Prepare for the Blooms!
Take Sky Valley’s winter sunshine, mix in some healthy January downpours, and you have the perfect recipe for a stunning spring wildflower bloom. “Wildflowers in the desert are truly a gift and seeing the desert floor in bloom just has to bring a smile to your face,” says Caliente Springs activities coordinator Jeanie Gigstad.
Desert Flower Cycle
While “April showers bring May flowers” in four-season climates, for Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, it’s November through January rainfall that predicts the robustness of the March and April desert bloom. This year, heavy rainfall as early as October germinated lots of seeds across the valley floor; a relative deluge in January assures that residents will see some color very soon. The Desert Sun predicts that “the likes of Desert Dandelions, Brown-eyed Primrose and Hairy Sand Verbena could show up as early as late January if temperatures are warm enough.” Other more elusive desert flowers are expected by March, in what ecologists believe is the makings of a great wildflower season.
Where to See the Bloom
This year, the 12th annual Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival will be held on March 2 to celebrate and view the variety of natural desert flowers in bloom in Palm Desert. A 5k fun run and interpretive trail hikes will offer visitors lots of options for finding and viewing the flowers. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto National Monument Park usually host the event, but check the website for details, as the government shutdown may affect the park’s availability.
In Palm Springs, Indian Canyons bursts to life quite often because of the water that collects in the area. You can hike the trails or go on horseback, if the country mood suits you. Tramway Road, which climbs from the desert floor to the mountain tram, is Gigstad’s other top recommendation for bloom viewing, but provides stunning valley views year-round, regardless of foliage.
Closer to Sky Valley, Gigstad recommends checking out Edom Hill Road, which trickles uphill from Varner Road, just west of Mountain View Road. You may know it as the road that leads to the valley’s recycling center. Get out of your car halfway up the hill and hike across a flower-filled desert floor. Thousand Palms Canyon Road and Coachella Valley Preserve, just a few miles from Sky Valley Resort, are also great viewing site. The preserve can match your level of energy with its different hiking trails and various levels of difficulty. Desert Hot Springs is so far recording the wettest weather in the valley, so Gigstad’s recommendation of the Mission Creek drainage, on the west side of Highway 62, should provide excellent viewing, too.
Combine a day trip with a journey into a massive expected bloom by visiting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, south of the Salton Sea. Because of the heavy rainfall this year, the park is expecting a record showing of wildflowers this spring. Check the website or visit on a week day for smaller crowds and more peace and quiet among the colorful desert carpet.
Bloom in Your Front Yard
Looking to spruce things up outside your window? Consult our handy guide to landscaping your park model, or keep a space clear for some annual wildflower planting, and just watch the magic happen.