Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California is ablaze with colorful wildflower blooms thanks to 7 inches of winter rain (a few inches more than usual for Borrego). The Washington Post reports that it's the most prolific bloom since 1999.
“This is shaping up to be a great wildflower year!” the park wrote on its Facebook page on March 3. “…desert lilies are spectacular, and other annuals are coming along nicely! Make plans now to visit near the middle of the month.”
The state park is the largest in California, featuring 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails. You'll see flowers in bloom immediately as you arrive in the parking lot and at the visitors center.
Flowers of all colors — yellow, purple, pink, white and more — dot the landscape in a "rolling bloom," park officials say, meaning different fields will come into full bloom at different times.
Arizona lupine, Lupinus arizonicus, is an annual plant that's common around Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park in California.
The best time to see the flowers is in the morning because they close in the afternoon heat, the park says.
The park offers a few recommended flower-viewing routes. "Drive DiGiorgio Road to the end of the pavement, park, and get out to see up close desert lilies, spectacle pod, sand verbena and desert sunflowers," they suggest.
For those willing to venture onto dirt roads, the park says to continue on DiGiorgio Road to into Coyote Canyon for a couple miles where you'll find the “Desert Gardens” and see poppies, desert dandelions and beavertail cactus.
Nine different species of cactus have been reported in Harper Canyon, the park says, making it a must-stop for lovers of succulents.
Two species of pink and coral penstemon are in full bloom as of this writing.
These desert evening primrose are in bloom on Henderson Cyn Road.
The blooms likely will last for several weeks, the park says.
Arrived just as the sun disappeared behind the mountain. Stopped on our way to camp for a few photos. #mothernature #camping #rei1440project #optoutside #discoverearth #anzaborrego #wildflowers #superbloom #desert #sunset #adventure #adventurecouple #goexplore #gooutside #getoutstayout #soulfood #beautifuldestinations #thegreatoutdoors #explorecalifornia #exploreenjoylovelive
Before and after a super bloom
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park isn't the only place experiencing the super bloom, however. It's happening in a few different parks around California, and it's making a real difference in the landscape. In fact, some of the changes made made by super blooms can be seen from space, as evidenced from these images taken by Planet Labs.
The super bloom in Los Padres National Forest has brought the area alive with green and yellow. Here's the park in December 2016:
And here's the park in March 2017, looking very much like spring with the super bloom: