Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 7, 2017

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 4/7/17

Anza-Borrego State Park reports

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflower Update April 7, 2017

The displays of annual wildflowers that earned the moniker “Superbloom” are past their peak, but many flowers are still to be found in Anza-Borrego.

Ocotillos are still blooming, and they are beautiful! Good places to look for them are: Highway S-22 toward the Salton Sea, Borrego Springs Road south of Tilting T, the junction of Borrego Springs Road and Highway 78, Yaqui Pass Road (also great for fragrant desert senna), and Ocotillo Flats, near Desert Gardens in Coyote Canyon.

Rocky hillsides are aglow with the yellow flowers of brittlebush, making for a beautiful drive to the west up either Montezuma Grade (Highway S-22) or up and over Yaqui Pass Road (Highway S-3). Ocotillos and cacti can be found among the rocks, also.

The Bill Kenyon Overlook Trail (at the top of Yaqui Pass) has brittlebush and other perennials in bloom, and a lovely overlook, which can be reached by hiking one mile from the Yaqui Pass Primitive Camp (a shorter trail leaves from a pullout on Hwy S-3).

The Mine Wash Village site has plenty of shrubs in bloom, as well as cacti and a few annuals. 4WD vehicles can continue up the road for more flowers.

Hikers should be able to find shrubs in bloom, along with cacti and perhaps some annuals, in canyons such as Palm Canyon, Hellhole Canyon, and especially Plum Canyon (off Highway 78; 2WD vehicles should stay right at the fork).

The Visitor Center remains one of the best places to see many varieties of cacti in bloom, as well as shrubs (indigo bush!) and ocotillo.

A fine patch of lupine continues to bloom across the highway from Arroyo Salado.

Most of the sunflowers in the fields along on Henderson Canyon Road have gone to seed, but a walk out into the fields (toward the mountains) might yield a few patches of fresher, still-blooming sunflowers.

A few patches of sand verbena may still linger among the desert dandelions and pincushion blooming around the collection of metal sculptures near the junction of Borrego Springs Road (north) and Henderson Canyon Road (east).

Visitors who have a day or more would do well to explore the southern half of the park, also. Flowers should be coming into bloom at higher elevations, and the primitive camps at Blair Valley and Mountain Palm Springs should be less crowded. Fill your gas tank before heading south, take plenty of water, and be prepared to pack out your trash. No ground fires. Be sure to drink plenty of water while you are here!

Wildflower Locations

  • Visitor Center Area: garden and parking lot

    In this easily accessible area you’ll find that shrubs and ocotillo are beautiful, as well as a variety of blooming cacti and a few persisting annuals–desert dandelions, pincushion.

    Borrego Palm Canyon

    This popular canyon has plants that bloom on both the main and alternate trails.  You may see lots of Phacelia, Chuparosa, Brittlebush and Desert Lavender.  Also look for Desert Chicory, blooming Ocotillo, Desert Wishbone, Desert Dandelion, Canterbury Bells, and Brown-eyed Evening Primrose.  On the alternate trail, you may see Monkey Flowers, Parish’s Golden Poppy, Little Gold Poppy, and Rock Hibiscus. Keep an eye out for dainty Whispering Bells and Fiesta Flower!

    Henderson Canyon Road

    The “Sunflower Fields” are well past peak bloom, but a few patches can still be found by walking out into the fields. Near the east end of the road (west of Pegleg Monument area) a few Lupine persist. At the west end of the road (near the statues of Galleta Meadows), you may find a few patches of Sand Verbena among the yellow desert dandelions and white pincushion blossoms.

    Coyote Canyon

    A beautiful stand of ocotillo blooms near Desert Gardens, along with fragrant indigo bush. 4WD is recommended beyond Desert Gardens.

    Mine Wash

    Two-wheel-drive vehicles can get as far as the Village site, for blooming shrubs. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can go beyond, for even more flowers.

    Plum Canyon

    Desert Apricot and Turpentine Broom have been spotted here, as well as Dudleya and a variety of shrubs. Keep an eye out for pink monkeyflowers in sandy wash areas.

    DiGiorgio and Henderson Canyon Roads

    Some nice Sand Verbena still blooms near the corner of DiGiorgio and Henderson Canyon Roads.

    Please Remember

    Vehicles must be parked no more than one vehicle length off the road and must not trample vegetation or drive over geological features.  Dogs must remain on a leash no longer than six feet and are not allowed cross-country or on hiking trails. Pets may not be left unattended.  Please enjoy the Wildflowers and allow future visitors to enjoy them as well.

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers reports

4/5 A return visit to this higher elevation hike.
Small fields of Douglas’ violet, Viola douglasii and California buttercup, Ranunculus californicus.
Larger fields of California goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis and Erodium.
From the scrubs Cup leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus perplexans was in excellent bloom, at higher elevations.
Our favorite Bush poppy, Dendromecon rigida dotted the area.
Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 78
Pictures: Fages monument – CRHT – PCT – Loop

4/4 A hike up Grapevine Peak from the west along a route we’ve never hiked before.
We knew the first part of the hike would include Wide throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes and we were not disappointed.
Encountering more and steeper dry falls than expected going up to the PCT and not to forget slippery terrain.
Just after we left the PCT an aggressive rattlesnake, so we had to move around it and were way more alert.
The flower display is very good. with displays of Brittlebush and Wild canterbury bells.
Back along the PCT the bloom was even better, surprisingly good looking big Whispering bells and Hairy blazing stars.
This is our Nemacladus hunting season, they are rather rare in the area, but we found yet another location of Long flowered Threadplant, Nemacladus longiflorus longiflorus.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 80
Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 57
Pictures: Grapevine Peak west




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