If you’ve never experienced a desert wildflower bloom, you’ll instantly realize how much you’ve been missing out on when you visit the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California. You’ll be greeted by a stunning display of poppies, primroses, lilies and all kinds of wildflowers you’ve never heard of. That’s a good thing, because you’ll be even more in awe. You might even spot a bighorn sheep on the rocks.
Before you start trekking through the desert, we highly recommend starting at the visitors center. Anza Borrego is the largest state park in the lower 48 states, spanning San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties. It covers more than 1,000 square miles and 650,000 acres. You’ll want a little guidance.
At the center, you’ll learn about ranger guided tours, the history of the park, programs and events. You’ll gain more appreciation for the ecology of the park, and you’ll find a full-sized model of the Aiolornis incredibilis, the largest bird ever in the northern hemisphere whose fossils have been found in the desert.
When Will The Anza Borrego Wildflowers Bloom?
Great question! There’s a convenient place to get the answer each year. Visit this website to learn more about when the Anza Borrego wildflowers will bloom and even whether you’ll see a super bloom, a time when you’ll see an explosion of wildflowers beyond the normal spring bloom. The site also offers up-to-date advice on where the blooms are each year. The timing varies from year to year, but you can generally expect the blooms between February and March. The California Department of Parks and Recreation also maintains a daily blog about the wildflowers. You can also call their Wildflower Hotline at 760-767-4684.
What You’ll See
In Anza Borrego Desert State Park, you’ll be greeted by entire fields of one kind of wildflower: a sea of dainty yellow wooly sunflowers or the elegant purple Arizona lupine or orange California poppies, the state flower. Here and there you’ll find clusters of purple thistle and white primrose. You’ll find 92 different plant families, 346 genera and hundreds of flowering species here—wow!