California Desert Comes Alive With Wildflower 'Superbloom'

Parish's poppies explode in an array of bright yellow colors on a hillside along San Felipe Wash. (Photo: The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association)

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California is ablaze with colorful wildflower blooms thanks to a steady amount of winter rain.

"It’s been an unusual season in that we’ve had rain every month — in abundance — since October 2018," Betsy Knaak, executive director of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association Knaak, told NBC 7. "And it’s the right kind of rain — soaking, consistent rain. We’ve also had cooler than normal weather for a long time."

The state park is the largest in California, featuring 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails. You'll see flowers in bloom immediately as you arrive in the parking lot and at the visitors center.

Flowers of all colors — yellow, purple, pink, white and more — dot the landscape in a "rolling bloom," park officials say, meaning different fields will come into full bloom at different times.

The 'superbloom' also reached Lancaster, California, and the gorgeous poppy fields in Antelope Valley, as you can see in the video above.

The gorgeous colors across the sweeping landscape make you thankful of what a strong rain can do for the plants and wildlife on Earth.

A sea of golden desert sunflowers, with highlights of purple sand verbena and white dune evening primrose bloom at the end of DiGiorgio Road. (Photo: The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association)

The best time to see the flowers is in the morning because they close in the afternoon heat, the park says.

The park offers a few recommended flower-viewing routes. "Drive DiGiorgio Road to the end of the pavement, park, and get out to see up close desert lilies, spectacle pod, sand verbena and desert sunflowers," they suggest.

Purple sand verbena spread across the valley along Highway S-22. (Photo: The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association)

For those willing to venture onto dirt roads, the park says to continue on DiGiorgio Road to into Coyote Canyon for a couple miles where you'll find the "Desert Gardens."

Bieglow's monkey flowers only grow a few inches off the ground in desert environments. (Photo: Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers)

Inside the park, a variety of wildflowers (including monkey flowers and wild canterbury bells) are growing throughout canyons such as Hellhole Canyon and Flatcat Canyon, which are accessible via hiking.

Wild Canterbury bells can grow as high as two feet. (Photo: Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers)

Super bloom doesn't just happen in deserts

Wild poppies blanket the hills of Walker Canyon on March 12, 2019 near Lake Elsinore, California. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park isn't the only place experiencing the super bloom, however. It's happening in a few different parks around California, and it's making a real difference in the landscape.

The hills along Lake Elsinore, a natural freshwater lake near Walker Canyon, have been transformed into a sea of golden, orange poppies blooming all around. The Los Angeles Times reports that about 1,000 people visit the area everyday just to catch a glimpse.

"Those hills are just covered with millions of poppies," Kim Cousins, president of the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce, told the LA Times. "It's on, as they say."

Unfortunately, the area's newfound popularity has created traffic jams and problems for residents and visitors. The city of Lake Elsinore's Facebook page suggests everyone take a deep breath and consider other options: "our City is not made for Disneyland size crowds."