Spring has sprung — or will have as of about 9:15 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday. In the weeks ahead, the season's new life and brighter colors will be busting out all over California — green buds, rushing rivers, desert blooms. And in these eight spots harvested from our California Bucket List, the spectacle is likely to be especially tempting.
Here's the roundup, with links to 2017 stories by Elisa Parhad, Chris Erskine and me.
1. Hunt for golden blooms at Antelope Valley's California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster
Some years (as in the photo) this site yields carpets of gold. After the last mostly dry year, the state's experts are predicting a "small to moderate bloom" that will begin in early April "if the weather holds and if we don't get too much frost or heat." On March 16, rangers reported fiddleneck, slender keel fruit, and filaree beginning to bloom, along with several small poppy plants alongside the Tehachapi Vista Point Trail, Antelope Trail South Loop, and Antelope Butte Trail.
2. Raft white water on the South Fork of the American River
3. Feel small under North America's tallest falls
4. Soak in the view of California's Grand Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
5. Drive that steep, curvy, busy, big-rig-filled mountain route that goes green and gold when the time is right -- the Grapevine
6. Splash and thrash on a river raft adventure on the Kern
7. Stop to smell the roses in the Los Angeles Flower District
8. Drink in the mist from Northern California's Burney Falls, 129 feet tall and as handsome as they come