February 1, 2019
5 Places to See the Wildflowers in L.A., Near Topanga
By: Karina Anastasia Roche
Rains in Southern California come too few, but when the winter showers do bless the landscape, the result is an eruption of color and greenery. In February, March, April, and May, the hills turn a vibrant green, floral scents are heavy in the air, and the desert and mountains alike leave their dry colors behind for a more festive look. If you're in the area and wondering where to see wildflowers in Southern California, we've compiled this list for flower lovers. Catch the colors while you can, and visit one of these locations famous for their wildflower blooms.
1. Topanga Canyon & Topanga State Park
1/3 mile from Topanga Canyon Inn
After the many fires in Southern California this year, the winter rains came early, long, and hard, but a welcome downpour for the scarred and burnt mountains. Topanga was left untouched by the wildfires, but received a torrent of water, leaving us greener than ever. This wildflower oasis just a short drive from Los Angeles is full of spring flowers; they're popping up along the roadside and in the open spaces in our gardens. For a beautiful wildflower hike, walk up the street from the inn into Topanga State Park. The trailhead is just a third of a mile walk up the street from the inn. Many of our guests enjoy hiking up to the main feature of the park, Elephant/Eagle Rock, before sitting down to our 9AM breakfast-the walk there and back is about an hour total. During this time of year mornings tend to be foggy and cooler, allowing you to better enjoy the scenic views of Santa Monica Bay and the distant transverse mountain ranges. We highly recommend the hike up to Elephant Rock (recently renamed Eagle Rock), located at the first T in the trail. This viewpoint overlooks the mountains, Pacific Ocean, and all the beauty of the canyon. Study the horizon for the silhouette of Catalina Island on a clear day, and see if you can spy a boat making its way across the bay.
Tip: Make sure to bring one of our maps, included in the booklet in your room, and help yourself to lots of bottled water in our common kitchen refrigerators. The climate is dry in California, and occasional spring days get very warm.
Cliffside Dr & Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA, 90265
Point Dume at sunset or swathed in moonlight is one of L.A.'s lesser-known romantic treasures. We are not sure how fast the wildflowers will repopulate after the fire but usually, during the spring Point Dume Nature Preserve is awash in wildflowers. The bluffs of northern Malibu form a natural terrace over the ocean, gazing towards the other side of the bay. Hike up a trail through bushes of wildflowers to the hidden side of the bluffs for the best sights: a viewing deck with benches allows you to rest and soak in the views, and perhaps spot some sea lions frolicking on the narrow beach below. For a longer walk, drive down to Zuma Beach, a 4-mile beach of soft sand, waves, the sensuous California sun (and places to park for free)!
150th St W & Lancaster Road, Lancaster, CA, 93536
This Mojave Desert grassland habitat is located in the high desert--but in the spring, the normally forbidding, hot climate gives way to rainbows of wildflowers. The gently rolling hills covered in orange poppies look like the fields that overlook Emerald City in "The Wizard of Oz," and trails allow you to explore the flora without damaging the ecosystem. Wheelchair accessible paths make this a great visit for everyone, and benches give you a place to rest and soak in the colors. Just make sure to stay on the trails--you don't want to get surprised by a rattlesnake hiding under the foliage! If you can, check the weather before leaving to avoid picking a windy day: in springtime, the desert can get extremely blustery. Parking in the lot is $10.
200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
Inland from San Diego and the largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego undergoes a complete metamorphosis in the spring. The sculpted, eroded landscape, which otherwise looks as if all moisture has been sucked from its rocky face, fills with a sea of wildflowers in spring. The contrast of desert hills, like something from the set of Star Wars, contrasted with a cacophony of colorful and lively flowers, is a breathtaking sight. Parking by the visitor center is $10.
Via Goleta and Lynn Road, Newbury Park, CA, 91320
Just before the farmlands of Ventura County, springtime Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa park is a natural beauty reborn. After a May 2013 burnt large portions of the park and Point Mugu, the land is recovering, revealing the wonder of nature when it heals itself. Take a hike to enjoy the wildflowers blooming during this time of year and visit the Native American Indian Cultural Center; or, if you're feeling energetic and have all day, hike to the ocean. The best part is that parking is free!
Californians see fewer seasonal color changes than other parts of the country, due to the milder alterations in temperature. Some say we have no seasons. But when spring comes, we know it. Color is everywhere. Book your stay with us now and enjoy the wildflowers while they last!