The Desert Lily Preserve was the first stop. There is a clearly marked sign at the turn off, which takes you along a dirt road easily passable by most vehicles. A short drive will lead you to a kiosk and entry gate for the Preserve. From the kiosk you will have to go into the Preserve on foot. Take your camera and plenty of water. You will need to do some walking in order to find some flowers in bloom along the wash.
My visit was about 20 minutes at the preserve as there wasn’t much in bloom when I was there. It was March 6th, ’09 and I was disappointed when I didn’t find any desert lilies. I did see a few sparse plants in bloom, but nothing to get excited about. The displays along the 177 were much more impressive. I decided to continue north and see what else I could find.
The best blooms were visible from the car as I drove along route 177. I pulled over several times and the aroma of the flowers in bloom was strong as I stepped out of my car. If you can find an alcove or dirt road to pull onto that would be safer as 177 is very busy with traffic. Dandelions, lupine, datura, and several other flowers were in the mix. I took several shots of the roadside and of the fields that resided between the road and the mountain. It was a field in bloom!
I didn’t see much blooming after the 177 or in Laughlin. On the route home I saw beavertail cactus in bloom between the exit for Joshua Tree National Park on Interstate 10 and the Cactus Rest Stop on the north side. Apricot Globe Mallow and brilliant yellow Brittlebush were also in full bloom along the freeway. There wasn’t a convenient location to stop, so I didn’t get photos of the flowers along the 10.
Just a couple days after I returned from Laughlin I noticed beavertail blooming along the 74 from Palm Desert up to the viewpoint and beyond. I’m sure a walk on some of the trails at the San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument near the Visitor’s Center off of Route 74 would be a great place to spot many flowers and cacti in bloom. Make sure to take plenty of water and a camera. It is hot out there!