5 Best Tips for Experiencing the Superbloom

Approximately a 3 minute read

‘Twas the second weekend of March. Southern California had gotten so much rain in December, January and February that rumors swirled that the famous desert “superbloom” was imminent. Last year I went desert camping with some friends in late April, which was a great time for camping but too late for flowers. This year I was determined to see some.

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Beat the crowds

The rest of San Diego county was determined to see them too, as it turned out. Luckily we started our day early, getting on the road by 8-ish, which put us in Anza-Borrego state park a little before 10. Before heading to the spot where the news stations had reported the “best” bloom, we pulled off into a little wash filled with beautiful and diverse flowers, without the crowd. However one of the plant varieties we saw (or rather, experienced), was the jumping cactus. Make sure to give those plenty of space!

After exploring our private ravine we headed closer tho the town of Borrego Springs where large blooms were reported. Having driven through this part of the desert before (when it is normally so brown and barren), I really was impressed with the number of flowers and different types. I counted at least ten varieties.

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5 Crucial Tips for Experiencing the Superbloom

  1. Get up early. Like I said above, we left San Diego early and got a few moments with the flowers to ourselves. I’m not a morning person, but I knew the drive out to the desert would be longer than I thought. We didn’t get stuck in traffic on the way out or back, and the weather was not too hot (it got hot around the time we were leaving anyway).
  2. Go with friends. Isn’t everything better with friends? from almost anywhere you are, it’s gonna be a bit of a drive. Carpooling is better for the environment and sharing an experience like viewing the superbloom is one you won’t soon forget. Also, your photos will be more fun!
  3. Respect the flowers. Remember the part about the jumping cactus? As you’re looking at some of the light and delicate flowers, remember that there are lots of tough desert cacti around as well. Even more importantly: Remember, the beautiful flowers you’re out to view are living things as well and provide habitat for insects and other wildlife. Stay on dirt trails and don’t trample or lie down and squash the wildflowers. Leave them pristine for the next visitors!
  4. Respect other visitors. I know sometimes it takes a million shots to get the perfect selfie, but there may be lots of others waiting to get a beautiful picture while you’re hogging the primo location. Just always remember to be considerate. 🙂
  5. Hydrate. We went out weeks ago and it was already so, so hot by noon. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and then add couple more bottles. Be prepared: better safe than sorry!

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Bonus tip:

Check social media before you go. Part of what makes the super bloom so special is how ephemeral it is. If you check the Anza-Borrego page and they haven’t reported a lot of flowers lately, don’t go all the way out there and then be mad that the caterpillars ate them all. That’s nature I guess!

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My friend shared a beautiful purple field in Kansas this week and I’ve also been seeing some amazing Texas bluebonnets on Instagram this month! What are the wildflowers like in your area?



Staci blogs about travel at TheVoyageer.com.


20 Responses

  1. I searched for Jumping Cactus on YouTube and it made my knees weak. YIKES! Cacti freak me out. No matter how far away I am, I just know I’m going to fall onto it. It’s nonsense but what can you do.
    That being said. I would LOVE to see this in person!

    • They are so beautiful it is hard to keep a safe distance– I was getting really close to take a photo and Doug was sweating bullets!

  2. Staci: Fun to compare Anza-Borrego notes. Take a couple of days and drive north to the Carrizo Plain. A whole different experience. We should be posting on our visit there in the next couple of days.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Dan! Great recommendation on the Carrizo Plain. Will stop by your blog to see your post soon!

  3. I think its oh-so important to respect the wildlife and make sure that you’re leaving pristine flowers for the other visitors. Too often, visitors, probably not with bad intentions, forget that these too are living breathing things, and trample them in search of that perfect picture. It’s great advice to always be aware of your surroundings and try to leave no trace.

    • The more I learn about camping and backpacking, the more I try to think about “leave no trace” principles in lots of different aspects of my life!

      • Same. They’re so important to remember and practice in every day life, not just in nature.

  4. This superbloom looks amazing. Have read several posts this week on this and I wish I could visit California now. It’s beautiful!
    Discovered your blog on the weekly postcard linkup party

  5. I’m so bummed I can’t make a trip out West to see this – hopefully next year! There’s nothing quite like the desert in bloom! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  6. I want to visit the flowers so bad! I wanted to go last weekend and it didn’t happen. Let see if I can go somewhere tomorrow. By mid March, most of the good stuff will be gone. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. Catching the Super Bloom seems to require a knack for timing I just don’t have. Not going to stop trying, though! Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy your pictures and scheme for next spring. 😉 Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • I’ve never heard of the superbloom but I love wildflowers and going out to the desert to see them bloom sounds awesome! Great photos, love the colours. #weeklypostcard

      • Thanks for stopping by! The desert flowers bloom every year but not this many, for this long. It truly has been “super!”

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