To this day, The Carrizo Plain National Monument stands in all of its beauty. Once every year the wildflowers bloom in spectacular fashion. Yellow, purple and orange flowers paint the hillsides of the valley in a phenomenon that’s known as the super bloom.
The Carrizo Plain National Monument was created in January of 2001 and totals around 204,000 acres of land, making it the largest single native grassland left in California. Located only 60 miles east of the city of San Luis Obispo, what used to be known as one of California’s “best-kept secrets” is now being slowly destroyed by increased foot traffic of irresponsible visitors. In recent years, the season has been cut short due to onlookers stepping on the flowers during their quest for the perfect photo.
The flowers aren’t the only ones being harmed by the increase of visitors each year. The Carrizo Plain National Monument is also the largest protected habitat along the Pacific Flyway and is home to the highest concentration of threatened and endangered wildlife in California. In order to continue to preserve this natural phenomenon, we must take it into our own hands. Here’s how to protect the flowers this year.
There are two entrances to The Carrizo Plain National Monument – the north entrance via Soda Lake Road off of State Route 58 and the south entrance via Soda Lake Road off of State Route 33/166. The monument does not offer any water, food or fuel services so be sure to fill up before arriving; The gateway communities are 60 miles before the north entrance and 15 miles before the south entrance. The south entrance is the best option for visitors leaving from SLO CAL.
It's important to preserve the flowers for years to come and protect the wildlife that call The Carrizo Plain National Monument. Park rangers ask that visitors not jump any fences, or other types of boundaries to be closer to or in the flowers or wildlife. Staying on the trails and keeping a safe distance from animals is recommended. Always be sure to pick up any trash or waste before you leave to keep the natural beauty for as long as possible. In order to preserve the natural resources and maintain the beauty of the plains, just take a step back and enjoy the view. If you're looking to adventure to the Carrizo Plain for the super bloom, you won't have to wait much longer. The flowers are predicted to bloom in March, so get ready for a sight unlike any other.