Carrizo Plain Super Bloom! Yes, it was as glorious as it sounds

April 17th ~ Carrizo Plain National Monument

Super Bloom ~ Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

How can one sum up in words the magnificence we beheld when our best photos don’t even come close to capturing the beauty? There really is no way other than to let you know that as many places we have visited in this big old world, I don’t think I have ever come close to saying “WOW” so many times in one day. 

Between Tim and I we had three cameras, plus two iPhones and took hundreds of pictures. After reviewing them, I narrowed it down to my favorite 92 shots plus five videos. Hmmmm, still way too many to put on a blog post. I would lose even my most loyal followers, friends and family…

I whittled again, but I’m afraid it was like trying to choose between your kids and your pets (OK, I agree bad analogy, but you get the idea). So, buckle up, and hopefully you will enjoy seeing some of Nature’s Glory through our eyes…

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Map of Carrizo Plain National Monument

We decided to approach the park from Interstate 5 to Highway 58, coming into the North end, closest to the Temblor Ridge area where exceptional sightings had been recently posted on the internet.

Both sides of the road were solid yellow. Amazing!

Both sides of the road were covered in yellow flowers

Word of warning: Please turn your volume down or even better, turn it off when viewing any of the video clips. It was windy and the noise is annoying.

We were just getting warmed up.

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During the day we simply wandered around on both paved roads and dirt roads, stopping frequently to snap another picture or more accurately, pictures. Cutting across 7 Mile Road, we saw the valley floor carpeted in yellow.

A couple taking selfies (not us for a change 🙂 )

Bright red contrast with the yellow

Next we headed left on Soda Lake Road where we stopped for a short hike to the top of a hill for an overlook of Soda Lake.

Info on Soda Lake

We decided to check out Selby Campground to see if it was a place we might want to return with Ellie Mae. There are no hook-ups, but the setting was wonderful. There are several interesting rock formations in this area, such as Selby Rock.

Is it my imagination or does this look like Alf?

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Our best luck came when we headed along Caliente Ridge Road where we finally got into an abundance of purple flowers mixed with the yellows.

At barn the road spits, stay left for campground, right to get to Caliente Ridge

I was in heaven…

Love this guy!

Be forewarned that Caliente Ridge Road comes to an abrupt end about 16 miles in where the gate is locked.

End of the line

It was so beautiful though that we did not mind seeing it again. The surrounding hills took on deep colors as the sun went down, bringing even more texture.

The hills took on a different feel later in the afternoon.

I think we got some of our best shots late afternoon, including the one at the top of this page.

Popcorn clouds

Caught in action

A smorgasbord of pictures Carrizo Plain National Monument

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It was evening by the time we returned to Soda Lake Road, but Tim did snap a picture so we could remember (and show others) how to get to this area as it is not well known.

Turn off to get to Caliente Ridge

We then headed toward Hwy 166. This road is often a dirt washboard and can be impassable during wet weather. We did see well over 50 of the hopping Kangaroo Rats along this road after dark.

A few facts about Carrizo Plain National Monument:

Carrizo Plain National Monument

  1. It is located about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles
  2. Primarily a large semi-arid grassland
  3. Home to Soda Lake, an alkali wetlands which supports migratory birds and shrimp. A boardwalk is situated along a small portion of the lake.
  4. Painted Rock which is decorated with pictographs etched by the Salinan, Chumash and Yokuts peoples over thousands of years. Currently closed due to barn owl nesting season. Guided tours are done once a week, but they can fill up well in advance.
  5. The San Andreas Fault runs through it (best place to view the fault is Wallace Creek)
  6. Home to several threatened and endangered species including the giant kangaroo rat, the San Joaquin kit fox, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the San Joaquin antelope squirrel.
  7. AND MOST IMPORTANT ~ After a heavy rainfall year, the hills come alive with wildflowers, with especially good viewing from Temblor Range, Elkhorn Road and Caliente Ridge Road.

Showing some facts

A word of warning: Some of the roads may become unsafe or impassable during rainy or wet weather.

We could tell that there had been hoards of people over the weekend, as the grass along the roadside was heavily trampled down where people had stopped to take pictures. I’m very glad we waited until a weekday to go.

I would return in a heartbeat, and am hoping that another opportunity will arise.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am especially grateful for the incredible splendor that Mother Nature provided. I seriously can not remember a day that I have enjoyed more.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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41 Responses to Carrizo Plain Super Bloom! Yes, it was as glorious as it sounds

  1. Amazing shots! So much yellow and none of it seems to overwhelm you at any point of time. That’s Mother Nature’s unique handicraft!


  2. Simply stunning and more inspiration to visit this amazing place


  3. joliesattic says:

    I love the wild blooms!


  4. What a gorgeous place! And you got some fabulous photos. I can see why you had difficulty choosing.


  5. The superbloom has been phenomenal even in northern California, but the Carrizo Plains are looking spectacular.


  6. Widdershins says:

    Amazing what a bit of rain will inspire. 😀


  7. Brad Nixon says:

    Oh wow. Now I AM jealous. I’ve been there once, in the middle of a blasted summer day. Congrats and thanks.


  8. Yes, very beautiful indeed; it must have been a wonderful day. Do you know what the flowers were?


  9. Jill says:

    Stunning photos. Thanks for sharing!


  10. Ace&Demi says:

    We understand that there are places not even our best captures could define, nonetheless, your shots are wonderful and gives the place its due justice. :*


  11. Terry says:

    Very nice, a must visit. But I might be too late for the flowers. Wonderful photos. Looks like a great day. So are you going back to camp there?


  12. Keng says:

    I lost for words to describe the beauty of this place. Thanks for sharing gorgeous pictures and information about this national monument.


  13. tippysmom2 says:

    Beautiful! It’s nice to know that a place in your “own backyard” could be your favorite place ever! Loved all of your pictures. Glad you got to experience this super bloom and thinks for sharing! I lived in San Bernadino for a couple of years. Wish I had know about this area to explore. Probably wasn’t a super bloom back then, but it still looks interesting.


  14. mvbattelle says:

    Beautiful pictures! Spring wildflowers always inspire, don’t they?


  15. Aunt Beulah says:

    Wow! What a wonderful place. Thank you for taking me along with you.


  16. Wow! This place is breath-taking. I’d love to go for a hike there!


  17. Oh wow this is just incredible! Does it happen always at the same time more or less? How long does it last? This is beath taking


  18. Absolutely gorgeous!!


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