Where and When to See the 2023 Wildflower Super Bloom
How-To's & Resources, National Parks, News & Events, Trip Ideas & Guides
How does cruising through the California desert in a campervan with the windows down, your favorite song playing, and wildflowers surrounding you sound? Due to a variety of factors including this winter’s above-average rainfall, wildfires, and drought, it’s shaping up to be an incredible wildflower year. In 2017 & 2019, wildflower blooms in Southern California were so big that they were visible from space. If weather predictions hold up, there’s certainly a possibility of that happening again this time around. Don’t miss out! Make this dream a reality and book your spring wildflower road trip from our Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Phoenix depots! You may even get some flower-themed campervan artwork to go along with your Instagram photos 🙂
When To Go See the Super Bloom
Peak season usually runs from March through May. Low deserts like Joshua Tree are typically the first to start — in fact, some Joshua Trees had already started blooming in February.
When the peak will come, and how long the super bloom will last, is difficult to predict because there are so many different microclimates. If you’re truly committed to experiencing the height of a wildflower bloom in any given park or region, you’ll need to be ready to head out quickly. That’s why a campervan rental might be your best option. It gives you the flexibility to change your plans on a whim, from where you want to go for the day to where you want to camp for the night.
Plenty of websites out there keep updated logs on what’s happening with the wildflowers. Visit Wild Flower Hotline to learn more.
Where To Go
Here are the best places to go to see the wildflower super bloom.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Located in inland San Diego County, Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California. It’s begun to post weekly updates on its website. Staff isn’t sure when the peak will be but said mid-March is usually prime time to visit.
Malibu Creek State Park
This is one of the best places to see wildflowers in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The bloom here started the last week of February and the hillsides are now carpeted in orange flowers.
Joshua Tree National Park
A “must-see” this year! The ultimate way to see flowers if you’re not a walker or hiker is to plan an all-day drive through Joshua Tree National Park in April or May. Blooms have already started near the park’s south entrance and are expected to last longer than usual thanks to cool temperatures in the area.
The Coachella Valley Preserve off is teeming with flowers and plants. Some of the best diversity is found in the canyons around the edges of the Coachella Valley where they are protected from the wind.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve
When conditions are right, you can see rolling hills blanketed in poppies (California’s state flower), usually beginning in April and sometimes lasting into early May.
Pinnacles National Park
This relatively small national park typically starts seeing wildflowers in March. It peaks in May when more than three-quarters of the park’s flowers are in bloom.
Picacho Peak State Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and Catalina State Park
In late February and early March, these are the best state parks to spot bursts of yellow, red, orange, blue, or purple flowers.
Alamo Lake State Park, Red Rock State Park, and Oracle State Park
Visit these parks as the season progresses — as late as May or June.
Leave No Trace
While stewards of the local, state and national parks where flowers are blooming want people to come and enjoy them, it’s also important that visitors respect nature. Stay on trails and do not pick the flowers, no matter how tempting it may be. Walking or driving off-trail can damage fragile ecosystems and picking flowers means their seeds won’t beget the next generation of blossoms. Check policies before bringing your dog. Don’t park outside of designated parking areas. Super Blooms are rare, and we want folks to be able to enjoy it — trampling the fragile flowers really damages them for years to come.