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Catching the Tail End of Poppy Season in the Antelope Valley

Orange poppies!
Orange poppies!

The poppy season in Antelope Valley is nearing its end early this year, but on a little adventure yesterday, I found that there was still a rolling hillside blanketed in wildflowers in hues of orange, yellow and purple.

My friend and I were on our way to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster (about an hour and a half drive from central LA) and found the flowery hillside on the side of the road by Lake Elizabeth Road and Munz Ranch Road. Lake Elizabeth serves as a backdrop adjacent to the hillside, and there were also about a dozen other people who were snapping photos of the wildflowers there.

Purple wildflowers.


Lake Elizabeth in the background of the flowery hillside.
Lake Elizabeth in the background of the flowery hillside.

We had read updates from the reserve’s website that there would be barely anything left except grassy fields. But we decided to still try our luck, so it was a pleasant surprise that we were still able to find this little swath of beautiful flowers. However, we continued driving for another 15 minutes and on the path to the visitors center, we saw just patches of grass with barely any flowers. The park ranger told us there weren’t really any poppies left in the reserve.

Rangers posted online last week about the bloom: “The season appears to be ending early, as the rains a couple weeks ago came too late to sustain the bloom that had barely gotten started. The fields are mostly grasses now and there will likely be few wildflowers left by our usual mid-April peak.”

People milling around the poppies and snapping photos.
Me, standing in a poppy field!
I’m standing in a poppy field!

With or without the flowers, the reserve, though, has some trails to stroll around and a picnic area. If you want to catch some flowers, going to Lake Elizabeth Road and Munz Ranch Road is your best bet, and it’s something you’ll have to do very soon. (Since that’s not part of the reserve and just on the side of the road, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee like you would at the reserve.) But for a bigger bloom at the reserve, visiting the area next season is the way to go.


Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is located at 15101 Lancaster Rd. in Lancaster; (661) 724-1180. You can still see some flowers on Lake Elizabeth Road and Munz Ranch Road in Lake Hughes, close by to the reserve.

2 thoughts on “Catching the Tail End of Poppy Season in the Antelope Valley

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