It’s Wild Flower Season – The Carrizo Plain

Mary I have spent four straight weekends chasing wildflowers this year (I think we are done).  Our last trip was 36 hours at the Carrizo Plain.  It was an awesome experience.  Here is what you might see (still). 


The Carrizo Plain National Monument is 150 miles north of Los Angeles and 50 miles west of Bakersfield.  Ironically, one of the largest oil fields in CA is just over the hill from one of the largest grasslands in CA.  The plain is about 35 miles long and is anchored at the north end by Soda Lake.  The usually dry lake was full to the brim this year with all of the rain fall.

Mary was on a trail and not trampling flowers.

The best flower fields this year are near the visitor’s center.  The road is paved at each end of the valley for about 5 miles, while the middle is a smooth dirt road that is easily passable in a passenger car.  There are a couple of cross roads and one that goes over the Tremblor Range toward Taft, CA.  I do not recommend these roads without a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle.

DO NOT be these girls who trampled the flowers and picked some before Mary yelled at them to stop.
It was below 30 degrees in the morning for sunrise, so be prepared.

The flowers were especially pretty and accessible along Simmler Road near Soda Lake.

Sunrise near the Visitor’s Center

We photographed both sunset and then sunrise the next day.  It makes for a short turn around in your hotel room and Taft is over an hour away so plan accordingly.

The Carrizo Plain looks pretty good right now just south of the visitors center and along Simmler Road near Soda Lake. There is no gas, food, or water nearby, so come prepared. It’s a 2-4 hour drive from Los Angeles depending on traffic. I think it may look good for another one- two weeks.

To see more of (and buy) our photographs, please go to

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