California’s “Super Bloom” a Site for Sore Eyes

After more than four years of drought, last winter’s record precipitation in California has created an explosion of wildflower growth this spring. The blooms are so massive they can be seen from space. Swaths of bright purple tansy, orange poppies and yellow coreopsis have transformed hillsides into impressionist paintings worthy of the Louvre. From the forests of the north to the deserts of south, no region in California has a monopoly on these spectacular blooms.

Already famous for its wildflowers, the Carrizo Plain National Monument in southern California has become a photographer’s paradise these last few weeks. Seemingly endless blankets of blue, yellow, red, purple and orange cover the hills and valleys drawing thousands of tourists and professional photographers alike.

In the central valley, the South Yuba River State Park is in full bloom. You can find purple larkspur, yellow or purple wild iris, fairy lanterns, star tulips, orange bush monkey flowers and more. Both the Point Defiance Loop trail and the Buttermilk Bend Trail offer great wildflower viewing.

The San Francisco Bay Area has many open space preserves and parks that are teaming with wildflowers. Chabot Regional Park stands out this year with its plethora of wild radish, poppies and blue-eyed grass. Further North at Point Reyes National Seashore, the Douglas irises delight with their show-stopping purple and yellow petals.

Five miles north of Arcata in Humboldt County, Azalea State Natural Reserve has an abundance of pink and white blooms. There are also purple and orange varieties of these trumpet-shaped flowers. With their amazing scent heavily perfuming the air, these wildflowers are a treat to more than the eyes.

Wherever you find yourself in California, you can bet there is a profusion of wildflowers nearby. Get out there and enjoy them but remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints.

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