Desert Wildflowers in Anza-Borrego
Trendiest location in Southern California right now? I’d say the Anza-Borrego desert because almost everywhere you look you’ll spot a bright flower basking in the sun, flashing it’s irresistible color against the sand and luring every city dweller out there to see it, and smell it, in it’s full glory (sorry Hollywood). They say six times the amount of rain has fallen this year in the desert compared to last year, creating a ‘super bloom’. A tapestry of color covers the landscape and this is not only from flowers, but also from a cacti and a variety of green bushes, plants and grasses.
You’ll find fields of these flowers around S22, about 10 miles from Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, but if you’re not a crowd person, you might prefer driving around the area and finding them randomly in more secluded spots away from the huge crowds. The visitors center in Borrego Springs has great maps and printed guides and very nice people who have lots of advice on which spots are best the day you visit. If at all possible, I’d avoid going on the weekends.
I feasted my eyes on all the bright colors, which are pretty rare in the usually muted shades of brown you see in Southern California… but even though it was incredibly beautiful, what held my attention the most was the migration of thousands of Painted Lady butterflies making their way north from Mexico. They are a bit smaller than Monarchs. They surrounded us flying low and fast only stopping quickly for a bite to eat here and there, making it nearly impossible to get pictures. But we stopped for a while and just watched masses of them zoom by us and I swear I could hear the sound of their wings.
The cactus blossoms are just starting to appear, so soft and delicate against their spiny stems.
A few tips…
Bring food and lots of drinks. It can get really hot and many of the local restaurants fill up quickly.
Arrive early with a full tank of gas
Many of the roads are not paved. Make sure you go in a vehicle that can handle that.
The visitors center in Borrego Springs has maps and is worth stopping at for current updates.