Northern CA and Oregon Wildflowers
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2016 Northern California Wildflower Reports
May 9, 2016 David Report: Did a loop thru Rim Fire Zone yesterday west of Yosemite. The area is just carpeted with wild flowers. At higher elevations there are mats of lupine, seven varieties. At lower elevations a mix of lupine, paintbrush, columbine, violets, poppies, buttercups and numerous species I have never ever seen in this area before.
April 20, 2016 Ray Reports: Many thanks to Daniel for reporting on the wildflower display along Elektra Rd (Amador County) in Northern California. Many flowers, mostly poppies, were in full bloom on Saturday, April 16.
April 4, 2016 Daniel Reports: There are many wildflowers on Electra Rd along the Mokelumne River in Jackson CA (located about 45 miles northeast from Stockton and southeast from Sacramento). Traveling from Sacramento, I took Hwy 16 East then Hwy 49 South. After passing the main town of Jackson you will start seeing spots of poppies on the hillside about 3/4 of a mile before Electra Road. After turning left on this paved but narrow road you will see small patches of wildflowers here and there for the first mile. But the best viewing is between mile 1 and 2. The wildflowers (mostly poppies & lupines) are so concentrated here that they form large patches and fields that go up the hillside. Electra Road travels east right next to the North Fork of the Mokelumne River. By the end of mile two there are even many flowers on the other side of the road that go down within a couple feet of the water.
As you enter the day use and picnic area, the poppies appear further up the hillside and away from the road. However, there are various purple and yellow flowers between this mile 2 and 3 section of the park. By the 3rd mile you reach the dam and the road turns into gravel so you have to turn around. By 5:30pm most of the hillside was under shade and many poppy flowers were closed up. If you have extra time such as on the weekend, you could combine your trip here in Jackson with a visit to McLaughlin’s Daffodil Hill (10am to 4pm) in Volcano CA (if the farm is still open during their short bloom season). Or if you like wine tasting, you could stop by one of the over 40 wineries in nearby Plymouth/Amador County. Many wineries here will waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle.
Mar 31, 2016 Lorrie Reports: A drive on Sunday March 28 in Solano and Napa counties turned up a satisfying variety of roadside wildflowers, some in impressive patches, others as uncommon treasures--and all surrounded by wonderous spring greenery! Especially nice was Highway 128 from its intersection with Pleasants Valley Road (at Lake Solano County Park) to the dam at Lake Berryessa (where Hwy 128 crosses the Solano/Napa county line. If you continue further west on Hwy128 into Napa county, you'll go through chaparral with its unique plants, some blooming. The road has many places to pull over (but always lock your car if you wander from it, in the interest of theft prevention).
You can get there from Hwy I-80, exit 51B/Rivera Rd. (just west of Vacaville), which quickly takes you to Pleasants Valley Road, going north to Hwy 128.
Many areas had the lovely contrasts of orange-yellow California poppies and buttercups intermixed with the blue-purples of lupines (3 kinds), blue dicks, and purple vetch. Also were Chinese houses, Ithuriel's spear, meadowfoam, baby blue eyes, few-flowered blue-eyed Mary, tomcat clover, common linanthus, mule ears, woodland star, and many more if you pull over and glance around (such fun sleuthing what's tucked in together!). A north-facing rocky cliff across from the dam parking area had a few scarlet larkspur, out-dazzling still-lovely adjacent paintbrush. In the chaparral were sticky monkeyflower, clematis, white and purple ceanothus.
Also many butterflies were visiting the flowers, especially those wonderfully hefty, dark-cloaked Pipevine Swallowtails--which offer good viewing as they visit the plentiful blue dicks and sample every flower per stem.
Mar 28, 2016 Daniel Reports: On Saturday 3/26/16 I went hiking at North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville, where in my opinion is the best place in Northern California to consistently view an abundance of spring wildflowers every year. There were not many flowers by the parking lot on Cherokee Rd but as you walk 1 /4 to 1/2 mile into the fields you start seeing nice patches of flowers around the volcanic rocks. The peak bloom is still at least 1 week away because many small goldfields and poppies are still in the process of growing. Then about 1 to 2 miles on the hike to Fairy Falls and Phantom Falls is where you start seeing the large carpet fields of wildflowers. Besides purple lupines and goldfields, I was surprised to see several other types of flowers I had not seen in abundance in the prior drought years. There are also some spots where the poppies have a large showing on some of the hills.
Shirmir Rd on the GPS recommended route is closed, so I detoured to the Grand Ave exit on Highway 70 (Exit 48). Go East on Grand Ave for 1 mile. Left on Table Mountain Blvd for a tenth of a mile. Right on Cherokee Road 6.3 miles north to the reserve. Official access is through a small parking lot on the west side of Cherokee Road (left side traveling north). It is the only parking area which has portable restrooms. When I went on Saturday afternoon, the parking lot was full and people were parking along the side of the road. It was the most people I had seen there in three years. Since there are no established trails on the first half of the hike, I made online reservations for my group for the 1:00 pm free tour with a guide from the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. A lot of the tours are already full but if you put yourself on the waiting list and call a few days beforehand most likely they will give you the ok to come. On our tour about half of the people were no-show. The advantage of going on the weekend when there are a lot of people, is that you can ask and follow the many locals who are hiking and know the way to the three waterfalls that are close to each other.
Mar 7, 2016 Brook Reports: Mines Road in Livermore on March 3, 2016, near the Junction Cafe, mile 27 from Livermore, huge fields full of wildflowers.
Mar 6, 2016 Brook Reports: The poppies are starting out in the Briones Regional Park
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When will the desert wildflowers bloom? We start our report in January, plan your visit to coincide with the peak of the bloom - keep up to date with DesertUSA's Wildflower Reports. Be sure to bookmark this page for weekly updates.
We'd like to see your pictures too. E-mail your digital photos and reports to Jim@desertusa.com. Use Wildflower Report as the subject of your e-mail. Let us know where you took the photo and the date. We will post them on our wildflower reports. Thanks for your support and photos.
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