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Poppy season at its peak on Antelope Valley reserve

April 27, 2010 | 11:40 am


Rain is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to the state flower, the California poppy. I have lived in Los Angeles for 16 years and had never visited the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve when it was in full bloom. I once made the hour-long trek only to find scattered patches of flowers. Our recent rains, however, inspired me to drag my kids out to the reserve last Saturday, and I'm so glad. 

Poppiesagain Even at dusk on a windy day, the bright orange blooms blanketing the rolling hills were awe-inspiring.

If you've been wanting to go, now is the time. (Poppies curl up when it's cold). Experts say the show is expected to last through the middle of May.

Here is the scoop: The park has eight miles of easy trails and is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Admission is $8 per car.

A few no-no's: no dogs, even in your car. You must stay on the trails; stepping on flowers will kill them. No flower picking.

We spotted gophers, lizards and beetles, and rattlesnakes are frequent visitors as well. The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center is open daily, and picnic tables are available first-come, first-served. Bring water and sunscreen; it is a desert grassland habitat, so there is no shade. Dress for windy weather. And don't forget your camera. You will see several places to pull over and take pictures before you get to the reserve, which is 15 miles west of Lancaster at 15101 Lancaster Road. For directions, click here.

-- Lisa Boone

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Photo credits: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times