NASA Images Captured California's Superbloom. Here's Where You Can See It in SoCal

After an unprecedented amount of rainfall this winter, California's wildflowers are experiencing a superbloom that is visible from space.

A superbloom is taking place across California this spring season, thanks to the extremely wet winter Southern California experienced this year, which has been especially beneficial for plants, particularly wildflowers.

Photo: NASA

On April 6, NASA’s Operational Land Imager-2 on Landsat 9 captured satellite images comparing an April 2022 desert in Carrizo Plain National Monument, just west of Bakersfield, to a blooming one. The superbloom has been found all over the Golden State, as NASA's photos show the stunning transformation of the land.

The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, described the natural phenomenon at Carrizo Plain during California's last superbloom in 2019, saying "there are currents of goldfields (Lasthenia californica) and splashes of blue valley phacelia (Phacelia ciliate) bobbing around in the yellow sea, while the smaller tidy tips (Layia platyglossa) try to find an island of soil not filled with taller flowers….Desert candle (Caulanthus inflatus) can be found sprinkled about as well. The recommended viewing spots for all of this colorful bloom is along Soda Lake Road."

According to ecologists with the University of California, in Anza-Borrego Desert, 10 separate superblooms were tallied over four decades following winters when precipitation was higher than average. It seems that the effects of this year's wet winter are also benefiting the region's flora.

California's superbloom is a rare sight that is a result of the perfect combination of rain and temperature. As long as the weather remains favorable, Southern California residents and visitors alike can enjoy the burst of color at one of the following seven locations.

Where to See the Superbloom in SoCal

California Golden Poppy and Phacelia Minor blooming in Chino Hills State Park, California

Chino Hills State Park: This park is the closest to Los Angeles, located 35 miles from downtown, guests are advised to look for flowers along Bane Road and the nearby Bane Ridge Trail. According to the parks department, this year's blooms include canterbury and school bells, arroyo lupine, and California poppy.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve: West of Lancaster, this hillside is home to the Poppy Cam. The hillsides at the Poppy Reserve are starting to show vivid pinks from filaree and vibrant yellows from large swaths of goldfields. More poppies are expected to bloom in the coming weeks. The best spots to view them are Antelope Trail North Loop and Kitanemuk Vista Point. 

Eastern Kern County Onyx Ranch State Vehicular Recreation Area: Located east of Bakersfield, Jawbone Canyon will continue to bloom over the next month. Visitors can see lavender Lacy Phacelia and brilliant yellow desert dandelions, according to the parks department. 

Little Joshua trees at Red Rock Canyon State Park, California. Red Rock Canyon State Park is located at the western edge of the Mojave Desert.

Red Rock Canyon State Park: Also east of Bakersfield, this park's Hagen Canyon, Iron Canyon, and the area around the visitor center are in bloom for another month. Flowers include desert dandelions, desert or wild parsley, and red maids, as well as blooming Joshua trees and bladderpod.

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve: This natural reserve is located southwest of Bakersfield and currently features large patches of goldfields and filaree blooming. The Tule elk there are also growing their antlers.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Located between San Diego and the Salton Sea, Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California. Visitors can see remaining sand verbena and desert sunflowers along the east side of Henderson Canyon Road in the northern end of the park and sand verbena at June Wash along S2 in the southern end of the park, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park: Located northwest of Bakersfield, yellow goldfields at this park are in bloom and may last another month, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The full list of parks recommended by the California Department of Parks and Recreation statewide can be found here.

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