All it took was one wildflower photo on Instagram in 2017 to send me on the search for my first Superbloom experience! People hadn’t seen wildflowers like these in over a decade!
Being from Northern California and that it was still too early for the Superbloom here I had to head south a bit, and there I discovered the Carrizo Plain National Monument. It was one of the most magical moments I’ve had hiking and camping. I just loved sharing the experience with people from around the world. And best of all, it was a dog friendly wildflower adventure!
At about 4.5 hours from The SF Bay Area in California’s Central Valley, Carrizo Plain is close enough for a 2 day camping trip, it’s dog friendly, and it has 2 free campgrounds, and free dispersed camping. We stayed at the Selby Campground, KCL Campground is supposed to have gorgeous sunsets, but it was already overflowing when we got there.
This was my first time camping for free on public land, I was a little nervous at first, Carrizo Plain is 15 miles from the nearest town to the south, and 60 miles from the nearest town to the north. I had to be sure to have enough fuel, food, and water, as there are no services here.
But I realaxed as the campground filled up, and it filled up way over the limit…which added to the magical experience, instead of being annoying. In the middle of the night an 80 year young gentleman set up his tent prob less than 5 feet from mine, but in the morning he made me coffee, and chatted with me about all the different flowers, which I was pretty uneducated about. I was inspired by him to always seek out adventure.
Carrizo Plain is mostly dirt roads, many of them. And though you will find superbloom patches on most of the park’s main roads, it is down these dirt roads where you will have fun searching out your own perfect wildflower patch to admire.
There are some trails above the campground that offer gorgeous views of the wildflower blanketed hillsides and valleys. There is the 4.5 mile Selby Camoground loop, which we didn’t do bu tplan to do next time. We just hiked up and explored. We had read of an old look out post and tried to find that, but alas next adventure.
Besides wildflower viewing there is also Soda Lake, which is a alkali lake, as it evaporates it is like bakign soda. This also has an interpretive boardwalk trail, and we also found some wildflowers close to Soda Lake.
There is so much more to explore here, like old ranches and structures, and we look forward to returning for this year’s Superbloom!