2017 Carrizo Plain Wildflowers

The grassland Carrizo Plain is flanked by the Caliente Range to the west and the Temblor Range to the east. On a map, it is roughly centered between Pismo Beach and Bakersfield. The Temblors were formed by the San Andreas and other fault tectonics. In fact, the San Andreas Fault line runs parallel to the range at its western base. But this post is about the wildflowers.  Carrizo’s valley, and the Temblor Range in particular, has recently exploded in a profusion of colors.

We detoured through Carrizo on the way to LA on March 31. Bright patches of wildflowers, appearing more frequently and larger as we approached Carrizo Plain, reminded me of seeing the first patches of snow on a winter ski trip. After a brief stop at Shell Creek Road along highway 58 for some wildflower photo opportunities, we continued to the main event. Our primary route was down Elkhorn Road, looking for road spurs to bring us closer to the Temblor Range on our left. Our objective was dense mosaics of yellow, purple, orange, red, blue, green… Most of the range that was visible to us was carpeted in bright yellow with swaths of purple and green and small patches of orange.

I returned on April 14 to see the specific colorful hills that have been the subject of many wildflower reports and Facebook posts. Walking among the dense multicolored tufts of flowers was indescribably surreal. Indescribable.