The Signal

Wild about Wildflower­s

- By Michele E. Buttelman Signal Staff Writer

Wildflower season in Southern California is here. It normally starts mid-february and lasts through April. Because of the recent heavy rains everyone is hoping for a colorful spring. The Santa Clarita Valley is lush with a velvet carpet of green and wildflower­s, especially poppies, have been spotted peeking through the grass. Will there be a “superbloom” this year? Experts say “time will tell.” is predicting an excellent wildflower season with substantia­l rainfall across the best wildflower viewing areas.

Dianne Hellrigel, president of the Santa Clarita Community Hiking Club, said she has spotted a few poppies on local hillsides and along Soledad Canyon Road.

“We have received a ton of rain, so I expect we will have a great wildflower season,” she said.

Hellrigel also reports that Ceanothus is “blooming everywhere, there’s a great display on the Elder trail. White Thorn Ceanothus and Blue Dicks are blooming on the Taylor Trail.”

Those trails can be found in Towsley Canyon. Taylor Trail Hiking Trail

Elder Loop Hiking Trail

SCV Wildflower­s

One of the best places to view wildflower­s in the SCV is the Placerita Canyon Natural Area and Placerita Canyon State Park. Other SCV locations include Pico Canyon Park and Towsley Canyon.

Placerita Nature Center

19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall 91321 Info; (661) 259-7721

The Placerita Nature Center Loop is a an easy 1.4-mile stroll with wildflower­s and historic sites, such as the old Walker cabin and the Oak of the Golden Dream, where California’s first gold rush started in 1842.

There are a variety of trails that start at the Nature Center. Visit /maps-brochure/ for downloadab­le trail maps of the area and informatio­nal brochures.

The Nature Center recently debuted a trio of educationa­l films for visitors, including one on wildflower­s. Nature Center hours are Tuesday-sunday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

During wildflower season be sure to take advantage of the “Blooms of the Season” program with Ruthanne Murthy. Learn about the native plants of the SCV. Meet in the patio at 9.30 a.m. for a onehour stroll on the fourth Saturday of every month. Bring your camera and questions.

Pico Canyon Park

25600 Pico Canyon Rd, Stevenson Ranch 91381 Info

The Pico Canyon stairs is of the attraction­s of Pico Canyon Park, which is run by the County of Los Angeles, Department of Parks & Recreation

The park features 163 paved stairs and another 340 steps carved in the dirt of different heights with short hikes in between.

You will also find an array of wildflower­s and plants. A recent visitor to the park found numerous poppies on the high ridges along the road to the park as well as poppies, lavender, larkspur and maidenhair ferns during her hike in the park.

The 21-acre park is also home to the magnificen­t transplant­ed oak tree popularly known as “Old Glory.”

Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon 24335 The Old Road, Newhall 91321 Info

Miles of trails, beautiful views and abundant wildflower­s can be found at this park run by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservanc­y. There is a $7 parking fee at the trailhead.

Other Wildflower Locations Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve 15101 Lancaster Road, Lancaster 93536 Info

Poppy Cam The wildflower bloom generally occurs from mid-march through April, but varies widely each year. The peak viewing period is usually late March or early April.

The reserve features eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills. The reserve is also home to a variety of wildflower­s, not just poppies. During the spring bloom you can experience a daily change in the palette as different wildflower­s show their colors.

The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpreti­ve Center is open March 1 through Mother’s Day, with wildflower and wildlife exhibits, an orientatio­n video and a gift shop. Parking is $10 per car.

Visitors must stay on the trails; dogs are not permitted and wildflower gathering is not permitted.

An interestin­g fact about poppies is that the flowers will close at night and on overcast and windy days.

Anza-borrego Desert State Park

200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs 92004 Info Anza-borrego Desert State Park has had two superbloom­s in the last decade. They occurred in 2017 and 2019. Having two superbloom­s so close together is a rare occurrence. Exceptiona­l displays of wildflower­s typically occur on an average of every 10 to 15 years. However, expects the wildflower bloom to be “phenomenal” this year.

Keep Out

The bad news for lovers of the California Poppy is that city of Lake Elsinore will enforce a “keep out” ban of visitors to Walker Canyon.

The canyon is known for its rich poppy fields will be closed to the public in 2023 to prevent a repeat of the chaotic scenario that played out during the last “superbloom” in 2019.

Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson and Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco recently announced that Lake Elsinore’s Walker Canyon trailhead and the adjacent wildflower fields will be closed to all visitors this spring.

The city will implement a zero tolerance, “keep out” policy.

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 ?? ?? Johnny Jump Ups (wild pansies)
Johnny Jump Ups (wild pansies)
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Indian Bottlebrus­h
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Chocolate Lily
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