- 1 / 12Diablo Valley, Northern CaliforniaHead just east of San Francisco to Diablo Valley—home to the almost 4,000-foot-tall Mount Diablo—anytime between March and May, and you're bound to see an array of wildflowers covering the earth. This area is prime for hiking, and the farther you go, the more colors you'll see. Look for this star lily on the Eagle Peak Trail.Photo courtesy of Save Mount Diablo
- 2 / 12Lake County, Northern CaliforniaDrive 125 miles north of San Francisco and you'll hit Lake County. It's central point is Clear Lake, which is where you'll find the most stunning wildflower views. Look out for California poppies, like the ones pictured here, as well as violet Arroyo lupine, hill lotus, and tiny, bright yellow wooly sunflowers. The best time to visit is quintessential spring, between March and June.Photo courtesy of Lake County
- 3 / 12Lake Tahoe, Northern CaliforniaLake Tahoe pulls off the winter wonderland look flawlessly, but it does spring just as well. Once the snow melts, it's time to plan a trip. Waist-high lupine like these are a common sighting around the lake, while Alpine lilies cover the mountains.Photo by BrinR Photo for North Lake Tahoe
- 4 / 12Point Arena, Northern CaliforniaMendocino County's Point Arena explodes with thousands of wild blooming daffodils between March and June. The coastal town is an easy stop off Highway One on your way between San Francisco and Mendocino proper—meaning there's no excuse to not stop off and take a few snapshots.
Photo by Tom Hilton/Flickr
- 5 / 12Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve, Northern CaliforniaThe wine in Sonoma County is divine and plentiful, as are the wildflowers—though the latter is more of a secret. The Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve springs to life with checkerbloom flowers, lupine, California buttercups and more in March. The preserve is private land, but the public can get a free hiking tour through the blooms in March and April through the Sonoma Ecology Center.Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
- 6 / 12Channel Islands National Park, Central CaliforniaOff the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties floats the diverse Channel Islands National Park. With over 775 species of plants growing there, it's no surprise spring wildflower season is especially wild for the islands. Our vote for most stunning are the bright yellow coreopsis flowers, which hit peak bloom between January and the end of March. There's plenty to see through late spring—like lupine flowers, poppies, and blossoms—and the park documents it all in a handy annual flower guide for visitors.
Photo by Abe Borker
- 7 / 12Eastern Sierra, Central CaliforniaMono County, which sits inside part of Yosemite National Park, is home to the Eastern Sierra, where wildflower extends from May through August. Tiger lilies, yellow mule ears, violet lupine, and red Indian paintbrush are just a few of the most common blooms. Hike above the tree-line and you'll be rewarded with rare sightings like the sky pilot flower.Photo courtesy of Mono County Tourism
- 8 / 12Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, Central CaliforniaWild sunflowers are the poster flower of Santa Barbara County's Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, which start blooming in March. Later on in the season, chocolate lilies can be seen on the moutain, and goldfields, lupine, and poppies burst colorfully against their grassland backdrop.Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service
- 9 / 12Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Southern CaliforniaIf you're looking for the perfect shot of the classic California poppy, Antelope Valley is the place to be. Just 75 miles north of Los Angeles, the poppy reserve boasts thousands of the flowers from mid-February till late May. Though poppies are definitely the main attraction, the reserve also boasts purple owl's clover, lupine, goldfields, cream cups, and the blood red-centered coreopsis.Photo courtesy of Destination Lancaster
- 10 / 12Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Southern CaliforniaAnza-Borrego is California's largest state park, covering over 600,000 acres of San Diego County. It's known for its Technicolor springs, which have been taken to a new level this year thanks to El Niño rains. Now through April is the ideal time to go, as temperatures are increasing and the life-giving rain subsiding. While you're there, expect to get more than a flower show—the region is also known for armies of butterflies, which come to drink nectar from the blooms.Photo by Joanne DiBona for SanDiego.org
- 11 / 12Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Southern CaliforniaLaguna Coast Wildnerness Park, located in Orange County, offers 40 miles of blooming wildflowers and beautiful ocean views. Wild hyacinth, morning glories, and popcorn flowers are just some of the native plants on display, as well as the endangered California gnatcatcher. For more information, visit www.VisitLagunaBeach.com.
Photo by Mark Weston/Flickr
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