Wildflower hikes are something my family cherishes. It never rains in Southern California…those were our famous last words even as the storm was rolling in and our streets began to flood. Being that rain is such an anomaly, I revel in what little showers we have in the first few months of the year. Because of the historic winter storms that drenched much of the Southland and the recent warm weather, we are now experiencing a beautiful Spring Bloom in Orange County. And my family is eagerly look forward to some wildflower hikes.
Wildflowers are beautiful to look at but also serve as nectar, fruit, and seed for animals and next year’s flower plants. One of the most popular places to see wildflowers is in the Anza-Borrego Desert. While the location isn’t terribly far (an approximate 3 hour drive), it can be crowded and requires that guests make their visit a day trip. If you live in Los Angeles or Orange County, you can see an expansive array of wildflowers! Many of the hikes are ideal for beginners and children and offer spectacular views.
The Best Wildflower Hikes in Orange County
- Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park: This 2500 acre park features riparian and oak woodland canyons, rolling grassland hills and steep slopes of coastal sage scrub and chaparral. Scenic rock formations, including Red Rock Canyon can be seen as well as 3 streams: Borrego, Serrano and Aliso Creek. The park is open 7 days a week from 7 am to sunset.
- Bommer Canyon: This is the ideal location for self-guided hikes where you’ll find oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops. The canyon is home to the sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) and popcorn flower (Cryptantha intermedia).
- Buck Gully Reserve: Located in the coastal canyon of Newport Beach, the area spans 1200 acres and includes portions of the San Joaquin foothills. The bush sunflower (Encelia californica) in bloom along the trails.
- First Day of Spring Wildflower Hunt: See the season’s first bloom on this guided hike through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. On March 20th, embark on a moderate, 2-mile hike to see the first spring wildflowers. Reservations are required and can be made online. Adults and children over the age of 16 are welcome to join.
- Irvine Lake View Hike: This interpretive hike takes place on March 26th, 2017 and offers stunning views of Irvine Lake and Spring Wildflowers. Hikers over the age of 12 are welcome. It should be noted that this is a 6-mile hike.
- Wildflower Walk Black Star Canyon: This easy, 1-mile hike is ideal for even young hikers 10 and over and features a walk through Black Star Canyon. Views include the surrounding canyons, rolling hills, red rocks and changing habitats. Join this guided hike on April 3rd.
24 Hours of Wildflowers
To celebrate the beginning of Spring and the Wildflower Season, Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks will host 24 Hours of Wildflowers beginning at 9 am on March 21st, 2017. Every hour for 24 hours, they will feature a different native wildflower.
To see the wildflower takeover on Tuesday, visit the following social media channels.
Hashtags: #321Bloom, #24HoursofWildflowers, #OCMountainstoSea