RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Out of the garage: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

antelope valley poppy reserve

On Sunday my friend B and I ventured out to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Because this rain season in Southern California has brought us more of the wet stuff than we have seen in years, ending our seven-year drought, we assumed the poppy fields would be spectacular. There was a nice display but nothing like the blankets of orange we had experienced the last time we visited… back in 2003.

I painted the tile above from photos of that trip and it is still one of my favorites. It greets me when I come in my front door. Of course my late cat, Friday, wasn’t really there but I painted him anyway as my signature!

antelope valley poppies

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the trip. I had Cinnamon Girl, my fifteen-year-old Subaru Outback, tuned up in February and she was raring to take on the 180-mile round trip. I felt a slight hesitancy on the uphill on the way there. But coming back she took those hills at 75 MPH (120 km) without blinking. I know she was happy to get out of the garage and feel the wind whipping around her. I hope she lasts at least another fifteen years!

antelope valley poppies

B and I were also happy to be out of the city and in the open spaces with the wind attempting to blow our hats off.

antelope valley poppies

B mentioned the difference a week makes as last Sunday we were in downtown Los Angeles visiting Little Tokyo. I need to upload that blog post!

antelope valley poppies

The poppy fields were crowded with people. The last half mile was stop and go… worse than traffic on a Friday evening on the 405 freeway! But I was expecting it so I didn’t mind.

antelope valley poppies

Just being able to see for miles with no buildings or cars was worth the trip!

antelope valley poppies

Windmills in the distance providing alternative power sources.

Unfortunately, despite warnings to stay on the paths, we saw too many people trampling the wildflowers to obtain those important selfies. Aaargh…. PEOPLE!!! Evidently the rules don’t apply to everybody. Way to go, parents, training your kids to selfishly satisfy your own desires and spoil the experience for everybody else…

antelope valley poppies

We were glad we made the effort. We rewarded ourselves with dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant back in Culver City!

A great day!

Please click on any image below for slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Spring has sprung at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve


Spring in southern California means poppies and wildflowers. One of the best places to enjoy the blooms is at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve located 15 miles west of Lancaster, and approximately 67 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Wildflower season is usually from mid-February through mid-May although this can vary according to weather patterns such as drought or heavy rains.

Whether you are an intrepid hiker or wheelchair bound, young or old, there is plenty to see and do for everybody. Eight miles of trails with never-ending vistas of color on the gently rolling hills afford some good exercise. Or the visitor can relax on one of the many benches and soak in the view. If you are an artist, bring a sketch pad. For the photographer, every frame is a masterpiece. The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center, open during wildflower season, offers videos and informative exhibits related to the area.


Conditions change from week to week and sometimes day to day. One weekend the poppies can be open, enjoying the sunshine and warm breezes, the next they can be closed up because of gray skies and strong winds. Other plant species such as owl’s clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis could be beginning or ending their life cycle. Although every visitor prefers to arrive when there is a brilliant show of flowers, there is no bad day to visit. In the fall, the area is still beautiful with warm days and less chance of high winds.

Besides wildflowers, if you look carefully you may enjoy sightings of wildlife including lizards, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bobcats, mice, gophers, or scorpions—all inhabitants of this terrain in the high Mojave Desert.


Whatever time of year you choose to visit, don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

For more information and directions, visit the official Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve website.

For a photo gallery, click here.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)