Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2016

Death Valley Wildflowers 3/23/16

Death Valley National Park reports the following wildflower Update

The bloom has definitely moved on to the mid-elevations. Great places to see the flowers now are the Daylight Pass Road and the road to Dante’s View. Some flowers are blooming at the 2-3,000 foot elevations on Townes Pass and on the curvy road to Father Crowley Lookout.
Another quiet gem of a drive is the Scotty’s Castle Road. Although there are not a lot of big showy patches of flowers along this road, some of the individual plants are absolutely exquisite. Diversity increases as you go further north. Going on to Ubehebe Crater, the Purple Mat (Nama demissum) looks striking against the black volcanic rock.
One place in the lower elevations that still seems to be hanging in there is Artist’s Drive. That is because most of the drive is in canyons, which are a little more protected from the sun and wind than the wide open alluvial fans. With that in mind, if you want to hike and see flowers, canyons are your best bet. Even the lower elevation canyons still contain a multitude of blooms, so go explore one of the wrinkles in the landscape and see what treasures you can find.
For dirt road back road explorers, there are lots of possibilities. Although the higher elevations are just getting started, the lower end of Titus Canyon is in full bloom now. Hole In The Wall and Echo Canyon are bursting with Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) blooms. I hear good things about the Big Pine/Death Valley Road, too.
Don’t travel the Greenwater Road if you’re tired of yellow. But if you’re not, you will see a parade of gold, as one species after another puts on a show. Have fun exploring, but keep in mind that our back roads require high clearance, and for many of them you need four wheel drive, too. Wherever you go, happy flower hunting! 


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