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A is for Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


Several orange poppies bloom, with a hillside of goldfields in the background

I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the first post in the series.

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a popular spot for wildflower viewing in the spring, but poppies are fickle flowers and do not always cooperate. If the temperatures are cool and the winds are blowing, poppies can be shy to open up. And winds are almost always a given at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve (so pack a jacket!)

The reserve has a webcam, so if you have flexibility in your schedule, you can check and see what conditions are like before you head out. Although I have flexibility, I couldn't change the day the #AtoZChallenge started, so I visited the reserve in late March and just hoped that I could find some open poppies. Even without solid orange fields, I enjoyed my visit, and was rewarded with big swatches of goldfields on the hillsides, as well as other small wildflowers blooming.

Orange poppies bloom among little purple and yellow wildflowers

Although free to visit, you will need to pay to park. The visitor's center has a short film and information about the local flora and fauna, as well as a small gift shop. 

The visitor's center is built into the hillside

Trails are wide, smooth, and well-marked, and there is even a short paved trail that is accessible. Please do stay on the trails; not only does venturing off-trail damage the fragile flowers, it also puts you at risk of startling a rattlesnake--and you do not want to get bitten by a Mojave green rattlesnake! 

A sign reminds visitors to stay on the trail and avoid rattlesnakes

I did not see any snakes on this visit, but I did see lots of lizards running across the trails and darting into holes. 

A side-blotched lizard pauses on the dirt trail

There are many trails. I did not take all of them, but still spent a couple of hours in the reserve, stopping my walking frequently to take photos. I definitely recommend a visit to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, especially during the spring when the flowers might be blooming. 

A view from a trail at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve shows a small patch of poppies and a larger swath of goldfields with mountains in the background


  1. That's a pretty place, thank you for taking us along for adventure this month.

  2. What a great start to the challenge - I'm always on the lookout for new places to visit.

    Cheers, Jill

    I'm blogging in the challenge this year at

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I'll visit your blog, too.

  3. I know I've told you my poppy story before, and I think this is the place we went to see them. Or NOT see them, as it was cold and they were all huddled up and not showing their faces. I heard it was a really good year for them this year, though!

    1. Thank you for backing me up about how cold and windy it often is. :-) Sorry you missed the poppies!

  4. Great photos! I'm sure getting lost is another reason why one should stay on the trails :-)

    Ronel visiting for A: My Languishing TBR: A
    Abominable Wraiths

    1. That's a good reason! Thanks for visiting. I'll check out your blog.


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