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Antelope Valley poppy reserve bloom: It's only going to get better

Dense carpets of orange poppies have bloomed along the hillsides and ridges at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster.

Dense carpets of orange poppies have bloomed along the hillsides and ridges at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster. The golden poppies are at peak, mostly on the east side of the reserve, and likely will last through the end of April and possibly into May, state park officials said Tuesday.

"It started on the south-facing slopes and is moving into the flat areas and is only going to get better," park interpreter Jean Rhyne said Tuesday.

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She subjectively ranked it a 9 out of 10, or what's casually called a super bloom.

Besides poppies, filaree (pink), fiddleneck (yellow) and lacy phacelia (purplish) were blooming at the reserve. Goldfields and cream cups are expected to shoot up too, according to a recent Poppy Reserve/Mojave Desert Interpretive Assn. field report.

Poppies and phacelia in bloom at the poppy reserve in Lancaster.

Flower lovers wait each year for Eschscholzia californica to bloom at the only parkland dedicated to California's state flower, which was designated March 2, 1903.

Flower lovers should come early on midweek days. The parking lot, which charges $10, often closes on busy weekends, sometimes as early as 9 a.m.

Visitors may park in Lancaster Road outside the park and park for free.

To best see the poppies, time your visit on a sunny or light-filled day because flowers close up when it's overcast. Also, stay on trails — you can hike to Antelope Butte or Kitanemuk vista points in a few miles — and don't lie down or sit in the flower fields to snap a photo.

Wildflowers in a photo taken Wednesday at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
Wildflowers in a photo taken Wednesday at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. (2019 California State Parks)

Info: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15101 Lancaster Road, Lancaster

Saddleback Butte State Park, also in Lancaster, is a little drier and higher in altitude than the reserve. Still, wildflowers such as fiddlenecks, coreopsis, Mojave suncups, woolly daisies and red maids are blooming, according to the park's Facebook page. You can also see Joshua trees flowering as well. The park is at 17102 E. Ave. J in Lancaster.

Visitors should keep an eye on Red Rock Canyon State Park, about 25 miles north of Mojave on California Highway 14. It has a few slopes heavy in poppies, coreopsis and desert sunflowers and patches of other flowers, according to an email Wednesday from a state park ranger.

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