To the Poppy Field!
Each spring, California poppies bloom with abandon in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve located 15 miles west of Lancaster. We visited the reserve last spring, and as we approached, from a distance, we could see faint hints of color that appeared to stretch for miles and miles.
The reserve features eight miles of trails, so there’s plenty of space for you to roam without getting lost. We didn’t venture too far into the field, but we had a good time exploring nonetheless. And considering that we barely saw anyone else on the road en route to the reserve, we were surprised to see that there were several other people leisurely meandering through the field when we got there.
Despite the fact that the reserve is located in the Mojave Desert climate zone, we frolicked in the field on a cool, breezy spring day. The poppies are usually in full bloom from mid-February through late May, so there’s ample time to visit the area before it gets too hot.
However, this season, the poppy bloom started and ended a month early due to excess heat. We are in the midst of a drought here in California, after all. So before visiting, I’d strongly suggest that you check out the current reserve conditions on the park’s website. Anyone who visited the reserve this month when the poppies are normally at their peak without first checking the park’s website was probably pretty disappointed since according to pictures on the website, the field currently looks rather arid and bleak.
Fortunately, the poppies were blooming in all of their bright, splendid glory during our visit. Check out some photos from our visit…
What to Know
- To keep the field in its natural state, California State Parks doesn’t water or stimulate the flowers
- Everything in the reserve is protected, so no flower picking allowed
- No pets allowed apart from service dogs
- There are paved portions on the trails for wheelchair access
- Beware of bobcats and snakes (you might see them – so glad we didn’t!)
- Hours: sunup to sundown
- For more info, call the Poppy Reserve Wildlife Hotline: 661.724.1180