Death Valley NP - Wildflower Reports
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2016 Death Valley National Park Wildflowers Reports - Page 2
Mar 16, 2016: Death Valley National Park Reports: Don’t be alarmed, it is NOT all or nothing. Although the lower elevation flowers are fading, there are still some good places to see them. The Desert Gold (Geraea canescens) is still looking really special between Mile Marker 23 and Mormon Point on the Badwater Road. Mud Canyon on the Daylight Pass Road still has lots of flowers. Artist’s Drive is looking really nice, too. This is a good place to keep an eye out for the elusive Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia). Many other locations in the lower elevations still have some flowers, just not in the same numbers that were there a couple of weeks ago.
One flower to look out for is the Gravel Ghost (Atrichoseris platyphylla). This relatively late bloomer is having a fantastic year, with some of the largest and loveliest displays I’ve ever seen. The black volcanic soil around Ubehebe Crater is starting to pop with patches of Purple Mat (Nama demissum). Walk to Little Hebe for views of Desert Gold Poppies (Eschscholzia glyptosperma) clinging to the sheer sides of the crater. Hiking the canyons throughout the park will give you the opportunity to see a few species not found on the roadside alluvial fans, such as the beautiful and fragrant Rock Nettle (Eucnide urens).
Mid-elevation flowers are starting to pick up. Dante’s View Road and Daylight Pass Road are especially good locations this week. If you are coming in from the west, there are good blooms between the 2,000 and 3,500 ft. elevations on both sides of Townes Pass. The Mojave Asters (Xylorizha tortifolia) in the area of Father Crowley Lookout are especially striking. . If you don’t want to brave the bumpy gravel road to Lee Flat to see the Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) in bloom, there are a couple of beautiful Joshua Trees in full bloom at the CCC camp across from the Wildrose Campground.
For dirt road back road enthusiasts, Saline Valley is blooming. Greenwater Road is getting some very nice patches. Look for Death Valley Monkeyflowers (Mimulus rupicola) and Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) on the Hole In The Wall and Echo Canyon Roads. I’ve heard good things about the West Side Road, Johnson Canyon and the upper reaches of Warm Springs Canyon, too. Wherever you choose to go, happy flower hunting!
Mar 16, 2016: Rich Reports: Drove in from the bay area on the 11th, stayed at Wildrose campground, we had 38 knots of wind and heavy rain on Friday, made for a wild night. The rest of the stay was at Furnace Creek Inn. South of bad water was still amazing, as well as the Beaty cutoff.
Mar 16, 2016: Elana Reports: Thank you for maintaining the wildflower report site with such up to date info. It is truly a gift to know where to go see the blooms! I used your info last weekend for our trip to Death Valley to see the superbloom. The attached pics I took are from Saturday, March 12. All your info was super accurate. There are less flowers around furnace and badwater, but plenty still more south on badwater road. Beaty cutoff is blooming too and lots of flower variety there!
Mar 15, 2016: Jim Reports: 127 from Baker to Death Valley Junction has some nice blooms as well as State Line Road from the 127 towards Nevada state line. The 20 Mule Trail has some beautiful blooms in a very unexpected area and along 190 between Badwater and the Junction has some good blooms along the road. Pictures taken March 13, 2016
Mar 15, 2016: Mary Reports: Back in January a Park Ranger wrote about the unusual huge size of the young green plants having promise for the upcoming season. What an accurate prediction. I saw a desert Five Spot with 16 blooms that was two feet tall by two feet wide on the Warm Springs Canyon Road. There are laundry basket size Turtleback on the Beatty Cutoff Road and huge thick Gravel Ghost in many places.
With all the good flower reports recently posted of the best blooming areas, I will add some updates from March 11 – 13, 2016 for other spots:
Echo Canyon – Has nice fresh bloom with lots of Brittle Bush, Rock Daisies and Mojavea on the canyon floor. On the canyon walls I found Desert Tobacco and one small Death Valley Monkey Flower, after an hour of search.
MM 25-30 on the Badwater road – After the Friday windstorm, surprisingly, many Desert Gold plants still had fresh blooms, though overall plants are dry and thinned out.
Buick Wash as you come into the park from the south on 190 between MM 126 and 125 - There are several large stunning patches of Bigelow Monkey Flower at the mouth of the wash and Ground Cherry along the left wall.
Scott Castle Road intersection with Mesquite Campground road - Though not showy from the road, I saw over a dozen species including beautiful Broad-Flowered Gilia, Desert Chicory and one clump of Lilac Sunbonnet.
Emigrant Canyon - Also not showy from the road but on close look, over a dozen species blooming sparsely including Indian Paint Brush, Chia, Coreopsis, and one small Humble Gilia. There were puddles and damp ground indicating this area might have gotten some of the Friday night rain which could help with a higher elevation bloom.
Warm Springs Canyon - Sadly past peak but still some awesome Desert Five Spot.
Greenwater Road – From a short drive on the first part of the road, there is still not a lot blooming but plenty of green, nice patches of poppies and scattered Desert Dandelion and Phallecia.
Mar 14, 2016: Socoam Reports: This photo of Beatty was taken the 13th. Still looks pretty good. It actually rained some Friday night. The morning report said .02 inche, but it seemed like a lot more. Things were very wet up fall Canyon, so some areas certainly got more. I did see a lot of emerging buds. Don't know if they will make it to maturity. The Friday rain brought new snow to Telescope peak, and a dusting of snow on the higher peaks and of Grapevine mnts, which was gone a day later.
Mar 14, 2016: Sean Reports: I might have seen the beginning of the end of the flowers on Beatty. A really strong wind storm swept through Fri. 3/11/16, they seemed to be holding on, but I'm not sure for how much longer. The weather service said sustained winds of 30mph and gusts around 50mph. As I was leaving for the day, the entire north part of the park was full of dust. It was dark before the sun went down.
There where also still some large fields along the 190 just east of Furnace Creek before Beatty road.
The canyon protected areas seem to be doing fairly well. There where some respectable yellow clusters on the drive up to Dante's view. The road to Hole in the Wall has clusters of flowers all over including a few between the wheel ruts on the road. The creosote is in bloom all along the road to Hole in the Wall and there are some brittlebush in full bloom at Hole in the Wall.
Mar 11, 2016: Christopher Reports: Hi – I took these pictures March 9, at the Beatty Cutoff Road just north of Furnace Creek in Death Valley. Wander up into the hills and along the washes for the best clusters of flowers – also one needs to get out of the car to see many of the amazing tiny flowers hugging the ground. There is also a nice variety of purple flowers along the Mud Canyon Road.
Mar 10, 2016: Death Valley National Park Reports: First the bad news – the hot weather and lack of rain had already stressed our lower elevation flowers to the limits. Then the wind came. A vicious windstorm tore through the valley over the weekend, and devastated many of the lower elevation flowers. The Badwater Road is only a shadow of its former glory, and the fields along Highway 190 were hit hard, also.
Now the good news. Although the lower elevation flowers are past their peak, there are still large fields of Desert Gold (Geraea canescens) in some locations on the southern section of the Badwater Road. Best spots are the alluvial fan near Mile Marker 25 or the area just before the road closure. The Beatty Cutoff and the Daylight Pass Road still have a nice variety of blooms. Try getting out of your car and walking to see the most diversity.
One way to see more flowers at lower elevations is to hike into the canyons. With the additional shade and wind protection, blooms may last a bit longer there. Although they are far from their peak, we are also seeing more color in the mid-elevations. Try driving to Dante’s View or along the Daylight Pass Road to Rhyolite to see a few different flowers. The numbers are few but the variety is great! Echo Canyon and Hole in the Wall are still good backcountry roads to view flowers. The first Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) blossoms are starting to come out in Lee Flat. Happy flower hunting!
Mar 9, 2016 Don reports: I'm sure you are getting a lot of reports from your readers about the great bloom in Death Valley. There are some less common wildflowers that are fun to find, but if you don't know where to look, you may miss them. Here are several that we found and where we found them:
1) Death Valley Monkeyflower (Mimulus rupicola) - entrance to Echo Canyon - right hand vertical wall just before entering the canyon proper, There are 3-4 small green plants with very attractive pale pink flowers having a burgundy dot above a yellow throat. Hard to see.
2) Death Valley Sage (Salvia funerea) - entrance to Titus Canyon - right hand side after walking up from parking lot. There are several easy to see plants - silvery gray and woody, with small purple flowers.
3) Desert Portulaca (Portulaca halimoides) - Furnace Creek Wash. Road on the Greenwater Plain. Left side several miles from Hwy 190. Lots of very visible plants.
4) Golden Carpet (Gilmanea luteola) - Artist's Palette - on several trails heading towards the colored hills. This is a very rare plant that, according to Wikipedia, had only been observed five times before 2013, and only appears after heavy rains. Small, ground-hugging succulent with tiny yellow flowers. Once first seen, many more will be found.
I was intrigued by Evening Snow (Linanthus dichotomous), which is a common flower, but unfamiliar to me. By day it is furled with a pale reddish candy cane stripe running around the petals. As night approaches, it opens up to reveal a typical white linanthus bloom, with the stripe now down one side of each of the five petals.
A warning to Death Valley flower-peepers: we found very bothersome gnats or no-see-ums at several of our stops. Be prepared! Also those who are allergic to pollens in general will find that pollen is everywhere - it even packed up on our boots!
Mar 9, 2016 Eilzabeth reports: I was lucky to visit on Monday Mar 7. It was a very quick trip, we only had just a few hours before we had to head back to Los Angeles. It was overcast and very windy with a few sprinkles. Our first stop was Bad Water Basin. It was lovely with plenty of desert gold still in bloom and I observed quite a few desert gold that had just popped up and will bloom soon. The big treat is further north. The flowers north of Furnace Creek were much more numerous. We did the loop up Beatty Road and down Day Pass Road. Here's just a few.....as I said, it was very windy.
Mar 9, 2016 David reports The primroses about 9.5 miles south of the junction of Wade Road and CA 190 are amazing!
Mar 5, 2016 Perry reports: Death Valley on Wednesday 3/2/16
Mar 5, 2016 Robert reports: We were mostly off the WestSide road up Warm Spring Canyon, maybe a half mile from the WestSide Rd. Anywhere within a few miles of there was similar, covered with flowers all the way up to the hills. More Desert 5-Spots than we’ve ever seen before, dozens and dozens on a short walk, most with multiple blooms. We saw plants with 10 open blooms and many more buds. Photos from 3/1/16.
Mar 5, 2016 Rick and Margarita report: Thursday March 4 we went down Titus Canyon. Very little going on yet. In the hill before getting to Leadville, there are tons of Golden Evening Primrose ready to bloom. From Leadville to exit, the last 1/3 of the road has quite a bit of Golden Evening Primrose and Phacelia. The Emigrant Pass Rd to Wildrose has very little happening yet. The place to be is making the loop up Beatty Cutoff Rd down Mud Canyon and back to the cutoff rd. We went around in circles one direction then back the other direction morning hours and late afternoon hours. Really a joy. Getting out walking wast absolutely delightful. Me personally, I have never seen such large Turtleback. Bigger than a basketball. Please get out an enjoy this area.
Mar 3, 2016 Rick and Margarita report: Rick and Margarita report: Wednesday March 3, we have been taking the dirt road about 3 miles south of Ibex Pass on the highway. It goes down to DVNP via Saratoga Springs then you go north on Harry Wade Rd to Ashford Mill. The Desert Gold in the Saratoga Springs area, the Armagosa River crossing, Ashford Mill area, and the Warm Springs access Rd have gone down hill significantly since we went by 2 weeks ago. However……………… there is a MASSIVE bloom of Golden Evening Primrose with lots of buds still to bloom about 2 miles north of Armagosa River crossing. It is many many many acres in size and starting to move up the hillside. I have never seen this size of primrose before. Badwater Rd from MP 24 to Morman Point still has lots of photogenic opportunities for Desert Gold and Phacelia. Furnace Cr to east park entrance is very good. Furnace Cr to Beatty cutoff still pretty good.
Mar 3, 2016 Death Valley National Park Reports: The bloom is definitely moving north and higher in altitude. Although there are still expansive fields of Desert Gold (Geraea canescens) along the Badwater Road, as well as carpets of Sand Verbena (Abronia villosa) from Mile Marker 42 to the end of the road, many of the other flowers in this area are past their peak.
My pick of the week is Highway 190. Look for the cheerful Easter egg colors of bright yellow Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes) and purple Notchleaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata) from Furnace Creek to the East Park Entrance. There are pink carpets of Purple Mat (Nama demissum) in some sections. (I think this flower was misnamed!) The ethereal, floating blossoms of Gravel Ghost (Atrichoseris platyphylla) are growing thicker in this area than I've ever seen them before. Northwest of the Visitor Center, you will find the expansive fields of Desert Gold that Death Valley is famous for. All along the road, get out and look closer for more variety.
A nice little loop drive is to go up the Beatty Cutoff Road and down Mud Canyon, then back to Furnace Creek along Highway 190. Mud Canyon is looking fantastic, but the flowers are growing so thick there that there is nowhere to pull over. Use the wide shoulders on the Beatty Cutoff and wander a wash to look for variety.
You will find Phacelia, Golden Evening Primrose, Mohavea (Mohavea breviflora), Acton Encelia (Encelia actoni), and Broad-Flowered Gilia (Gilia latiflora) on the Scotty's Castle Road. Although there are a few flowers on the approaches to Towne Pass and in the Panamint Valley, those areas are not yet worth a special trip.
If you have a high clearance vehicle, do a little botanizing in the mid-elevations of the Greenwater Valley to increase your species count. There are not a lot of flowers blooming here yet, but there are a lot of different species, flowers you will not find in the lower elevations.
Best backcountry dirt road drives this week would be the Hole in the Wall Road and Echo Canyon Road. Color and diversity in both these places is fantastic. Titus Canyon has some Paintbrush (Castilleja augustifolia) and Lupine (Lupinus sp.) in the mid-elevations, and flowers are blooming in the lower reaches of the canyon, but it will still be a few weeks before the bloom really gets going here.
For hikers, Fall Canyon and Monarch Canyon are good bets. Happy flower hunting!
Mar 1, 2016 Kevin Reports: I have never seen as many people in the park as I saw Saturday 2-27-16. Photos 2002 & 2006 were taken east of the Furnace Creek Inn. You could say that there was a target rich environment (both in types of flowers and amount) along the road a few miles east of Furnace Creek Inn. Photos 2033 & 2076 were taken south of Badwater (around mm 27 on Badwater road). There were areas that are absolutely carpeted with yellow flowers. The final photo (2097) was taken on the Beaty road, there were plenty of places within the first 3-4 miles after the turnoff that has multiple species of flowers blooming side by side with each other.
Mar 1, 2016 Rick Reports: Death valley, from wells...up the grade toward beatty, nv on the Beatty rd, that runs past rhyolite. 3 pm 2/29
Mar 1, 2016 Kahlee Reports: These images are from Death Valley National Park on 2/27/2016 Most were taken along Badwater Road between Furnace Creek and Jubilee Pass. The latest DEVA wildflower report you have posted is right on point with various locations just starting up as the bloom moves north from the Ashford Mill/Jubilee Pass area of the park.
Artist Drive had lots of belly flowers at the beginning. Echo Canyon (high clearance/4x4) was loaded with Yellow Evening Primrose and both the Beatty Cut-Off and Daylight Pass roads through the Mud Hills had nice patches of many different kinds of wildflowers. Well worth exploring beyond the roadside. Warm Springs Road requires good tires and high clearance, but it had great fields of desert gold and is a nice place to primitive camp.
Best views and widest varieties are to be seen in the canyons and washes as well as the alluvial fans. Absent more rain, time is of the essence to see the big flower fields before they’re toast. Southern areas are rapidly moving past peak, but there are still many treasures to observe with robust individual plants throughout the valley and hills. Enjoy!
Mar 1, 2016 Lorrie Reports: Northern Death Valley, Feb 27, on the road between Stovepipe Wells and Grapevine (through the area called "Death Valley Wash" on the park map), is a lovely flower diversity, some of which I hadn't noticed elsewhere. Leaving Desert Gold and purple Phacelias behind (mostly), enjoy Desert Trumpet, Bigelow Monkeyflower, Humble Gilia, Broad-flowered Gilia, Fremont's Phacelia, Desert Chicory, a kind of pincushion, Shredding Primrose, yellow primroses with red center (?) ... and more, including teeny things! The roadsides washes right at the Mesquite Spring turnoff are delightful. Some are pictured here.
Feb 29, 2016 Death Valley National Park Reports: Here a new map on where the wildflowers are blooming. Map
Feb 25, 2016 Death Valley National Park Reports: The bloom is moving North! Check out the great color combo of Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes) and Notchleaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata) decorating Furnace Creek Wash from the East Entrance to the Furnace Creek Inn. Keep your eyes open in that stretch for expanses of Purple Mat (Nama demissum) and the rounded humps of Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima). Get out of your car and take a stroll in the wash, and you may be amazed at the diversity. I was able to identify over a dozen species in a ten minute walk!
Along Highway 190 north from the Visitor Center to the Scotty's Castle Road, fields of Desert Gold (Geraea canescens) are starting to fill in the blanks. One new hotspot is the Beatty Cut-Off Road. The diversity in some places is nothing short of amazing. Try walking a wash between Mile Markers 2 and 4 to taste a bit of that diversity.If you are traveling to Ubehebe Crater or the Racetrack, the Scotty's Castle Road is adorned with the same gold and purple color scheme as the Furnace Creek Wash. Although there is not enough yet to warrant a special trip, look for expanses of Mohavia (Mohavea breviflora) , blooming Acton Encelia (Encelia actoni), and Broad Flowered Gilia (Gilia latiflora) in this stretch. Phacelia and Golden Evening Primrose are also brightening up the approaches on both sides of Towne Pass.
The Badwater Road is still the go-to destination for those huge expanses of endless flowers. The Brown-Eyed Evening Primroses (Camissonia claviformis) are starting to bolt due to hot temperatures and lack of rain, but the Desert Gold is still going strong, and the Gravel Ghost Atrichoseis platyphylla), Pebble Pincushion (Chaenactis carphoclinia), and Broad-Leaved Gilia (Aliciella latifolia) are just getting started. If you want those lower elevation flowers, though, you may want to come soon. I am amazed at how quickly the Phacelia and Desert Five Spot ( Erimalche rotundifolia) are working their way up their stems.
Harry Wade Road has some really nice things going on near the Amargosa River Crossing. As usual, get out of your car and walk a wash to see more varieties. Echo Canyon and Hole in the Wall should have some nice flowers. Check out the rock walls and see if you can find Death Valley Monkeyflower (Mimulus rupicola). Greenwater Valley is REALLY green. Some flowers are starting to bloom there –I saw Fremont Phacelia (Phacelia Fremontii), Desert Dandelion (Malicothrix californica glabrata), Desert Gold Poppy (Eschscholtzia glyptosperma), Checker Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellate) , Blazing Star (Mentzelia sp.) and Globemallow ((Sphaeralcea ambigua) –but they are VERY few and far between still. In 2 weeks, this road will really pop.
For hikers, canyons are best for diversity. Fall Canyon is looking great, or try Willow and Sidewinder Canyons, or just wander up a likely wash. Happy Flower Hunting!
Feb 25, 2016 Darryl reports: Here’s a sampling of Death Valley flowers taken on March 23rd, 2016. We struck it rich with a lucky discovery of an obscure wash in the southern part of the valley. It was easy to miss, but I caught a glimpse of color as we drove by. Otherwise, there’s a rich variety of blooms along the main road south of Badwater, but it’s much less dense than what you see here. We’ve counted 17 species so far. I think it’s an even better bloom than 2005, which was touted as the best flowers in 100 years. I was here for the 2005 bloom.
desert gold carpets an alluvial fan
mostly rock daisy
Feb 25, 2016 Nemo reports: Visitors center opens at 8 o'clock. Pick up your brochures and maps and guides and head south toward Badwater. Bring as much water and food and sunscreen as possible because you will be driving more than you think. Big fields of flowers appear on your left starting around milepost 25 and picking around milepost 33. The mornings are best for botanizing and the afternoons are best for photography. Drive for miles and miles and miles in the morning until you think you have seen enough masses of sunflowers in every direction, especially on your left. Then turn around and spend the afternoon taking close-ups and vistas of pictures and snooping around as you find as many varieties as you can!
A really nice place for botanizing is at the point of interest turn off for Manly Lake. Walk down toward the lake bed and you will see up to 10 different types of flowers, some of which have only a few and others have multitudes. Keep drinking! It is extremely dry here. Enjoy the flowers and the photography with both panoramas and close ups including darn good iPhone pictures too.
Feb 23, 2016 Ed the Camp Host reports: The showy carpet bloom of Desert Gold Sunflowers covering large parts of the southern edge of Death Valley National Park certainly gets the most attention, but with any big bloom year, all sorts of odd plants make an appearance with some not having been seen in years. Here are four of these rarities.
1–Death Valley Blazing Star Mentzelia reflexa can be found near the Natural Bridge up against the foot of the Black Mountains. It is one of the endemic species found only in and around Death Valley National Park.
2- Desert Portulaca Portulaca halimoides is a tiny succulent looking plant with even tinier white flowers, found near the basalt outcroppings northeast of Ashford Mill.
3- Death Valley Sage Salvia funerea is another endemic found on limestone outcrops along the base of the Grapevine and Funeral Mountains. This beautiful plant has intense purple flowers that shine like shards of colored glass amid it’s gray leaves.
4-Death Valley Monkey Flower Mimulus rupicola is another tiny, but colorful endemic clinging to cracks in the limestone walls of canyons in the Funeral Mountains. We had to look up above our heads to see these small four inch wide plants.
All photos taken within the last two weeks. There are others waiting to be discovered as the bloom moves from the valley floor up into the canyons.
Feb 22, 2016 Bob reports: Aerial Pictures of Death Valley Saturday Feb 20, 20116
Periods for Death Valley are usually...
Mid February - Mid April at lower elevations (valley floor and
* Best Areas: Jubilee Pass, Highway 190 near the Furnace Creek Inn, base of Daylight Pass
* Dominant species: desert star, blazing star, desert gold, mimulus, encelia, poppies, verbena, evening primrose, phacelia, and various species of cacti (usually above the valley floor).
Early April - Early May at 2,000 to 4,000 ft. elevations
* Best areas: Panamint Mountains
* Dominant species: paintbrush, Mojave desert rue, lupine, Joshua tree, bear poppy, cacti and Panamint daisies.
Late April - Early June above 4,000 ft. elevations
* Best areas: High Panamints
* Dominant species: Mojave wildrose, rabbitbrush, Panamint daisies, mariposa lilies and lupine.
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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.
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