Wish granted! I am so grateful we got to see this super bloom…truly an experience! I can see why thousands of people are flocking from all over to see this rare event (biggest in 2 decades officials say). The mass of desert sunflowers carpeted this whole flower field along Henderson Canyon Road and was exhilarating to explore! In the top photo, one can also see dots of pink sand verbena, but there were quite a few more flowers hiding everywhere. There are ‘rolling blooms’ so more is to come and probably different flowers too, but I’m glad I got to see these today. The wildflowers are supposed to last a few weeks at the most, depending on weather and caterpillar conditions.
If I can offer three main tips, I would recommend:
- Get there as early as possible. Flowers open up early but close up when it starts heating up. We left in pitch dark and arrived just in time to watch the sunrise at the visitor’s center. Can you believe the 3 parking lots were full already at 8 AM? The center was not opened, but lines for the bathrooms were long and people were enjoying the flowers already.
- Be prepared for lines and traffic. We got there early so no problems, but leaving took us double the time. Getting lunch was problematic. If I wasn’t so busy looking at flowers, I would’ve thought about lunch and shopping earlier. I think everybody was thinking the same!
- Try to enjoy the sights and give yourself time. In each flower field, after I looked harder, I saw more different species of flowers hiding underneath. I took plenty of photos, but I also enjoyed the views and stopped to smell the flowers. 🙂
Below bright yellow desert dandelions cover the field, but the main bloom that caught my attention was the beautiful pink one on the beavertail cactus. (This photo was taken near where Borrego Springs turns into Desert Canyon Road).
Above is a photo from the same area, with lots of blue wild heliotrope amongst the desert dandelions. My favorite color is blue, so I was hoping to see masses of blue…not this time, but yellow is wonderful as well.
There were plenty of the pink sand verbena and more desert sunflowers everywhere. Little white popcorn flowers are scattered below and the taller white cluster of flowers are the brown-eyed primrose. However, my favorite was the desert lily, which is seen to the right standing tall. 🙂
We saw so many different wildflowers…it was truly a feast for my eyes! I’m not a botanist by any means, but I love flowers and try to learn as much as I can about them. I put my photos in a little collage below, but one can also pick up the Spring Wildflowers Guide at the Anza Borrego Visitor Center or State Park Store. They were running out of the guides by the time I got to the store at noon so I would suggest getting one early (they open at 9AM).
The top two flowers are Dune Evening Primrose, the top right is Desert Sunflower, middle left is the Desert Lily, middle photo is sand verbena, middle right is brown eyed primrose, bottom left is the one I can’t remember and not on the guide (:0 anyone know?) , bottom middle is the wild heliotrope, and bottom right is the beavertail cactus bloom.
Even the Ocotillo is starting to bloom…there are pink spiky tips on each branch. I can imagine it will be even more spectacular very soon.
These white Dune Evening Primroses above are so beautiful and fragrant! I did a modified handstand to smell this flower (since it was so low to the ground) and it was the strongest smelling flower out of the ones I saw. Some were slightly pink. But, they were also the quickest to close up and fade…by about noon, I saw that most were shriveled up.
Below is my favorite flower. I hoped to find just one Desert Lily. So imagine my excitement when I found my first one near the Galleta Meadows Camel Structure! It was a beautiful lone flower near the side of the road. After that, I started seeing desert lilies with multiple buds everywhere. I think we may have seen 30 by the time we left (underestimate I think). But once I trained my eyes to look, they were everywhere. I was very pleasantly surprised. 🙂
Below is another desert lily but there were tiny pink flowers close to it. I looked closer and they were indeed purple mat flowers. Then I started noticing them everywhere too. 🙂
The above photo shows a green and black caterpillar hiding under some popcorn flowers. Yick. I’m not a fan of caterpillars, especially when I hear they demolish these pretty wildflowers fast. Some years, the officials say they contribute to why the wildflowers only last for a couple of weeks…these critters are ravenous.
I included a photo below to remind myself that flower pollen is everywhere. Here it’s on my leg cuff and hiking boots. Just in case, dress accordingly. Also, I didn’t get much allergies thankfully but I did take my allergy meds before I left (spring and flowers usually sends me into massive sneeze attacks). Oh, and try as I might, I was hopping over flowers and walking as gently as possible on the soft sand, but I was paranoid I was stepping over some poor little flower somewhere. I chose the sandiest and most well traveled routes possible. But in a full grown flower field, the paths were definitely harder to find.
Before I left, I took another long look at the glorious field of yellow flowers. Weeks ago, I was in the same spots looking at just desert sand. This was quite the transformation. A truly amazing gift that mother nature has bestowed on us this year!
Thanks for reading!