Valley State Natural Reserve is located on California's most consistent
This is the
best place to see, during the springtime (around April), California poppy wildflower
bloom, especially in a year with a lot of winter rain as it was in 2023.
and duration of the wildflower bloom varies yearly so check in advance the local
Do not expect to
be the only one here and have a solitude experience visit. This area do suffer
from over-tourism. It is crowded and full of cars along the roads and many thousands
of people in the fields.
But even with
all the people around this is amazing place to visit and experience nature at
Enjoy the view
of the large flats grasslands and rolling hills covered with California poppy wildflower
The preserve is
in the far north-east corner of L.A. County and the south-west corner of the high
Mojave Desert, just west from the city of Lancaster CA.
Coming from the
From Lancaster and
highway 14 you need to drive west 13.6 miles (start on W Ave and then keep
driving west on Lancaster Rd).
You will start
to see more and more fields of California poppies on both sides of the road as
you approach the park.
You can also arrive
to the park from the west:
From I5 take highway
138 east, after 13.3 miles turn right into Lancaster Rd. keep driving for
another 11.6 miles until you will see the park entrance on your left.
The park is
open year around, but I do recommend coming here in a year where winter had a
lot of rain.
timing of the few weeks when the flowers are blooming may be different from one
year to the following, but it is usually around mid-April.
Due note 1: The park is
open from sunrise to sunset daily year-round.
Due note 2: Parking Fees: $10 per vehicle, credit card accepted. As Always, if you visit any other local California State Park
show your receipt and get to enter with out the need to pay.
Due note 3: Shaded picnic
tables are available on a first-come/first-served basis.
Due note 4: Stay on the
official trails only!
Do not walk off
trail and crush wildflower or plants.
Due note 5: Do NOT pick
the wildflowers, everything is protected,
Due note 6: Dogs are NOT
allowed in the park, except for trained service animals.
Due note 7: No Drone Zone,
Drones are prohibited in the airspace above the reserve.
Due note 8: there is a
large parking lot inside the park but it is getting full early in the morning and
then they are allow car to enter when another on exit the park.
allowed on Lancaster Road beginning 100 feet from the entrance (see signs), and
visitors may walk in through the entrance gate only.
Due note 9: As you are approaching
the park and the area with flowers drive slowly and with caution.
Due note 10: The mornings during
spring are usually nice and it can get windy at the afternoon.
Due note 11: No horses,
bikes, food, or smoking on the trails.
Due note 12: There are many portable bathrooms in the park
the pictures from 2019 supper bloom, I waited patiently until the spring of
2023. I promise myself to find the time and drive here from San Francisco.
I was not disappointed,
this is amazing site to see the endless fields of California poppy flowers
blooming, covering the fields with strong orange color.
weekends you will not be the only one here, there are many other people coming
to visit this place, but the view is rewording.
Valley is in the western Mojave Desert at an elevation ranging from 2600--3000
feet, making it a high desert environment.
Natural Reserve is located on California's most consistent poppy-bearing land. Looks
like that this area as a perfect microclimate, soil conditions and large open
grassland for wild California poppies flowers (the state’s official flower).
The super bloom
only happens every couple of years, after a winter with a lot of local rain/snow.
Even in a year
with a lot of rain the exact timing of the flower bloom is changing. And even
when it happened you can have situations that after a week of very hot temperatures
the flowers will die.
advance before you visit if the flowers are blooming.
The poppy flowers
are close each night and in cold temperatures and re-open when it is sunny and
Even at spring
it can be cold here and it is usually windy during the afternoon, bring warm
cloth with you.
website state the following: “Get away from the city and relax in the quietude
of the countryside” but when there are poppies flowers this park is overcrowded
Do expect to
see many peoples in the trails and viewing points as well as long line of cars
heading to the park.
When I visit
here during April 2023 some of the best blooms where outside of the park boundaries,
mainly in the large open grassland plains east of the park (north of Lancaster
Getting to the park:
The park is located
west of the city of Lancaster, and while driving west you will start to see poppy
fields few miles before reaching the park.
caution on Lancaster Road!
stopping suddenly alongside the road looking for parking spot, watch for car
doors swinging open, and people crossing the road.
I did few stops
near flower fields when driving to the park.
On of the most
popular stopping point before the park is in a poppy field that were planted by
I do not know
if this is private land or BLM. Looks like it is private but open to the public
without any restriction.
Not clear why
they plant the long strip of puppies, maybe this was planted to make sure there
are enough poopy seeds for the following years.
The location of
those poppy fields are exactly where the high-voltage electric power lines cross
Lancaster Rd., right at the junction of Fremont Neenach Rd and Munz Ranch Rd.
Here there are beautiful
flower fields, and many people parked their car and walk to enjoy the view.
You can park
along the main roadside or turn right (north) into the dirt-road and drive
along the powerlines deep into the open fields.
It is probably a
private land, but I did not saw any gate or sign so do it on your one risk.
If you are
visiting right after a rain and the road are wet, I will not recommend driving
on dirt road that can get very muddy and you will get stuck.
the park with your car prepared to wait.
When I visit
here 3:30pm at a weekend afternoon there was at least 45-minute traffic jam on Lancaster
Road heading to the park and on the road leading inti the park.
As many others, I parked my car alongside Lancaster Road more than half a mile from the park entrance and walk to the park.
Once you are in
the park you will start your hike.
There are 8
miles of trails in the reserve.
stick to the relatively short South and North Loop trails with a quick side
trip to one of the nearby Vista Points.
trails that stay in the lower section of the park but the climb to the top of
the hill is not difficult and highly recommended.
Always stay on
the official trails and do not enter the fields.
There are few
high-points location: Tehachapi Vista Point on the west, Kitanemuk just above
the parking lot and Antelope Bute on the far east section of the park.
There is a local
trail map, and the trails are clear.
You will always
be able to find your way and you will not get lost.
You just need
to walk and enjoy the view.
Decide on a
loop you want to take; I really recommend climbing one of the vista points that
provide you 360-degree view of the surrounding fields.
Although the park is crowded as you hike away from the parking lot there are less people around and you can find relax locations.
I spend here around 2 hours walking around and enjoying the view.