The best places to find wildflowers in the Los Angeles area

It’s spring which means it’s time to head outside and start exploring. The wet winter is making many spots very lush and green.  It’s the perfect time to go on a family adventure, looking for spring wildflowers.

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The best places to find wildflowers in the Los Angeles area

Wild Flower Hill
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants
10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley, CA 91352

The Theodore Payne Foundation site includes a retail nursery, demonstration garden, picnic area, seed and book store, and Wild Flower Hill. Wildflower Hill is a 3/4-mile-trail that is ideal for leisurely strolls, birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and flower viewing. If you spot something that you can’t identify, be sure to take a photo and then ask one of the nursery sales associates for help in identifying it. (You can also check their hotline for information on the best spots to view wildflowers around southern California.)

Malibu Bluffs Open Space
24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

There are 84-acres within Malibu Bluffs Open Space. Families will enjoy majestic ocean views, several trails, wildlife viewing, and spring wildflowers in bloom. (In addition, Malibu Bluffs Open Space is adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park which features baseball diamonds, restrooms, and a children’s play structure.)

Solstice Canyon
Corral Canyon Rd. and Solstice Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA 90265

You can find a hiking trail to fit your family’s needs whether you’re looking for something easy, more strenuous, or something in the middle. Pack a picnic, be on the lookout for different wildlife, and spring wildflowers. You’ll also be treated to views of the Pacific Ocean. Families do note that it can get quite crowded here on weekends.

Linden H. Chandler Preserve
Palos Verdes Dr. N. and Dapple Gray Lane, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

The Linden H. Chandler Preserve is a part of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. The Chandler Preserve is described as being both family-friendly and a good spot to view wildflowers. You’ll spot a variety of native wildflowers and shrubs as well as small wildlife (native birds and insects).  See if you can spot the endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly during your exploration time.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
15101 Lancaster Rd., Lancaster, CA

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve may be one of the best-known spots for wildflowers. In addition to the state flower, families will view other wildflowers as well as a variety of wildlife including hawks, lizards, birds, and possibly even snakes. Also, be sure to check the weather before you go (strong winds are frequent) and be sure to have more water than you think your family will actually drink. Parking fees are $10.

Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
Lancaster Rd., Lancaster, CA

Seven miles west of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, you’ll find the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park. Here families will view native Joshua Trees and junipers. The Joshua Trees grow in a “bed of wildflowers,” and as spring continues, the white blossoms on the ends of the branches of the Joshua tree bloom and continue to grow larger. Bring a picnic and explore (there are two nature trails).

Charmlee Wilderness Park
2577 S. Encinal Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA

Located in Malibu, Charmlee Park offers stunning ocean vistas as well as beautiful wildflowers. You’ll also enjoy eight miles of hiking trails and shady picnic spots.  Charmlee is also described as being less crowded than other sites.  

Eaton Canyon Natural Area
1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107

At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, you’ll find the Eaton Canyon Natural Area. Among its 190 acres, families will enjoy picnic areas, hiking trails, and wildflowers. While closer to L.A., some complain this particular area gets a bit crowded. Be on the lookout for spring wildflowers including fern leaf phacelia and chia. And if you’re looking for a more guided way to explore the area, the Eaton Canyon Nature Center offers a “Family Nature Walk” each Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 11:00 am (weather permitting).

Paramount Ranch
2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills, CA 91301

In the 1920s, Paramount Pictures purchased 2700 acres of the Rancho Las Virgenes to be used as a “movie ranch.” In 1980, the National Park Service revitalized a portion of the movie ranch. Today families can go exploring, hiking, and flower-watching  on the same land that has been used as the setting in many film and television shows, including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Kids will enjoy seeing what looks like an authentic Western Town, and families will appreciate that there are places to enjoy a nice relaxing picnic.

Ascot Hills Park
4371 Multnoma St., Los Angeles, CA 90032

If you’re looking for a big outdoorsy spot, without venturing too far from Los Angeles, then try Ascot Hills Park. A great spot for a gentle hike, families will find rolling hills, lots of vegetation, and spring wildflowers. You’ll also be treated to some impressive views of downtown Los Angeles!

Point Mugu State Park
9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

You can spend a day at Point Mugu State Park and not run out of things to do  that will keep the whole family entertained and engaged. You’ll find five miles of ocean shoreline and over 60 miles of hiking trails. Pick a trail, bring your binoculars (kids might also enjoy getting up close with a magnifying class) and get ready for some pretty spring wildflowers.

If you’re up for a drive..

Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park 
Borrego Springs, CA 92004

Anzo-Borrego park east of Temecula is experiencing a superbloom right now. The largest state park in California is has a spectacular show of Canterbury Bells, Poppies, Monkeyflower, and Phacelia  You can get an updated flower map at the Anzo-Borrego Desert Nature Center, 652 Palm Canyon Drive. It’s very crowded so check park website for details. 

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Wendy Kennar (329 Posts)

Wendy is a freelance writer who finds inspiration in her eight-year-old son and from her experiences from her twelve-year teaching career. Her writing has appeared in several publications and anthologies, both in print and online. She prefers sunflowers to roses and thinks chocolate is okay at any meal. You can find her at wendykennar.com.


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