BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. – After a particularly wet winter these past few months, Californians are in for a colorful bloom of wildflowers this spring.
State park officials are forecasting a “good” to “better-than-average” wildflower bloom through April, depending on the continued weather conditions.
While some of the more spectacular blooms will be happening farther north, wildflowers enthusiasts can check out some in places a little closer to home, like in Anza-Borrego Park.
“We are having a wonderful, even spectacular wildflower bloom in parts of the Anza-Borrego Desert,” Dan McCamish, senior environmental scientist for the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks, said to FOX5SanDiego.com.
“This year we’re experiencing much more localized blooming, although some areas are getting some of those carpets, it’s just not as widespread as it has been in the past,” he continued.
Among the wildflower species already popping up in the region, McCarmish said there are plenty of sand verbena, wooly sunflowers, desert lilies and brown-eyed primroses.
Poppies can be spotted in some areas of the Anza-Borrego Park, like a desert poppy and a micro-desert poppy, but the bigger orange and yellow California poppies generally grow more up North.
Just how big the bloom this season in Anza-Borrego will be depends on precipitation patterns and temperatures in the coming months.
“We’re having blooms already,” McCamish said, referencing the storms that moved through the region since September. “Our public lands in the Anza-Borrego State Park are about 90 miles North to south and 40 to 50 miles east to west, so you can cover a lot of ground in those acres, but one section, depending on the rain, may be more beautiful than other sections right now.”
Some of those areas with more plentiful blooms are on the Southern end of the park that got a little more rain with recent storm systems, like the area off Interstate 8 near the Ocotillo Wind Farms and along the June Wash river.
On the Northern end of the park, though, there are still some good places to view regional blooms, including Coyote Canyon and Palm Canyon.
McCamish encourages anyone who plans on visiting during the season to do so responsibly by staying on trails and treading lightly to avoid stepping on or squashing the flowers.
“We want to try to preserve these and let them run through their life cycles naturally,” he said. That way, “We can have more flowers in the future (and can) preserve the beautiful environment for other visitors who come and see.”
For those looking to travel to see the wildflowers, here are some additional tips McCamish shared with FOX5SanDiego.com:
- Plan ahead and know where you’re going before you leave your house. Check with the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, either by calling or visiting their website, to find the bloom sites you want to visit and make sure you know how to get there.
- Driving through the park, you might have to drive off a paved road and onto a park trail system, which is usually dirt and not compatible with all cars. If you can, McCamish suggests either using an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle when taking the trip out or to plan around your vehicle’s limitations by visiting alternative sites.
- Don’t count on your cell service. McCamish said cell service can get spotty, so either bring a physical map or a GPS-capable device that doesn’t rely on a cell connection.
- Bring water and food. Some sites require a short hike to reach, so make sure you have supples for that.
- Check the weather before you leave and prepare for both hot and cold temperatures. McCamish said the period of time between winter and spring can see weather swing to either end of the spectrum throughout the day.