California is so dreamy in the spring. The sunny weather is perfect for laying out by the beach, and bright orange poppies – our native state flower – will be starting to bloom. One of the best places to see this gorgeous floral display is Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve just outside of Lancaster, where the fields become filled with a sea of tangerine from March through May. And there’s no better time to visit than now – they recently announced that patches on the eastern end of the park are just beginning to open.
The reserve is about two hours north of L.A. on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. It’s open all year but most popular for its huge clusters of wild poppies in the spring. Usually the blooming season will start around March/April (sometimes as early as mid-February) and last through May.
Of course the peak blooming time varies, depending on weather conditions every year. Admission is free, with hiking trails that kick off right from the parking lot and benches along the way where you can sit and take a break. The reserve has eight miles of paths total that wind through the lush rolling fields, including a section that’s wheelchair-accessible.
How bright the colors are – and how intense their scent is – both differ every year. Other types of wildflowers bloom in the park as well, including purple lupines and slender keel fruit, and provide endless opportunities for floral photography.
For the latest updates on how much these flowers have bloomed, check out the State Park website here. You can also call the reserve ahead of time to know the current status before heading all the way out there. The number for their hotline is (661) 724-1180. Another state park with poppies is Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay.
It’s especially breathtaking by sunset. Have you seen these bright orange poppies blooming before? We’d love to hear about your experience below.