Wildflower Season, the Sequel, Is Soon to Bloom

Call this "California Wildflowers: The Higher-Elevation Edition," and circle late May and June on your calendar.

What to Know

  • Late May into June (and maybe July)
  • Mono County
  • Inyo County is seeing color as April winds down

The wildflower bloom around the Golden State is arguably a tale told in a few petal-plotted chapters.

Chapter One, as the young year first gets going? Look to the lowest parts of the desert, where cacti buds begin to burst, and all sorts of shrubby, chaparral-based blossoms open to the winter sun.

Chapter Two? The poppies begin to arrive soon after, and the fiddlenecks, and the forget-me-nots, in places that aren't quite the desert but are still at a somewhat lower elevation.

Cue crowds ready to be wowed.

But as April wraps up, and the second chapter begins to show signs of closing down, where can a person who is absolutely wild for wildflowers look next?

Turn the page, to Chapter Three, and you'll find that the flower scene will soon move to the higher elevations, come late May and June and even July.

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Mono County is a prime place to see the sorts of petal-tastic sights that warmer climes don't experience, at least in vast profusion.

Are you an Eastern Sierra adventuring type? Then get to planning your road trip, for wildflower time is nearly nigh.

Bridgeport Valley is known for its purple-pretty lupines and wild irises, while McGee Creek can rock "meadows drenched with bright yellow mule ears."

And wallflowers and sulphur-flowers have been known to pop Parker Bench and Parker Lake, while the Tioga Pass, when it opens, is the sight of some true meadow-based wildflower wonder, even after summer has officially arrived.

Best bet? Downloading your complimentary copy of "Wildflower Hot Spots of the Eastern Sierra" from the Bureau of Land Management. You can do that here.

Of course, spectacular wildflowers are still popping around Southern California, so don't close Chapter Two just yet. There's still time to go, and other local flowers, like jacaranda blossoms, are on the way. 

And that ol' Magic Carpet is spreading in specific coastal areas, notably in Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula.

But planning an excursion to a higher elevation come late May, June, or even July?

It's a fine idea if you can't get enough wildflower beauty, a lengthy season 'round these parts that always seems to end too soon.

You might not even have to wait that long for your Eastern Sierra flower search: The southern part of the Owens Valley is showing some sweet spring signs, so stop by if you're heading to or from Mammoth Mountain (which, yes, is skiing through July 4 in 2019).

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