Wildflowers on display in California's hidden gem

ByTim Sarquis Localish logo
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Wildflowers on display in California's hidden gem
Off the beaten path, Carrizo Plain National Monument is the perfect place to be one with nature and experience California's epic wildflower blooms.

San Luis Obispo County, CA -- Nestled about 50 miles east of California's central coast is Carrizo Plain National Monument. It's the states largest, last remaining native grassland frozen in time. The monument covers 250,000 acres and stretches more than 50 miles north to south.

The last few years have made Carrizo Plain more popular with visitors looking for wildflowers and wildlife. California's intense rainy seasons and sunshine have made Carrizo Plain a superbloom destination for many.

Gabe Garcia, field manager for the Bureau of Land Management explains many things need to happen for a superbloom to take place. "A lot of that has to do with when the rain hits, how much rain we get, how many seeds are in the soil to germinate."

2023 was a big year for the superbloom after record rainfall throughout California and it put Carrizo Plain on the map. "We typically get about 150,000 visitors here at the Carrizo Plain National Monument per year. Last year with the bloom, we had about 125,000 visitors just in a one month period," says Garcia.

This year, Carrizo Plain is seeing an average size bloom, painting the valley and hills with spots of yellow and purple. Wildflower season only lasts a few weeks and typically happens late March into mid April. If you plan to make the trip to Carrizo Plain, make sure to come prepared. The monument is off the beaten path, 40 miles from the nearest gas station or market. Garcia explains, "you need to make sure you're going to have enough water, you're going to have enough food if you're coming out. Make sure you bring a lunch, bring some snacks. And and on the flipside of that, make sure you're packing it out."

Access to Carrizo Plain can be difficult at times as well. After wet weather, roads can be rutted and muddy. Make sure that your vehicle is appropriate for the conditions.

Carrizo Plain is a hidden gem and it's the goal of Garcia and the Bureau of Land Management to make sure it's preserved for Californians for years to come. "A lot of folks these days, they see stuff only on their computer screens. Getting everybody out to be able to see this in person, be able to see wildflowers up close and personal, be able to touch them and drive through an area that has remained unchanged over the last 200 years."

To learn more about the Carrizo Plain National Monument, check out their website.