Poppy Peepin' in Antelope Valley

Super Bloom in California's Poppy Reserve

Poppy Peepin’ in Antelope Valley

Poppy Peepin’ in Antelope Valley

April 6, 2017 // In California

I’m taking a Flower Power Tour of Southern California! This time, to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, just 90 minutes outside of Los Angeles (near Lancaster/Palmdale). It’s time to go Poppy Peeping!

 – – Did you know that the Poppy is California’s State Flower? – –

The Poppy Reserve is super easy to find… 1), Because it’s only 2 turns off the highway and 2), you can see the hillsides aglow with speckled orange from miles away. By 11am on Friday, it was already POPPIN’ with traffic, starting about 5 miles out from the Reserve.

These photos below are from OUTSIDE of the Reserve: Lots of visitors get excited upon first Poppy sighting (myself included!), and start roaming the fields outside of the park for the perfect photo opp. (Once you’re inside the park, you are not allowed to walk into the fields. Tread lightly! Be careful not to trample any flowers, and watch for snakes!


There are 8 miles of trails, some of which are even ADA friendly! That sounds like a lot… but it’s basically a huge Figure 8 with some shortcuts in between. It’s easy to navigate, because it’s all out in the open fields. (That said – beware of wind & sun!)  Download the Trail Map Here.

These photos below are from the Poppy Trail North Loop (to the LEFT of the Visitor’s Center): It only took about a half-a-mile of meandering to part ways with most of the crowd. Though there were not many poppies on the North Loop when I went, this was actually my favorite part of the trail. I half expected Dorothy and Toto to come skipping down the spiraling footpaths.

The Santa Ana Winds must have caused a tornado last night, because I seem to have woken up in Oz…

The technicolor hills of orange, purple, yellow & green against a robin-egg blue sky created a very surreal experience. The sun, hanging high in the sky, cast a washed-out Easter hue over the hills. The vast pastel landscape felt like a living painting.

These photos below are from the Poppy Trail South Loop (to the RIGHT of the Visitor’s Center), heading toward Antelope Butte Vista Point. I only made it about 1/2 way to the Butte before I decided I’d had enough of winds.


😺 There is NO SHADE anywhere on the reserve. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water!

😺 It is extremely WINDY. My face was actually wind-burnt by the end of the day!

😺 No Dogs Allowed

😺 No Camping Allowed

😺 PARKING is tricky. It’s $10… if you’re lucky enough to snag a spot in the small lot. Otherwise, you’ll have to hoof it about a mile. Parking is free on Lancaster Road, but be sure you are parked legally. There are several “no parking” arrows right next to the entrance of the reserve.
😺 There are no restaurants or snacks, so pack a picnic.

😺 There are, however, port-a-potties. Yaaaaay.

😺 You MUST STAY ON THE TRAIL for erosion and rattlesnake reasons


The best time to visit:  Mid-Morning on a sunny day. By afternoon, the winds usually kick up, causing the poppies to curl.

When do the poppies bloom each year? Sometime in mid March – early May. It all depends on the weather. ACT FAST! If you are lucky to catch a bloom, get your Poppy Peeping Party out there ASAP. It could be gone in as little as 2 weeks.


-Visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve website
Poppy Reserve Wildflower Hotline: (661) 724-1180
-Address: 15101 Lancaster Rd Lancaster, CA 93536
-Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset 24/7


By: Travel Meow

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