Easter weekend may be the perfect time to visit the Carrizo Plain and see the super bloom of wildflowers so intense that it shows up on satellite imagery from space. (More on that later.)
The remote national monument about three hours northwest of L.A. is getting a lot of love this season from visitors who immerse themselves in the oceans of yellow and purple flowers that have sprung up after a wetter-than-usual winter.
Blooms are expected to last only until the end of April at the park that's between San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield. If you go, here are four of the best places to see flowers. Don't forget your camera.
1. Seven Mile Road/Highway 58
Enter from the northeast on Highway 58, and turn onto Seven Mile Road (just outside the national monument).
You'll immediately see yellow hillsides, hikers heading up foot-trodden paths and umpteen photographers trying to take it all in.
2. Overlook Hill and Soda Lake
Take Soda Lake Road from the northern part of the park and you'll soon come to both of these stops — and they don't disappoint.
Take the short climb up the overlook for panoramic views of the plain, and then walk the boardwalk along the usually dry Soda Lake, which at the moment has pockets of water.
3. Selby Campground turnoff
You'll see signs for Selby Campground on Soda Lake Road about 20 miles south of the intersection with Highway 58.
Stop the car! Oceans of yellow daisies abound on both sides of the road.
4. Simmler Road
Coming from the north, this dirt road takes you along Soda Lake and other smaller bodies of water. And yes, there's still water — and a bright white ring around the shoreline from evaporated salt and minerals.
You'll see fields of yellow on both sides of the road; just pull off and start snapping pictures.
A few things to know about the Carrizo Plain:
►Parts of the area are private property; the park asks visitors to be respectful of those lands.
►There are no services inside the park. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and bring your own snacks, lunch and water. The nearest town is about 50 miles away.
►The super bloom has meant big crowds on the paved and sometimes dirt roads at Carrizo. Don't expect to travel very fast as you make your way along Soda Lake Road and other routes. And do expect to wait at least 20 minutes for the few bathrooms in the park.
About those images from space: A Washington Post article juxtaposes satellite maps from 2016 (a drought year) with this year's maps. It's an impressive display of the wildflower boom from on high.