If you missed California’s first super bloom in Anza Borrego Desert State Park and Walker Canyon (maybe you just wanted to avoid the mayhem that ensued and we don’t blame you), or if you just want to have more flowers in your life, this news will be most welcome. According to Travel & Leisure, another wildflower bloom is projected for the state this summer. Rare plants and yellow, orange, red, and purple wildflowers are expected in the Eastern Sierra, such as the elevated trails of Mammoth Lakes. The San Bernardino Mountains, just outside of Los Angeles, can also expect a wildflower surge.
Although the wildflowers typically hit peak bloom in spring, the snowfall this year has been heavier than usual, meaning the mountains are taking longer to warm up and the flowers are delayed in appearing. Blake Engelhardt, forest botanist at Inyo National Forest, said, “Relatively cool temperatures through March seem to be delaying emergence of plants so far, but when it starts to warm, it should green up pretty quickly. With so much snow above 8,000 feet, peak wildflowers at the higher elevations may not be until late July or early August, when they get unburied. I’m expecting great wildflowers in the desert and sagebrush scrub on the eastern slopes in May-June.”
In the Mammoth Lakes region, there are plenty of hikes that will take you through the wildflower blooms, including the Agnew Meadows Wildflower Loop and the Mammoth Mountain Trail. At Big Bear Valley, further south and east of LA, visitors can see the wildflowers on a guided wildflower hike led by a botanist and volunteers from the Southern California Mountains Foundation. The area is home to over 20 endemic wildflowers not seen anywhere else in the world. Free guided hikes are available on weekends, and there’s also a half-mile self-guided interpretive trail with educational markers about the rare flowers.
According to Scott Eliason, botanist at the Forest Service of San Bernardino National Forest Mountain Top District, “2019 is shaping up to be a great year for wildflowers in the Big Bear area […] Wetter areas, shaded north facing slopes, and higher elevations are expected to continue to bloom well into the summer.”
Some plants have already started to peek through, though it’s still quite early and the best is yet to come. As usual, if you go and check out the blooms, make sure to stay on the trails to save the plants from being trampled on and don’t pick any.
H/T: Travel & Leisure