooms will take place isn’t an exact science, but thanks to the Theodore Payne Foundation, a non-profit plant nursery and education center, we can track where the conditions are best on a weekly basis from now until May, when the super bloom season will end.
If you plan to visit one of these sites, expect traffic — as some super bloom spots can garner crowds as large as 1,000 people per day. Our advice is to head over on an early weekday morning. Call out of work if you have to. Super blooms are not a yearly thing in California.
Note: For the best super bloom viewing experience, always try and visit locations near the bottom of the list as those are the parks with the newest blooms. Expect the flower shows to appear less brilliant as temperatures continue to warm. We will do our best to remove locations where the flowers have already died off of this list.
SEE IT SOON OR MISS IT ALTOGETHER — Lake Elsinore
According to the LA Times, the bloom is in full swing at Lake Elsinore’s Walker Canyon, where California poppies cover the hills in an ocean of orange. If you want to catch this bloom in all its brilliance then visiting this week is a must — the flowers are already at peak bloom and as more visitors arrive and temperatures continue to warm their majestic quality will soon begin to fade.
For the best views, exit Lake St. off of Interstate 15 and drive along Walker Canyon road. The crowds at Lake Elsinore are large so expect traffic delays.