On a day like any other day, except for the fact that it was the weekend, which meant it was a day with great possibilities for wandering places yet unseen, unseen to me that is. I thought it was time to take a trip up to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve. I’d read about it but never been. Plus, it was shaping up to be a really nice spring day in SoCal. So, I rounded up Lexi and jumped in a friend’s car for an impromptu road trip. Thankfully, it’s not terribly far. Only about an hour and a half drive north of LA.
We arrived to beautiful blue skies with puffy white clouds and I thought to myself, “This is going to be great!” Then we got out of the car…Burr!!!! It was cold and windy. Not just a little light breeze but some serious wind. No worries though. We had been through worse. Plus, let’s be honest, if you’re going to drive out to the poppy preserve and attempt you’re own version of Dorthy in the Poppy field from the Wizard of Oz, then you’re not going to give up as soon as you open the car door and are faced with some wind. Would Dorothy have given up? I think not! So, we grabbed our jackets and set off. (*side note – always pack a jacket!)
From the parking lot there are trails heading out in multiple directions so before we set off we consulted the map and opted for basically a nice large loop in and around the place. We figured that would give us the best overall experience and then we could go back and select smaller trails for further exploration. It was the perfect plan, except for the wind. Did I mention the wind?
There were poppies as far as the eye could see. They were everywhere! The only downside was that they were all closed up against the wind. Damn wind! But, nonetheless they were impressive. The hills were literally orange and green. I think I might be falling in love with orange again and I think Poppies might be making their way into the list of my most favorite flowers ever!
We were there for probably half the day just wandering the hills, taking pictures, admiring the flowers, watching the clouds roll past us, and just enjoying the day. I may have complained about the wind a bit though. But there were some parts when you sort of hiked down below a hill and the wind stopped that you could really take a couple of minutes to enjoy where you were. It was still surprisingly chilly even without the wind battering you. But, in those moments, you could feel the place and truly appreciate it.
The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve is part of the Mojave Desert even though it’s close to 3,000ft in elevation. The blooming season varies year to year because, as you know, Mother Nature does her own thing, but it’s usually in the Spring (aprox. February through May). It’s also the most consistent poppy bearing space in all of California so you are bound to see something amazing. The trails are well maintained and there are more than eight miles of them so you can decide what works for you. There’s a parking fee of $10.
All in, it was a beautiful day, and one I would totally repeat again, but maybe on a slightly less windy day so that the poppies are open and in full display. I would highly recommend going. It’s well worth the drive, but then again, when is nature ever not worth the drive?
Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve: 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536
For more info: California Departments of Parks and Recreation