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Bay Area Wildflower Hikes

Springtime brings a remarkable wildflower show to Bay Area hills

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 34.7 miles
Duration: Unknown

Overview :  Springtime sunshine ignites a blast of color on the hills of the Bay Area. In the best years, hills can be practically painted white, ... more »

Tips:  Poison Oak often lurks next to wildflowers along trails.

Ticks are very active in springtime, especially in tall grass. Always... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Mount Tamalpais State Park

Marin County's No. 1 outdoor destination has a mix of open hillsides and deep forests showcasing a wide spectrum of Northern California flora. You can't go wrong on the Matt Davis Trail, which crosses an open hillside facing the Pacific, and the Steep Ravine Trail, which tracks a creek through a redwood-forested canyon.

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2. Point Reyes National Seashore

You'll find blooms around every corner at Point Reyes (the Coast Trail from Palomarin trailhead near Bolinas is a fave). The Tomales Point Trail -- so popular because of its tule elk herd -- won't disappoint.

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3. Sunol Regional Wilderness

Sunol's annual Wildflower Festival, usually scheduled in early April, coincides with peek blooming in this park northeast of San Jose. Obvious choices are the Indian Joe Creek, Canyon View Trail and Flag Hill trails.

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4. Mount Diablo State Park

The tallest peak east of Walnut Creek is another fine bloomer. Mitchell Canyon is highly recommended, as is the hike in from the Regency gate in the town of Clayton (note: Diablo trails can get very gooey after a strong rain; you''ll have a better time if you give the trails about a week to dry).

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5. Midpeninsula Open Space District

The crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains along Highway 35 west of Palo Alto features forests of madrone, oak and Douglas fir opening onto broad, sunny hillsides -- prime terrain that produces some of the region''s best blooms. Long Ridge, Russian Ridge, and Skyline Ridge open space preserves, all managed by the Midpeninsula Open Space District, are... More

6. Henry Coe State Park

The hills in this park east of Gilroy and Morgan Hill are the South Bay's No. 1 wildflower destination. Any of the park's entrances -- Dunne Avenue, Hunting Hollow, Dowdy Ranch -- will do. Just keep in mind Coe trails can be very strenuous, so make sure you have plenty of water and snacks.

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7. Calero County Park

This park at San Jose''s southern edge is a nice alternative to the far longer drive to Henry Coe State Park. The best bloom is on the Chisnantuk Peak Trail, which is deep in the park and requires roughly 8 miles of moderate and occasionally strenuous hiking to see the whole thing. Expect to share trails with equestrians; don't come if you're... More