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A drive through Carrizo Plains National Monument during California’s Superbloom

The Carrizo Plains National Monument is a 250 acre native grassland (the largest remaining in California!), located about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Its not a destination to vacation at, but a destination to drive through or visit during a day trip. We took a detour from Los Angeles on our way to the Central Coast for a weekend away. It was worth the extra hour spent in the car, because the blooms and colors were breathtaking!

This expansive land gives you a chance to be alone with nature (aside from other visitors). The Carrizo Plain is home to various wildlife and plant species, including Native American species which are nowadays threatened or listed as endangered. Many roads within the Monument are dirt roads and become impassable during periods of rain. The most stunning time to visit is in spring – mid March to mid April – due to the wildflowers. Each season is different, and dependent on the weather prior to spring time. Various factors such as rainfall, temperatures and timing of the two determine which flowers bloom and their distribution.

The park is very large and there are no gas stations nearby, so fill up before you visit! There is one main (mostly) paved road through the park called Soda Lake Road, which is the best path to take while visiting.

Other things to see while at the Carrizo Plains National Monument, include the Goodwin Education Center, which is open seasonally from December through the end of May. There is a gorgeous large painting with matching puzzle and interactive displays for the kids to learn about the animal and flower species unique to the Carrizo Plains.

There is also Soda Lake, which is usually a dry lakebed of about 3000 acres, and concentrated salts are left on the surface as water is evaporated away during the summer months. However, during the winter and with the rainfalls, the lake fills up to become a salty wetland. Its definitely worth getting out of your car and walking to the shore of Soda Lake for a peek at this unusual scenery!

To download an interactive map and brochure of the Carrizo Plains, this way!

Make sure to mark your calendars for next March / April so not to miss the wildflower show!


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