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Carrizo Plain: Exploring 'the Serengeti of the West'

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on May 13, 2013, 2:26 p.m.
Carrizo Plain National Monument

Photo: peace-on-earth.org/Flickr

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Painted hills

Carrizo Plain National Monument is perhaps most well known for what happens here during just a few weeks of the year. If enough rain falls during winter and early spring and the temperatures are right, then during mid-March to mid-April, the hills come alive with vibrant colors and wildflowers burst into bloom. Huge swaths of hillsides and plain are covered in bright oranges, yellows, and purples as dozens of species of plants — goldenbrush, purple bush lupine, filaree, white popcorn flower, golden poppies, cream cups, delphinium, goldfields, desert candles and many more — open their flowers. These vivid blooms do not happen every year, but when conditions are favorable, what a show these flowers provide!