Charlie Russell Nature Photography

Carrizo Plain Wildflowers

Carrizo Plain can be one of the best wildflower spots in California if the weather cooperates. Here are a few photos based on a visit on April 10 & 11 2023, when there was a VERY good bloom. This is a quick description of our visit, with some directions, and it will be updated with flower pictures (and a plant list) when I have time to review the many photos my wife and I took on this visit (over a thousand!).

Scroll down for comments on locations to visit here.

You may like to visit my post on Shell Creek Wildflowers.


Please refer to this map for general locations. You can get a copy of this map at the Goodwin Education Center (visitor center) in Carrizo Plain National Monument

You can get a copy of this map (without my notations) from the Friends of the Carrizo Plain website (scroll to the bottom of that page).

We entered the valley from the west side on Highway 58, and left on the east side (also on Highway 58). All of the roads I mark here were dry and passable with our Honda CRV, but some might be difficult if you have a low-slung car.

  1. The area north of Seven Mile Road is “California Valley”. Smaller dirt roads, no crowds, wonderful flowers. Several smaller roads criss-crossing this area (outside of the National Monument). Look for Belmont Trail.
  2. Toilets are located at Overlook Hill. You have to drive in to the parking area, the toilets aren’t visible from Soda Lake Road
  3. I highly recommend visiting the Goodwin Education Center. They can give you recommendations on where to go. They also have toilets.
  4. Simmler Road has good flowers, it was a rutted but passable dirt road.
  5. We went south on Elkhorn Road, starting at the junction with Seven Mile Road. Passable with our Honda CRV but you have to take it very slow, there are some big ruts. Lower-slung cars may have difficulty, there were car parts strewn along some sections of the road. There is a spot about 3/4 of the way down that might make you want to turn around. This is a VERY long road, with lots of flowers and views of the hills.
  6. We missed the turnoff that takes you back to Soda Lake Road. I don’t want to talk about the alternate path we took, it was a BIG mistake!
  7. The corner of Seven Mile Road and Highway 58 has great views of the mountains.
  8. Heading east on 58, some great views but few places to pull over.

Carrizo Plain Wildflowers

I have over a thousand photos of individual flowers. When I have a chance to review and classify them, I will add them to this post, and list them here. Be patient!

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5 Responses

    1. It wasn’t as good a year, from what I’m told. I didn’t go, because I’ve been busy elsewhere. Shell Creek looked like it was flowerful, but the hills around Carrizo just didn’t get all that colorful. As with other spots I’ve been to this year, yellow was the predominant color, the other colors were suppressed. And lots of grass…

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