Discover Spring Wildflowers in California State Parks

Discover Spring Wildflowers in California State Parks

Late winter rains and warming temperatures are creating conditions for brilliant displays of wildflowers throughout California


Wildflowers will soon be blooming in California State Parks, thanks to the late arrival of several winter storms. So why not take a weekend to explore some of California’s best wildflower displays? Campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are also located near many of the most popular wildflower viewing areas.

Here are some ideas on California State Parks that have the most reliable wildflower displays. Working in collaboration with the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, we’ve also included some recommendations on nearby places to camp:


CALAVERAS/TUOLUMNE COUNTIES

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, four miles north east of Arnold on Highway 4, is known for its wildflowers in June, especially along the Lava Bluffs Trail. The park phone number is (209) 795-2334. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Angels Camp RV and Camping Resort, Angels Camp, www.angelscamprv.com or (209) 736-0404
  • Marble Quarry RV Park, Columbia, www.marblequarry.com or (209) 532-9539

 

DEL NORTE COUNTY

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, seven miles south of Crescent City on U.S. Highway 101, has magnificent displays of rhododendrons that can be seen from the highway as well as numerous roadside turnouts in April and May, depending on the warmth of the spring. For more information call the Redwood National and State Park information center at (707) 464-6101, extension 5064. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Crescent City Redwoods KOA, Crescent City, www.koa.com or (707) 464-5744


FRESNO and MADERA COUNTIES

Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, 20 miles northeast of Fresno, features spring flowers on the Blue Oak Trail, an easy walk. Visitors taking a more strenuous hike on the Buzzards Roost Trail can also find spring flowers. The park phone number is (559) 822-2332. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Sierra Valley RV Park, Beckwourth, (530) 832-1124


HUMBOLDT COUNTY

Azalea State Reserve, five miles north of Arcata, preserves outstanding examples of azaleas that generally bloom in April and May. The reserve has a parking lot and trails. For more information call the sector office at (707) 488-2041. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Mad River Rapids RV Park, Arcata, www.madriverrapids.com or (707) 822-7275
  • Widow White Creek RV Park, McKinleyville, (707) 839-1137


Humboldt Redwoods State Park, 20 miles north of Garberville, provides excellent displays of wildflowers along the Avenue of the Giants. Visitors will find Humboldt Lilies and orchids in late March to April and Dogwood in April into early May, depending on the warmth of the spring. For more information call the park visitor center at (707) 946-2263. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Ancient Redwoods RV Park, Redcrest, (707) 722-4396
  • Redcrest Resort, Redcrest, (707) 722-4208

 

HUMBOLDT AND DEL NORTE COUNTIES

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is 50 miles north of Eureka and 25 miles south of Crescent City on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway off of Highway 101. Careful observers in the park will find beautiful but elusive orchids among the ancient redwood groves as well as more prominent displays of rhododendrons along the parkway in late March through May. For more information call the park visitor center at (707) 464-6101 extension 5300. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • The Emerald Forest of Trinidad, Trinidad, www.rvintheredwoods.com or (707) 677-3554
  • Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground, Klamath, www.kampklamath.com or (707) 482-0227
  • Klamath River RV Park, Klamath, (707) 482-2091
  • Sounds of the Sea, Trinidad, www.soundsofthesea.us or (707) 677-3271


IMPERIAL, SAN DIEGO and RIVERSIDE COUNTIES


For information about wildflowers in bloom at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, east of San Diego via Highways 78 and 79, call (760) 767-4684 or go on-line to: http://www.anzaborrego.statepark.org/wildflowers.html. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Leapin’ Lizard RV Ranch, Borrego Springs, www.leapinlizardrvranch.com or (760) 767-4526
  • Springs at Borrego RV Resort, Borrego Springs, www.springsatborrego.com or (760) 767-0004

 

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15 miles west of Lancaster, generally features its greatest blooming period in March and April, depending on rain. For more information, call the park at (661) 942-0662. Information and photos about the park can be found online at www.parks.ca.gov. For recorded information about the poppy reserve and the blooms, call (661) 724-1180. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Acton Los Angeles North KOA, www.koa.com or (661) 268-1214
  • Soledad Canyon RV Resort and Campground, www.rvonthego.com/CA or (888) 479-5144


MARIN COUNTY

Mount Tamalpais State Park, North of San Francisco's Golden Gate, features spectacular and easily-accessed wildflowers each spring. Visitors can get to the park from Highway 101 take Highway 1 to the Stinson Beach exit and follow signs up the mountain. The park phone number is (415) 388-2070. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Golden Gate Trailer Park, Greenbrae, www.goldengatetrailerpark.com or (415) 924-0683
  • Marin Park Inc., Greenbrae, www.marinrvpark.com or (888) 461-5199


Olompali State Historic Park, three miles north of Novato on U.S. 101, also features spectacular and easily-accessed wildflowers each spring. The par entrance is accessible only to southbound traffic from Highway 101. The park phone number is (415) 892-3383. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Novato RV Park, Novato, www.novatorvpark.com or (415) 897-1271


MERCED COUNTY

Pacheco State Park is a good place to visit in April for wildflowers. The park is on Highway 152, located 20 miles east of Gilroy. The park phone number is (209) 826-1196. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Casa de Fruta Orchard Resort, Hollister, www.casadefruta.com or (408) 842-9316


MONO COUNTY

For late season wildflowers, Bodie State Historic Park, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, is blooming when the rest of California is wilting. The park’s 8,500 feet elevation insures that July is colorful. The sagebrush landscape provides unique mixing of plants from both the Great Basin and High Sierra. Call the park at (760) 647-6445 for more information. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Annetts Mono Village, Bridgeport, www.monovillage.com or (760) 932-7071
  • Willow Springs Motel RV Park, Bridgeport, (760) 932-7725


MONTEREY COUNTY

Andrew Molera State Park, 21 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, features a variety of springtime flowers. The park phone number is (831) 667-2315. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins, Big Sur, www.bigsurcamp.com or (831) 667-2322
  • Fernwood Resort, Big Sur, www.fernwoodbigsur.com or (831) 667-2422


Carmel River State Beach can be reached from Highway 1 in Carmel via Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road. Wildflowers can be found along the bluff trail. The park phone number is (831) 624-4909. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Carmel by the River RV Park, Carmel, www.carmelrv.com or (831) 624-9329


Garrapata State Park, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel, features the Soberanes canyon/ridge trail that winds through meadows, a riparian zone, a lovely redwood grove and an exposed coastal ridge. On certain sections of this trail visitors may feel that they’re swimming through flowers, which can include Shooting Stars, Johnny Jump Ups, Blue Dicks, Golden Buttercup, Elegant Clarkia, Goldfields, Douglas Iris, Checkerbloom, Star Zygadine, Fushia-flowered Gooseberry, Trillium, Tidy Tips, Footsteps of Spring and a fantastic variety of Bush Lupine. Visitors can also encounter the more common Monkey Flower, Seaside Painted Cups, Coyote Brush, Lizard Tail Yarrow, Mock Heather and Poppies. Visitors are advised that this is not a particularly easy hike. The first couple of miles are relatively flat and easy but the ridge can only be reached by a steep climb. For more information, the park phone number is (831) 624-4909. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Carmel by the River RV Park, Carmel, www.carmelrv.com or (831) 624-9329


Point Lobos State Park, three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, features a fairly easy hike with coastal bluff flowers. The park phone number is (831) 624-4909. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Carmel by the River RV Park, Carmel, www.carmelrv.com or (831) 624-9329


Salinas River State Beach, 16 miles north of Monterey and one mile south of Moss Landing, has a nice section of wildflowers along the boardwalk at Molera Road. The park phone number is (831) 384-7695. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Marina Dunes Beach Resort, Marina, (831) 384-6914
  • Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA, La Selva Beach, www.santacruzkoa.com or (800) 562-7701


Zmudowski State Beach, one mile north of Moss Landing, features wildflowers in late spring, although many of them on non-natives. The park phone number is (831) 384-7695. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Marina Dunes Beach Resort, Marina, (831) 384-6914
  • Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA, La Selva Beach, www.santacruzkoa.com or (800) 562-7701


SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY


Montaña de Oro State Park, seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Valley Road, can feature hills covered with poppies, lupines, sticky monkey flowers, wild radish and mustard. Best time to visit is April and May. For more information call (805) 528-0513 Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Nearby campgrounds include:

  • Bay Pines Travel Trailer Park, Morro Bay, www.baypinesrv.com or (805) 772-3223
  • Cypress Morro Bay, Morro Bay, (805) 772-2515
  • Morro Dunes Travel Trailer Park and Resort Campground, Morro Bay, www.morrodunes.com or (805) 772-2722
  • Rancho Colina, Morro Bay, (805) 772-8420


SANTA CLARA and STANISLAUS COUNTIES

Henry W. Coe State Park, in the mountains south and east of San Jose, is a wonderful place to see spring wildflowers. Early in the year visitors may see white milkmaids, blue hounds tongue, or yellow buttercups. As spring progresses, the flowers become more numerous with goldfields, owls clover, butter and eggs, columbine, delphinium, and may more. Visitors might even get lucky and see the tiny purple mouse ears. Short wildflower walks - less than two miles and less than two hours - are given every Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from the middle of March through the Memorial Day Weekend. For more information see the park website at www.coepark.org. The park phone number is (408) 779-2728. Nearby campgrounds include:

  •  Coyote Valley RV Resort, Morgan Hill, www.coyotevalleyresort.com or (408) 463-8400
  •  Morgan Hill RV Resort and Campground, Morgan Hill, www.rvonthego.com/ca or (888) 479-5144
  •  Oak Dell RV Park, Morgan Hill, www.oakdellpark.com or (408) 779-7779
  •  Uvas Pines RV Park, Morgan Hill, www.uvaspines.com or (408) 779-3417


SHASTA COUNTY

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, 11 miles northeast of Burney on Highway 89, features a variety of wildflowers in the spring. The park phone number is (530) 335-2777. Nearby campgrounds include:

  •  Hat Creek RV and RV Park, Old Station, www.hatcreekrv.com or (800) 568-0109
  •  Rancheria RV Park, Hat Creek, www.rancheriarv.com or (530) 335-7418


SHASTA and SISKIYOU COUNTIES

Castle Crags State Park, six miles south of Dunsmuir on I-5, has a variety of wildflowers in the spring. The park phone number is (530) 235-2684. Nearby campgrounds include:

  •  Fridays RV Retreat and McCloud Fly Fishing Ranch, McCloud, (530) 964-2878
  •  McCloud Dance Country RV Park, McCloud, www.mccloudrvpark.com or (530) 964-2252


TEHAMA COUNTY

Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area, six miles east of Corning and I-5 on South Avenue, has a variety of spring wildflowers. The park phone number is (530) 839-2112. Nearby campgrounds include:

  •  The Parkway RV Resort, Orland, (530) 865-9188

Visit California State Parks on-line at www.parks.ca.gov. For more information about camping opportunities near state parks, visit www.camp-california.com.