Top Ten Wildflower-Viewing Spots

California poppies and lupine flowers in the Tehachapi Mountains
California poppies and lupine brighten up the Tehachapi Mountains (Rich Reid/National Geographic/Getty)

1. California
California's Joshua Tree National Park has interesting rock formations and plenty of variety where wildflowers are concerned. The Joshua trees produce large clustered cream-colored blooms as early as late February. Starting in March the lower elevations are covered in wildflowers, including desert dandelion, purple verbena, dainty white forget-me-nots, and desert lavender, but you'll have to wait until April or May for the cactus to bloom. On a good year, the park's Cholla Cactus Garden will be full of color when the hairy arms of the cactus sprout bright pink flowers.

The shimmering orange California poppy, the state flower, can be spotted along Southern California roadways and on hikes in the hills in the spring. To see them in profusion, head to the Antelope Valley in the Mojave Desert, where fields surrounding the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster become a sea of orange from mid-March to May.

Check out more photos of Joshua Tree National Park.

Published: 21 Mar 2009 | Last Updated: 8 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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