Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve displays a brilliant orange carpet of California Poppies every spring. 70 miles north of Los Angeles and 20 miles west of Lancaster, California, this reserve blooms between mid March to early May, influenced largely by the weather.
California Poppy flowers - Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
We had been to the valley twice and it had been a different but wonderful experience each time.
April 2014: We went based on wildflower forecasts on the internet and it turned out to be the perfect day. There is a designated parking area, which is usually packed during the peak season, more so on the weekends. It was a hot and windy day for long hikes, but we did manage to get some beautiful photos. Poppies were in full bloom, painted the valley in vibrant orange. Some of the other flowers that bloomed in the valley were Phacelia, Lathenia (goldfield), Bristly Fiddleneck and Blue Gilia. We drove around some of the smaller roads off of Lancaster Rd as well.
Orange field of poppy flowers / Poppy and Goldfield flowers
March 2016: We may have gone a couple of weeks too early for the show. There were absolutely no poppies, only a few buds here and there. But the landscape was not arid by any means. Desert grass swayed to the wind, goldfields and other tiny pink and purple wildflowers were a beauty along the trails. It was not disappointing after all.
Unlike Carlsbad Flower Fields, which is open only during spring, Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve can be visited year round. A hike on a pleasant day on the grassy trails with decent views is worth a drive there