Where and how to find Southwestern desert wildflowers

Where and how to find Southwestern desert wildflowers

Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
We’ve been traveling throughout the Mojave and Sonora deserts of Southern California and Arizona this winter and are now excited about seeing the wildflowers that are starting to bloom. The problem is, we don’t know where to look. Can you advise? Thanks. —Rob and Eileen 

Hi Rob and Eileen, 
As you know, newcomers to the seemingly barren and desolate winter Snowbird roosts have a hard time visualizing the dry, sandy and rocky terrain consisting of varied shades of brown and tan covered in vivid and showy displays of impossibly colored wildflowers. When the bloom begins, wildflower hunters scurry about the desert floor, along highways, up rocky bajadas, and into narrow arroyos, oohing and aahing like crazed lunatics.

Wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California

As a wildflower hunter you must take advantage of time, abrupt seasonal change, elevation, rainfall amounts, and other factors to determine the location of the best displays. One of the first locations wildflowers pop their heads through the ground is along highways and in washes where rain is collected as runoff and provides extra moisture to germinate the seeds. Also, look for the first flowers at lower elevations, where the weather is warmer and on south-facing hillsides where they get the warm afternoon sun. Abundant carpets of wildflowers can group in shallows where rainwater collects, or when the temperatures rise under the protection of large desert trees or plants like palo verde, acacias, and saguaro cacti.

Also, be sure to visit visitor centers wherever you go. These are the people that can steer you to where the flowers are blooming in the area you are in. And use the wildflower hotlines in locations where wildflower viewing is especially good, like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park. And check out the following:

In California visit the DesertUSA website for wildflower reports, which also includes reports for other states.

In Arizona, visit the DesertUSA wildflower reports page also. And consider heading down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, one of the first places in the desert to see the bloom.

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s Blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

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One thought on “Where and how to find Southwestern desert wildflowers

  1. Ron

    And remember many cacti bloom at night!

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