April 7th, 2019 ~ Carrizo Plains, California
There are not many camping options for a big rig in or near Carrizo Plains. The two sites within the park are limited, both in number of spots and size. They also do not have any hook-ups. So, to facilitate both of our rigs, Tim found us sites with a view of Lake Webb in the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area, just west of Bakersfield.
We were in search of a SUPER BLOOM.
Two years ago, Tim and I visited Carrizo Plains just at the tail end of a magnificent showing. The lower plains area was past its prime, but up on the ridge line was just reaching its peak coloring.
We were excited to share it with our dear friends, Dick and Karen, who had never been here before.
Located approximately 100 miles north of Los Angeles, the Carrizo Plain is roughly 50 miles long by 15 miles wide. It is a large area to cover in a day when you are tempted to pull over every couple of minutes to snap more pictures like crazy.
We were fortunate to hit the plains area just right. Huge fields full of yellow Goldfields and Fiddlenecks were interrupted with splashes of purple Phacelia. The bright orange poppies made themselves known as well.
Interesting rock formations can be seen entering the foothills. This area runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault.
Up higher, on Caliente Ridge, the flowers were plentiful, but not quite at their peak.
Make sure to bring along a picnic lunch!
Painted Rock is closed to the public this time of the year to protect nesting birds. You can arrange a ranger led tour on Saturdays, but they do fill up quickly.
There is a boardwalk along Soda Lake as well as a lookout hill that you can hike to the top of, but since we had done that on a previous trip, skipped it this time around.
Seven Mile Road and Skimmer (?) Road boarder either end of Soda Lake and offer more interesting flower bingeing as well as views of the alkaline lakebed and dried white powder edges.
Continuing on toward Highway 58, we saw some of the best flower displays, completely blanketing the hills.
Carrizo Plain was considered for nomination to World Heritage Site status. This would allow it to join only two other places in California that have this designation: Redwood National Park and Yosemite National Park. This idea was greatly opposed by The Independent Petroleum Association.
“The Wilderness Society eventually decided not to nominate the Carrizo Plain National Monument as a World Heritage Site, as nominations are successful only if they have almost unanimous support.” ~ Wikipedia
- There are no flushing bathrooms to be found inside the park, but portable and pit style can be found by Traver Ranch, Overlook Hill and at the Visitors Center.
- There are no food/eating facilities, so bring your own snacks, water or picnic.
- Entrance is free.
- We entered the south end on Soda Lake Road, which is a long, washboard dirt road. This road runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault, and several interesting rock formations can be spotted along the way.
- There are easier ways to approach the park, and I recommend the north end via highway 58, which is the route we chose to exit on.
- The two in park campgrounds are KCL and Selby
And just in case you have not had enough pictures from Carrizo Plains, you can click here to see pictures from our visit in 2017.
Back at our campsite for another wonderful meal, great conversations, cards and admiring our lakeside view, Tim managed to capture this youngster playing along the shoreline.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we managed to hit the Super Bloom in Carrizo Plain at its peak performance. With the rains returning this year, we were blessed to have wild flowers throughout several areas in California. Mother Nature at her finest!