Having received enough water from winter rains, dry grasslands west of Lancaster come alive with a vibrant flowering season every spring. Wildflower season usually starts at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in late February and continues with new blooms every day through early May. Billions of poppies make for the most breathtaking sceneries of nothing but vast technicolor orange. The state national reserve is only 67 mi (107 km) north of Los Angeles.
When do poppies bloom in California?
Antelope Valley poppy season varies from year to year, with the first flowers popping up in late February and the peak bloom falling between mid-March and mid-April. The safest bet would be late March, as in April, tender blossoms might be swiped away by slashing spring winds.
Tips for viewing Antelope Valley poppies
Wear layers and carry adequate water
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is located in the western Mojave Desert at 2,624 to 2,925 ft (800 to 900 m), so get ready for a high desert environment. Besides wicked winds, the air temperatures may range largely during a day, thus, layered clothing will be useful. Besides, you'll need more water than you imagine, so better take extra supplies.
It goes without saying that poppies are not allowed to be collected. Anyway, they would wilt at once, and the seeds necessary for the next crop would be wasted. In fact, as this is a state reserve, everything within its territory is protected, including every grass blade and tiniest stone. Also, make sure that your vehicle doesn't go off the main road. And note that dogs and other pets aren't allowed in the reserve. If you see any, it must be one of the local staff's trained dogs.
Watch out for rattlesnakes
Rattlesnakes are also protected for they regulate the local rodent population, that would otherwise have eaten all the poppies. These snakes aren't aggressive, but they dislike being bothered. They rattle their tails to warn you about their presence, but you should be cautious yourselves. So walk slowly across the fields and be careful where you step.
California poppy fields east of Los Angeles
Even though Antelope Valley Reserve harbors the most consistent poppy bloom, you can find a few more places worth visiting in terms of poppy viewing. Should you be in the LA area in March, definitely check out such scenic areas as Chino Hills State Park, 35 mi (56 km) east of the City of Angels. Continue driving further south-east to behold Walker Canyon poppies, 63 mi (101 km) off LA.
When do poppies bloom in California?
The blooming season of poppies in Antelope Valley varies from year to year. They start appearing in late February and reach their peak between mid-March and mid-April. Plan your visit around late March to avoid damage caused by winds that could harm tender blossoms in April. Show more
What should I wear when visiting Antelope Valley during poppy season?
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is located in western Mojave Desert and its altitude ranges from 2,624 to 2,925ft above sea level. Dressing in layers is advisable because temperatures may change drastically throughout the day. Additionally, carry an adequate supply of water since it is a requirement when visiting the reserve. Show more
Are pets allowed in Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve?
In Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, it is not allowed to bring pets. The reserve is home to protected species of plants and animals, therefore, visitors must be mindful and respectful. The trained pets of the staff are the only exceptions to this rule. Show more
What is the altitude of the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve?
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is situated in the western Mojave Desert with an altitude that ranges from 2,624 to 2,925ft above sea level. Visitors should be cautious of any complications caused by high altitude and the aridity of the area, hence they must stay hydrated. Show more
Are there other places to view poppies in California besides Antelope Valley?
Travelers interested in views of poppies in California can also check out other sites especially around Los Angeles including Walker Canyon (101 km away from LA,) and Chino Hills State Park (located 56 km east of Los Angeles). Due to many locations possibilities, a careful study of all venues is recommended when planning a California trip. Show more