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Where To Find Wildflowers During San Diego Desert’s ‘Super Bloom’

Desert wildflowers in bloom near Borrego Springs, March 10, 2017.

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: Desert wildflowers in bloom near Borrego Springs, March 10, 2017.

San Diego's heavy rains this winter have led to what's expected to be the biggest bloom in two decades.

Desert wildflowers have begun to bloom, and there are a lot of them.

San Diego's heavy rains this winter have led to what could be the biggest bloom in several years. A variety of flowers can be seen in Anza-Borrego Desert and in spots around the town of Borrego Springs two hours east of San Diego.

"It's really beautiful right now, the flowers are popping out, and there are a lot of people here," said Betsy Knaak, the director of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association & Borrego Desert Nature Center.

She said different flowers bloom at different times, and don't last more than a few weeks, so she cautioned her recommendations of where to see flowers may not hold for very long.

But right now, she said, good spots around Borrego Springs include:

—Henderson Canyon Road, which is in full bloom with desert sunflowers and dune evening primrose

—Lazy S Drive and the intersection of Borrego Springs Road and Tilting T Drive, both of which have carpets of yellow desert dandelions

—County Road S3 near Rams Hill Road, which is lined with desert marigolds

She added that it's a great year for spotting desert lilies, which "look just like easter lilies coming out of the sand."

The Borrego Desert Nature Center on Palm Canyon Drive also has a botanical garden in full bloom, including special plants such as canterbury bells, penstemon and apricot mallow.

But with the bloom have come crowds and traffic, Knaak cautioned. She said it would be better to visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on the weekdays when it's less crowded. Parking lots near trails are often full, especially on weekends.

Knaak said the flowers along Palm Canyon Trail, Henderson Canyon, Plum Canyon and Coyote Canyon are in bloom.

She added that other flowers are just starting to bloom, including ocotillo and beavertail cactus, so there will be different flowers to see next week.

Temperatures in the area will be above 90 degrees this weekend, so try to visit in the mornings and bring water and protective sun gear.


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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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