Santa Monica Mountains: Ceanothus blooms at peak
Washington, D.C., has its cherry blossoms, but L.A. has a wild bloomer that's far more profuse and just as beautiful. Ceanothus, also misnamed California or mountain lilac (it vaguely resembles lilac but isn't part of the lilac family), is a shrubby wonder that erupts in spring -- and this year's showing is spectacular.
It's peak time right now for fuzzy white blooms of big-pod ceanothus in the western Santa Monica Mountains. Barring any super hot days, the flowering should continue for another month. Other types from pale blue to white will bloom as late as June.
To see ceanothus at its best this month, I recommend the roughly 4-mile hike from Leo Carrillo State Park to the pond at Nicholas Flat. It's a steady uphill trail that will take you through canopies of the sweet-smelling shrubs. You'll get breathtaking views of the Pacific and Channel Islands too.