As super bloom 2019 continues, poppies are in full bloom at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California.
Super blooms are a rare event that happen only once every handful of years and occur when a bad drought is followed by a wet year. In California, the last super bloom was in 2017. Having two super blooms occur within two years is also rare, so it’s pretty amazing to see how vibrant spring is this time around.
Park officials aren’t sure how long the blooms will last: it all depends on the weather. Once temperatures consistently hit the 90s and beyond, that usually marks the end of poppy season. Some news reports say they might only last for the next two weeks.
But while the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is still blanketed in a dynamic splash of orange for (hopefully) the next couple of weeks, be sure to set aside some time to see it if you can! It’s a magical place to experience this year’s phenomenal super bloom, and it only costs $10 to get in.
If you do decide to spend some time at the reserve, here are some tips and information about how to best enjoy a trip to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve from Russ Dingman, district superintendent of the Great Basin District (which includes the reserve and 10 other parks within the area):
Tips for enjoying super bloom 2019 at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve:
1. Plan early. Come to the reserve early. Make a day of it.
RD: If you come later in the afternoon, it takes about an hour to get to the kiosk, so it’s very important to plan your day early and get here early. Poppy blooms start opening up at about 9:30 a.m./10 a.m. South facing slopes are the best.
Make a day of it, bring your lunch, enjoy the visitors center.
2. Don’t doom the bloom.
RD: We really want to make sure that you guys stay on trail. We do have wildlife that is off the trail. You also damage the natural resources if you walk off the trail. It damages and compacts the soil, and poppies will no longer be able to grow there. So it’s very important to stay on the designated trails within the reserve. We have 8 miles of trails within the reserve, so there’s plenty enough trails for people to come and enjoy themselves.
3. Make sure to bring layers of clothes because the weather does change quickly, and sunscreen.
(I’d also recommend bringing water and a windbreaker, as it can get windy at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve!)
When is the best day/time to visit the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve?
RD: Weekdays are the best. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday right now seem to be our best days. Mondays have really increased with crowds.
On weekends, our parking lot usually sells out by 8:30 a.m. and it’s a steady stream of people all day. So if you come on the weekends, get here early.
What time do the poppies start curling up?
RD: Poppies start curling up usually late in the afternoon. It really depends on the weather. Nine-thirty is typically the time they start opening up, but if the weather is 63 degrees or above, that’s when the blooms open up to their fullest. They start closing at about sunset, but if the weather is still warm, you might see different shades of light in different areas.
In the early morning, you want to shoot pictures on the south facing slopes. As the sun sets in the west, it’s best on our western slopes.
What are the brown patches in the fields? It looks like people have walked in those areas.
RD: A lot of the damage you’re seeing is from 2017. That was when our last bloom came out and people weren’t really dialed into what poppy behavior is and protocols within a state reserve. So those areas are where people stepped off the trail and created damage to the soil itself by compacting the soil, so poppies will no longer go there.
We have signs advising people, ‘Please do not go back into those areas.’ We’re trying to rehab those areas. So when you come to the poppy reserve, make sure you stay on the trail, take pictures, and don’t trample on flowers.
Please be sure not to step on the flowers OR the brown spots in the fields for photos! You can take some perfectly nice ones right from the trails.
It’s also a good idea to do so because there are rattlesnakes in the area that are usually active when the weather gets warm.
For more information on the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, click here.