California’s Super Bloom ~ Visit The Best Way


Patti at the 2019 Super Bloom!

Go ahead, ask. After weeks of poorly behaved flower lovers overrunning the super bloom poppy fields of Southern California, how did I get this photo with no one around? I drove to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. And didn’t even arrive by helicopter, like the skofflaws who landed there illegally that very afternoon.

There WERE considerate people there for the most part; nobody wrecked our experience, or photos, or fun. I shot plenty of angles with no one in the background.

My friend Cathi and I packed a picnic (they have picnic tables), left West LA by 8 AM, drove north on the 405 to the 14 to Lancaster, and had an experience we may never have again. The flowers blew our minds. Blew. Our. Minds.

At the invitation of the park, we attended a press conference and tour to help promote “how to do this the right way.” The super bloom was about a month into the season, with many weeks still left.

Rangers Press Conference

Here is why I’d ONLY go to this state park, instead of rogue ways.

  1. Toilets, food, parking, water – They had me at toilets! But with a minimum number of parking spaces, if you don’t get in time for one, you can still park on the main road and walk in. There is a well paved walking path. Arrival goal? Probably by 9 AM.
  2. It’s a state natural reserve. With dedicated – but really nice – rangers who live, eat and breathe nature. I was told that during the last super bloom, 2017, many of the rangers experienced PTSD from visitor behavior – they couldn’t sleep, couldn’t talk with family about how horrible it was. Since then, the park upped its game to make this visit experience the best, yet the most protective of the flowers.
  3. It’s ADA compliant. Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches… you can do this.
  4. It has important rules that will keep this reserve beautiful for more super blooms to come. In other words, if you have the Jerk Gene, we hate you. Don’t even THINK of stepping off the trails (which are very wide and do not obstruct views, frankly). Don’t be That Person who waits for the ranger to turn her back, then plops his/her greedy ass onto the flowers to get the “money shot.” Wanna know a secret? You post that photo on social media, it is geo-tagged, this allows the powers-that-be to see what you’ve posted and if it is illegal or inaccurate, you’ll be contacted and possibly seriously cited. I love that.
  5. More to observe than just poppies, there is info about critters, Joshua trees, other little varieties of flowers, natural waterways. It’s a nature day, go to the Interpretive Center to get your $10 parking money’s worth.

Excellent bathrooms

Educational Interpretive Center

Check the website a day or two ahead of your planned visit for updates. The park is open sunrise to sunset.

Here is what a Butt Scar looks like two years after this person walked on the flowers and sat down. TWO YEARS and the precious roots have not survived:

That was someone’s selfish butt plopped onto the flowers, bottom right.

Bad behavior, you killed the flowers!

If you are asking, “they have a bazillion flowers, who cares if I kill a few?” I guess the rest of us care, stupid. WE CARE. It’s magical and precious and special and not guaranteed to come back again.

And that photo you took in your pretty bridesmaid dresses, or your toddler’s Easter suit, sneaking into the flower fields, will forever mark you as one of those people who selfishly took your photo. We will see your photo on your Christmas card and we will know. Poppy Murderer (yes, I can be harsh when it comes to Mother Nature).

In fact, we learned that only 12 years ago, this reserve had exactly 58 poppy flowers during the season. No flowers. So, let’s make sure those little guys come back, OK?

  • Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
  • Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, year-round
  • Located 15 miles west of Highway 14 near the city of Lancaster. The visitor center (and bathrooms) are 1/2 mile north of the intersection of 150th St. W. and Lancaster Road.

Joshua Trees here and there.

Well, well, another reason to not sit on the poppies!

They are so loverly.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barb Ostmann March 28, 2019 at 3:05 pm

I’ve been dying to get to California to see the super bloom, but thought it was too late. Good to know there is still time, and thanks for telling us about this magical place to see it! Loved your comments. And I had no idea how much damage a person could cause by sitting amid the poppies. Thanks for posting that info and shaming anyone who attempts it!

2 Patricia@FreshFoodinaFlash March 27, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Thank you Patti for the rules and regs of poppy viewing! I didn’t know all the ramifications of the people trampling through those beautiful fields, but now I do. We went on Sunday and they were absolutely stunning! You can see the orange hills from the freeway off ramp. Very worthwhile trip. It took nearly two hours to get there from west Los Angeles. I will luckily see again on my way back from Mammoth Mountain in a couple weeks.
PS. We saw some people getting a ticket for stepping off the path from the police. Overheard that they had to appear in court in Lancaster. These rangers are very serious!!

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