Sample Trip
More Wildflowers of Anza-Borrego and Death Valley

Record-breaking rains hit much of Southern California in late 2004 and early 2005 resulting in one of the best wildflower blooms in over ten years!  Many of the desert regions have received over 300% of normal rainfall this season - and it's not over yet!  Already in February, spectacular wildflower blooms have began in both Anza-Borrego and Death Valley and the bloom is expected to last until early May.

April's Trip of the Month is an extension of last month's Trip as we've added more wildflower pictures from Other Places in the Mojave Desert.

   Anza-Borrego Photo Tour

   Death Valley Photo Tour

                    Photo Tour of Other Places

 

This Trip of the Month is not an excerpt from one of our Guides, but will be included in future Guides so that you can find the best spots for great blooms in both regions.  Different types of soil and other conditions within a particular region produce different types of flowers.

Anza-Borrego State Park

Most of the wildflowers in Anza-Borrego can be seen from paved roads and many other blooms are located via dirt roads that don't require 4WD.  For up-to-date information on where the flowers are blooming, check out the State Park's special website or their main website.

   See Map

Two significant blooms of both the Desert Sand Verbena and the Desert Sunflower can be seen along a 3 mile stretch of Henderson Canyon Road.  This area is just west of the intersection of Henderson Canyon Road and County Route S-22.

All around the park are large blooms of the Brown-Eyed Primrose.  These can be seen in most places, however one of the best spots we found was around the Borrego Mountain area.  Also found around Borrego Mountain, specifically Hawk Canyon, were large fields of purple Lupine.

Coyote Canyon is another great place to see many different types of wildflowers in bloom.  Although the blooms here are not as large as the ones along Henderson Canyon Road, the expanse of Coyote Canyon offers many varieties of flowering plants.

A spectacular but non-native flower bloom can be seen at the La Casa del Zorro resort outside of Borrego Springs.  See their website for more details.

Anza Borrego Wildflower Photo Tour:
Click on picture to enlarge
Pictures taken: February 12-13, 2005

Purple Desert Sand Verbena seen on the west side of Di Giorgio Road.  Borrego Palm Canyon is in the background.
Close-up of a Dune Evening-Primrose.  You can still see the morning dew on the petals.
Another close-up of a Dune Evening-Primrose, but in subdued light.
A cluster of Dune Evening-Primroses.
The many flowers along Henderson Canyon Road.  Where there is sand, as seen in this picture, you will likely see Sand Verbena and the Dune Evening Primrose.
More flowers along Henderson Canyon Road.
Fields of Desert Sand Verbena can be found on the east end of Henderson Canyon Road.
Here we see three flowers: the Dune Evening-Primrose, Desert Sand Verbena and an early Desert Lily.  The lilies are more common around April.
The impressive Desert Sunflower bloom along Henderson Canyon Road.
This picture demonstrates the size of the bloom.  The area covers an area roughly one mile wide by two miles in length.
There are acres of yellow blooms! 
This 360 animated panorama shows the size of the Henderson Canyon Road bloom.  Note that this is a large file and may take between 30 seconds and a couple of minutes to load.
A typical scene in Coyote Canyon right now: a multitude of colors mixed in with various types of cactus.
We think this is a Scarlet Milkvetch or Scarlet Locoweed.  This was found near the second river crossing in Coyote Canyon.
Indigo Bush also found near the second crossing.
Close-up of the Indigo Bush's blooms.  The seed pods seen in the lower left look like little Easter eggs.
This small "pincushion" cactus is in full bloom already.  They were plentiful after the third river crossing and just before the road becomes very rough.
Here is some Desert Dandelion.
Brittlebush is plentiful throughout the Mojave and Sonora deserts.  One of the best and easiest places to enjoy them is along I-15 between Victorville and Las Vegas.
This big Brittlebush is found at the beginning of the Lower Willows hiking trail at the third crossing in Coyote Canyon.
This Agave Desertii was blooming early for February.  Normally, you can spot many of these tall blooms around May.
A close-up of the Desertii's bloom.
There was a magnificent bloom of lupine in Hawk Canyon located in Borrego Mountain.
Lupine with the rocks of Hawk Canyon in the background.
A rare pink lupine.  If you look around the lupine fields long enough, you will probably find one.
Lupine look even better when they are backlit by the sun.
All around Borrego Mountain you can find fields of Brown-eyed Evening-Primrose.
These Primroses were near The "Slot" - a slot canyon in Borrego Mountain.
Close-up of some weather beaten Primroses.  It rained quite heavily the day before this picture was taken.
This small, mysterious succulent was found in abundance near The "Slot".
The non-native yellow and orange flowers planted around the La Casa del Zorro resort.
The flowers seem to go on forever.
Close-up of the flowers.

Death Valley National Park

Like Anza-Borrego, most of the wildflower blooms in Death Valley can be seen from paved roads.  Most of the blooms are found along Badwater Road in the southern portion of the park around Ashford Mill.

There are other blooms occurring all around the park.  For up-to-date information on where the flowers are blooming, check out Death Valley's special website or their main website.  Thanks to the fact that water runs-off and collects near paved roads, some of the best blooms are right along side.

   See Map

Death Valley usually receives less than 2 inches of rain per year but, beginning in August of 2004, it has been an exceptionally rainy year.  It has rained steadily throughout the winter which means wildflowers will probably be blooming until May.

Death Valley Wildflower Photo Tour:
Click on picture to enlarge
Pictures taken: February 26-28, 2005

Here is the main actor of the bloom below: the Desert Sunflower.
The colorful Black Mountains of Death Valley make for a great background to this colossal bloom of yellow sunflowers.
Blankets of yellow flowers are terraced up on the hillside.
The multi-colored Black Mountains in the foreground and the 11,000 foot high Panamint Mountains in the background.
A field of flowers is a little girl's dream!
The Ashford Mill ruins with the above-normal flow of the Amargosa River in the background.  Notice the hill in the background is covered in yellow flowers, too.
Peeking out of Ashford Mill.
Around Ashford Mill look for the Desert Five-Spot that are scattered in with the Desert Sunflowers.
Close-up of the Desert Five-Spot.
More fields of Desert Sunflowers are found north of Ashford Mill with the jagged Black Mountains in the background.
About one fourth of the way up Galena Canyon's 4WD road, you'll find a large field of Golden Evening-Primrose.  Galena Canyon is about five miles northwest of Ashford Mill and is currently difficult to get to without having a 4WD vehicle.
Golden Evening-Primrose and purple Phacelia along Galena Canyon Road.
Desert Chicory found in Galena Canyon.  This white flower is very common throughout the Mojave Desert.
This very small flower, the Lesser Mojavea, was found at the top of Galena Canyon.
The small scale of the Lesser Mojavea is shown in this picture.
The reason for the abundance of wildflowers in Death Valley?  Water!
Since ancient Lake Manly dried up over 2,000 years ago, the collection of this much water in the Death Valley basin happens rarely.  We've heard that the last time was over 100 years ago!  Normally, the lowest spot in the United States (Badwater), has no water but this year there is a lake almost 20 miles long and a few miles wide!

Back to  Trip of the Month

Other Places Photo Tour:

The entire Mojave Desert is experiencing great wildflower blooms!  These pictures are from different locations around the desert and were taken in March & April of 2005.

Driving along S.R. 138, between S.R. 14 and I-5, you'll see some great poppy blooms.  This shot was taken about 10 miles west of S.R. 14 right along 138 and about 5 miles south of the famous Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.  Here are very small, yellow daisy-type flowers called Goldfields with some California Poppies mixed in.
Throughout the Antelope and Victor Valley's, there are literally billions of these very small, Goldfield flowers blanketing the desert floor.  This hill is also along S.R. 138.
The Calico Mountains near Barstow are also showing a very good bloom with many different varieties of flowers.
This patch of sunflowers is in the Calico Mountains.
The Mojave Aster was not common in the other desert regions we have recently visited but was plentiful all over the Calico Mountains area.
These Small Desert Stars were also plentiful around Calico.
The Brittlebush is blooming in very large quantities on the south side of the Calico Mountains.  This picture was taken at the main opening of the 1880's era Odessa Mine located in the canyon of the same name.
This flowering Rock Nettle (a.k.a. Sting Bush) was found while hiking the trail along Salt Creek Hills located just south of Dumont Dunes (between Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve).
View of the entire Rock Nettle plant.  Like its cousin the Stinging Nettle that's found in wet areas, this type of nettle also "stings" when you brush against it.
There was plenty of this very small and delicate Lilac Sunbonnet along the Salt Creek Hills trail.
A close-up of the Lilac Sunbonnet.
Several patches of Desert Star were found along the Salt Creek Hills trail, too.
The red arrow in this picture points out a happy bug on this large Brittlebush found along the Salt Creek Hills hiking trail.
Don't wait too long to get out and see the wildflowers!  This happy beetle (from the previous picture) finds those flowers very tasty!

Last updated August 28, 2011.

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