Spring is here, and one of the best parts of this time of year is the blooming of Monterey County’s extensive population of wildflowers. According to Monterey County Wildflowers, Monterey County is home to over 2,300 different species of wildflowers comprising over 140 families. The climate and ecosystem in this part of the world is one-of-a-kind, and these blooms are no-doubt a product of just that.
Here are a few of the best places to see wildflowers in and around Monterey this spring.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is one of our favorite outdoor destinations near The Sanctuary Beach Resort. It’s home to a wide range of sights, including rare plant communities, standout geological formations, wildlife of the land and sea, and endangered archeological sites. You can find sea lions, whales, hiking trails, and an array of wildflowers here.
The wildflower bloom at Point Lobos offers visitors access to several of the most colorful and majestic species indigenous to the area. In the spring, you can find wild lilacs, Douglas irises, and California poppies along hiking trails throughout the state reserve. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is just a twenty-minute drive from The Sanctuary Beach Resort.
Pinnacles National Park is one of the most unique and magical national parks in Central California. Located in the east Salinas Valley, the park is the product of a series of volcano eruptions that took place over 23 million years ago, leaving strange, beautiful rock formations that are absolutely worth seeing for nature lovers. A popular destination for hikers, the park is home to woodlands, canyons, caves, and amazing wildlife that includes peregrine falcons and golden eagles.
On top of all its attractions, Pinnacles National Park is also a home for wildflower blooms every spring. During peak blooming season, which happens between the months of March and May, nearly 100 species of wildflowers bloom here, and they’re spread out across lowlands and high peaks throughout the park.
Fort Ord National Monument is located at the former Fort Ord military base, and it’s a diverse location with a wide range of rare plant and animal species. It’s a 14,000 acre piece of land that includes over 83 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. For biking in particular, Fort Ord is an excellent place to visit, as it has verified routes for both mountain biking and paved-road cycling. The wildflowers at Fort Ord National Monument add another reason for travelers to check it out.
The flowers here bloom throughout the diverse space on rolling hills, under the towering trees of oak groves, and across vistas overlooking Monterey Bay. Among the many wildflowers that bloom here, you can find wild daffodils, California poppies, and sky lupine. This is a colorful collection of flowers blooming in a very scenic location.
Garrapata State Park is a state park located between Monterey and Big Sur on the Monterey Coast. Located just off Highway 1 about twenty miles north of Big Sur, this park is comprised of nearly 3,000 acres of coastal trails, cliffs, redwood groves, and lookouts where you can spot sea lions, sea otters, and harbor seals. It’s also a solid spot to see giant California gray whales passing by.
There are some fantastic wildflowers that bloom at Garrapata State Park, and trails go through vibrant fields of purple and blue blooms. When you visit this place in the spring, you can check out monkey flowers, Monterey Indian paintbrush flowers,calla lilies and California poppies throughout.
The Pacific Grove Coastline, which is a section of The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, is a coastal trail that everyone needs to see. The Pacific Grove section of the trail runs from Marina to Pacific Grove in Monterey County, and it includes 23 acres of cliffside lookouts, walking and biking trails, and recreational trails. It’s also well known as one of the best places to check out wildflowers in the spring.
A nickname for the area during the bloom is the “magic purple carpet,” and it refers to gorgeous stretches of ice plants taking over the coastal trails. There are few more majestic places to take in the splendor of Monterey during the spring wildflower season.
Planning a visit to the shores of Monterey Bay? Experience the region like a local, following our insider recommendations on the Sanctuary Beach Resort blog!