We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Wild Flowers

ykh
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
201 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Wild Flowers

I will be in San Diego next week, any good place to see fields of wild flowers around San Diego? I think I read that Torrey Pines migt have some. Thanks.

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Wild Flowers

While not "Wild", the Flowers Fields in Carlsbad is an amazing site, a bit early in the season....

http://www.theflowerfields.com/

Easy to get to, so maybe start at the Torrey Pines State Reserve, then drive up the coast (Old Route 101) to Carlsbad, and then check out the Flower Fields (They share a parking lot with the Carlsbad Premium Outlets), so you could grab something to eat after enjoying the scenery.

ykh
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
201 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Wild Flowers

Darkbeer,

Thanks so much for your feedback. I will check out Carlsbad.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
10,252 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Wild Flowers

You may well see wildflowers in bloom at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve; take the short, easy Guy Fleming Trail and you could pass California Poppies in bloom and other flowers. It might look like this: …wordpress.com/2008/… However this winter had lower than average rainfall and there may not be as many flowers this spring. Ask at the visitor center at Torrey Pines if there are any notable spots with wildflowers right now. Torrey Pines has a day use parking fee of $10.

The most popular wildflower viewing places in this area are the deserts of eastern San Diego, particularly Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It is one of the few California state parks that has no entry fee. To get there you can take a scenic drive through the mountains then down into the desert.

You would go east on Interstate 8 from San Diego about 40 miles to Sunrise Highway, turn left at the exit to go north on Sunrise Highway and go through Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. The road reaches a maximum elevation of 6,000 feet and there is 17 inches of snow on the ground in the area right now, but the road is clear and no chains are required to drive it. See facebook.com/pages/…229196871528 for daily updates on the conditions in that area.

Continue north on Sunrise Highway and you will have spectacular views of the deserts 5,000 feet below on the right side of the road. To park anywhere on Sunrise Highway requires the National Forest Adventure Pass, which you can buy for $5 for one day at Laguna Mountain Lodge. You will come to an intersection with CA Highway 79; turn right there and go 6 more miles to the historic mountain town of Julian. Along the way there is a viewpoint where you can park and enjoy the views of the deserts and distant mountains, and parking is free at that viewpoint.

Julian was a gold mining town 100 years ago and is now an apple growing area. You can stop and eat lunch and have apple pie at any place in town, but I think the best pie is at Apple Alley Bakery on the right (east) side of the main street. I'd recommend a whole pie to go, particularly one of the crumb-topped ones. See http://julianca.com for more information on Julian.

To get down to Anza-Borrego, you take CA Highway 78 east from Julian and drive down the Banner Grade, then continue forward and follow the signs to Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Probably a 1- hour drive after you leave Julian. Stop at the visitor center at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and ask where the latest wildflower sightings are. Again, because this winter saw lower rainfall than normal, the wildflower displays may not be as impressive this year as in other years and in pictures you see of the park. But there should be some. There are updates listed at www.desertusa.com/wildflo/ca_abdsp.html

To return to San Diego, you have several choices; the one I would take would be to drive back up to Julian, and then turn left on CA Highway 79 south, and take that back to Interstate 8. Instead of going back via Sunrise Highway, just stay on Highway 79 and drive past Lake Cuyamaca. The area around the lake is privately operated and there is a day use parking fee for any of the parking areas. Continue on Highway 79 and you will go through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, which may have some snow on the ground as well.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park was devastated by the gigantic Cedar Fire of October 2003 but is slowly recovering. You can drive through the park on Highway 79 and stop if you want, but picnic and day use areas have a day use parking fee as well, I think $8. Parking at turnouts that are right on Highway 79 in the park require no parking fee though.

Highway 79 will meet up with Old Highway 80, and you turn right there, and go a few more miles through Descanso Junction, then meet up with Interstate 8, and take Interstate 8 west back to San Diego. You could also stop at the Viejas Indian Reservation, right next to Interstate 8 on Willows Road, east of the town of Alpine, for the casino, restaurants and outlet mall. The entire trip would be 200 miles, about 5 hours of driving time plus time spent at stops.

Adirondack, New York
Level Contributor
3,944 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Wild Flowers

Bw provided great information about Anza Borrego Desert SP. Unfortunately we don't have wildflowers blooming this year in Anza Borrego Desert SP. There are few here and there but mostly you need to hike and look for some individual species. Ocotillos are blooming but not much more. At least comparing to previous years we don't have much to be very impressed with. It is still a great area for many hikes and hopefully next year we'll have spectacular wildflower displays.

On the way back I would recommend taking the route through Ranchita, Santa Ysabel and Julian. Santa Ysabel has a great place to stop for apple pie, Julian Apple Pie Company. It is too early for wildflower at Santa Ysabel Open Space

IMHO, planted gardens are not to be compared to blooming wildflowers displays.

Edited: 21 March 2012, 16:06
ykh
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
201 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Wild Flowers

bw92116,

Thanks so much for taking your time and effort to type up these detailed info about seeing great wild flowers in the area. I looked up Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is about 70 miles away from San Diego. Unfortunately, I will be in San Diego for only 2 short nites and I won't have the time to drive out there for this visit :(

I sure will save these info for future visit. I really appreciate your help!

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Wild Flowers

Here is a link that I like, that will describe the drive from the Torrwy Pines Natural Reserve to Carlsbad. Als, it is going in the opposite direction, such just read from bottom to top.

www.geovative.com/GeoTours/tourView.asp…

FYI, when you get to Palomar Airport Road is where you want to leave the coastal Highway and go less than a mile inland to get to the Flower Fields.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
10,252 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Wild Flowers

We drove past the rose garden in Balboa Park yesterday and saw that many of the roses are just starting to open up. So by next week you may be able to see a very nice display of roses there, and the first bloom of the year is the best for roses. There are other gardens in Balboa Park including the Botanical Building with many orchids and other rare tropical plants. All the gardens in Balboa Park are free except the Japanese garden which is $4. These are not wildflowers of course, but the free gardens are worth seeing if you have the time. This year is not going to be a spectacular year for wildflowers, as Places pointed out, due to the low amount of rainfall we received in the winter. My neighbor has a "wildflower garden" that she planted and right now it is ablaze with California poppies, but I believe she has been watering it due to the lack of rain most of the winter.

La Jolla, California
Destination Expert
for La Jolla
Level Contributor
2,813 posts
168 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Wild Flowers

Not exactly "fields of wild flowers" but I saw lots of colorful wildflowers on my walk today on Coast Walk in La Jolla. Since I have no idea about wildflowers, I can't begin to tell you what they were, but there were red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, orange-yellow ones, purple ones... : )

9. Re: Wild Flowers

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 20 June 2013, 13:40