Best of Fiddlenecks and Owl’s Clover ‘Is Yet to Come’ : Topanga Visitors Wild Over Phlox of Flowers
When the rains of winter subside, the crowds at Topanga--and other state parks in the Santa Monica Mountains--grow.
On Sunday, with cloudless skies and spring temperatures that climbed into the 90s, sun-soaked Pacific beaches weren’t the only destination for Southern Californians. About 300 people traveled to Topanga State Park--eight miles south of the Ventura Freeway in Topanga Canyon--to hike and smell the wildflowers.
They came with cameras slung around their necks and children in tow, searching for fiddleneck, lupine, poppy, owl’s clover, purple nightshade and prickly phlox.
But, park rangers say, cloudy days and rain have kept many people away this spring. The best of Topanga’s wildflower season is yet to come.
“Everything’s green and with the sun coming out, it will get really busy real soon,” said Ranger Greg Nelson.
The 9,000-acre park, which lies within Los Angeles city limits, slopes along the chaparral hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Its hills, grasslands and stands of oak trees are home to mule deer and fox, a few mountain lions, California quail, or even an occasional glimpse at a swooping hawk or falcon.
The park, one of eight state parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, recently received several visitor improvements, including the construction of permanent restrooms, an entrance station and a paved parking lot.
The busiest season extends from mid-April to mid-May, Nelson said, in between the winter rains and the scorching summer heat, when weather makes the trails dry and dusty.
“That’s when folks bypass us and go to the beach,” said Nelson.