Superbloom Poppy Fields in California
Does it seem like Southern California gets all the glory for the Superbloom? They have multiple unbelievably stunning poppy fields that are so popular that they draw people from all over that created massive traffic jams for weeks.
Well, I was one of those people who drove hundreds of miles from the Bay Area to the Carrizo Plains, then to Antelope Valley to see this phenomenon myself during the previous Superbloom (2017), and it was indeed spectacularly breathtaking.
But why doesn’t the Bay Area have similar fields of wildflower glory? Do I really have to drive hundreds of miles again to see some poppy fields?? I suppose we can blame it on the different climate. But I was determined to find some wildflower fields closer to home this year, and I ended up finding gold at Mt Diablo State Park! The best part is that it’s less than 15 minutes from my house! Why did I not know about this before??
Mt Diablo State Park
Mt Diablo State Park is a huge park in the SF East Bay. Huge as in over 20,000 acres! It has spectacular panoramic views of the Bay Area at the Summit Visitor’s Center and also from the road up to the summit. On a clear day, visitors can see for hundreds of miles from the peak of Mount Diablo.
The park is located in the East Bay, about 28 miles east of San Francisco. It’s a 40-minute drive from San Francisco to the North Gate Entrance without traffic.
When to See Spring Wildflowers at Mt Diablo State Park
Depending on the timing and amount of rainfall during the winter, poppies and other wildflowers typically show up between March and May. According to the local tourism agency Visit TriValley, Mt Diablo is home to “endless fields of California Poppies, Daffodils, Dove Lupine, and dozens of other varieties of wildflowers” even on years when there isn’t a Superbloom!
This past March and April, we visited the park several times to watch for these poppies and were finally rewarded in mid-April with amazing fields full of cheerful orange California poppies (which are now my favorite flowers by the way, aside from my garden roses of course)! The fields of orange and the stunning hilltop views make for a most beautiful combination! These flowers lasted for several weeks and we were able to go there several times to enjoy them since it is so close by!
We were also lucky that it was also not that crowded when we went, but it was definitely more crowded on the weekend. Only a few other cars joined us there when we visited during the weekday.
Where to See the Wildflowers in the Park
Poppy fields and other wildflowers have been reported throughout the park, including the area around the Summit Visitor Center, Rock City, the road past the South Gate Entrance, and the Mitchell Canyon – Eagle Loop.
All of the pictures on this page were taken along the North Gate Road leading to the Summit Visitor Center from the North Gate Entrance. From about halfway to the Visitor Center, you will start to see hillsides covered with poppies. It was so tempting to stop every time we saw poppies! The best spots have both poppy fields and panoramic views.
The entire drive from the North Gate Entrance to the Summit Visitor’s Center takes approximately 40 minutes, and much of the road is very twisty and curvy.
For more information on wildflowers at Mt Diablo State Park, including a “What’s Blooming Now” report, head over the the Mt Diablo Interpretive Society’s website.
Mt Diablo State Park’s Fascinating History
Mount Diablo has a fascinating history as a sacred place for Native Californians. It was historically home to many tribes and was recognized as the birthplace of the world. It is believed that most of those who lived in the area a couple of centuries ago made a trip here as a pilgrimage at some point in life.
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