|Carrizo Plains Super bloom ...|
If you are into wildflowers, you know that a super bloom at Carrizo Plains is huge! Seeing central California’s Carrizo Plains National Monument in bloom has been on my Bucket list for years. Drought & proximity have been the problem in past years but with a super bloom this year, I made a 15 hour trek to see the bloom. It was past peak in many areas but I was not disappointed!
I had trouble finding the Hurricane / Crocker Springs Road thru the Temblor range on the east side. Stopped a guy in a Jeep in the area of the petro facilities outside of Taft but sadly his directions lead me to the paved entry via CA-33 /CA-58. I really wanted to go thru the Temblor mountain 4wd road but I certainly was not disappointed on the paved route as winding up the green hills on CA-58 then looking over the San Joaquin valley & descending again with yellows on both sides of the road. It was absolutely beautiful!
I went down 7 Mile Rd to Elkhorn road that parallels the base of the mountains on the east side of the park to Wallace creek to see the San Andreas fault (not overly exciting) & then down to a closed gate with a trail up into the hills. (There were many cars parked here so it was easy to find.) The trial split and you could stay along the base of the hills or go high… I went high and was rewarded with incredibly beautiful views. I heard someone describe Carrizo Plains as the place ‘where God spilled the paint buckets’ and it certainly seemed that way with yellows, oranges and purple’s painting the hillsides. Just breathtaking! (Top pic is from that trail)
|There are folks on that lower trail|
|The high road trail|
After I returned back, the day was waning & I opted to head back down to Simmler road and cross over the plain to Soda Lake road. The flowers here were knee high, abundant and beautiful even though they were past peak. I was able to stop and get a couple of pics at Soda Lakes before the sun dropped behind the hills. The glimmer of the yellows at twilight on the trip over 7 Mile Rd and up CA-58 and the lights of the valley capped a fine first trip to this National Monument!
|Golda the Adventure Dog enjoying the Super bloom!|
|From the plain looking east towards the Temblor Range|
|Checking out the Soda Lakes|
Notes: The TheodorePayne.org flower hotline suggested that Elkhorn road required a high clearance vehicle. The roads were dry on my visit and all of the sections that I drove on were easily accessible by passenger cars.