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When Do Wildflowers Bloom in Death Valley, Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra?

Congratulations!  We have prepared some easy and quick directions for you to find great wildflowers in Southern California’s deserts and mountains.

Botanists, who are plant experts, will tell you annual wildflower blooms in California’s low and high desert regions are difficult to predict, eluding the most determined enthusiasts’ attempts to catch wildflowers at a perfect time.

Flower seekers commit to study and learn how water, temperature, wind and elevation work together to create the exact conditions for flowers to display vibrant color and broad distribution.  These environmental factors determine the best and various locations for you as a wildflower aficionado to find the best blooms. As you get better finding wildflowers, you will find each year is different as to when they bloom, the variety of bloom, and density of their numbers.

Committing to learn the tools below will increase your probability to find good desert wildflowers in spring and alpine wildflowers in summer.   Then each year, use them to monitor, travel to and discover these seasonal treasures as other successful enthusiasts do.

Water plays the most important role to help flowers germinate.  The amount, pattern of rainfall and subsequent temperatures affect wildflower abundance and diversity.  In some years, wildflowers carpet an area while other years will display few to none. Small doses of rain and regularity are best during winter.  Too much rain can rot or wash away wildflower seeds. Too little rain lessens seed germination. Each season is unique to its particular wildflower bloom.

Temperature is also essential.  Warm days are a good indicator of a full bloom ahead.  If it gets too hot, seeds will dry out. Very cold temperatures will prevent flowers from blooming.  Also, frequent springtime windstorms without additional rain can bring about a quick end to the spring bloom or even prevent it from happening by killing off delicate sprouts.  Wildflowers require almost a “Goldilocks – Just Right” scenario to produce good blooms.

Death Valley, Owens Valley, and Eastern Sierra spring bloom periods for elevations of 1000 to 5000 feet occur usually from March through June; alpine wildflowers in the high Sierra begin in summer and can go into September.

Wildflower devotees search the following links to monitor “real time” status of desert blooms.  Areas include Death Valley and other California Desert regions:

Hobbyists also read a little known gem entitled Wildflower Hot Spots of the Eastern Sierra produced by professional botanists.  Anne Halford, one of the botanists, notes this booklet describes twelve wildflower sites which “highlights the unique geology, ecology and unparalleled flora along 150 miles of the Eastern Sierra corridor”.

Click the link below to review this fabulous document as well as our website blogs to find wildflower hot spots.

When visiting flower locations, please refrain from taking wildflowers home or back to camp with you.  Flowers in the national parks are protected by law. Wildflower enthusiasts don’t trample flowers, leaving them undisturbed for others to enjoy.

Stop at our chamber office when you come to Bishop to pick up a print copy of the Wildflower Hot Spots of the Eastern Sierra. We are located at 690 N. Main, in the A frame building across from Carl’s Junior Drive In.

If you need anything else, please let us know.
The Bishop Visitor Center Hosts


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