Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where The San Diego Spring Wildflowers Are: 2013

 Wildflowers - growing in the wild without anyone planting or seeding them, without anyone nourishing them but nature. Their blossoms are sending a beautiful message, "we all are in very good hands, taken care of lovingly by our Maker".

The four pictures below are some of my favorite spring wildflower shots around San Diego since 2008.  Spring wildflower blooms are very much dependent on precipitation and weather timing. 
2008 Spring Wildflowers, Tooth Rock Mountain Trail
2009 Spring Wildflowers @ Anza Borrego Desert State Park
2010 Spring Wildflowers, Lake Poway
2011 Spring Wildflowers, Torrey Pines- Del Mar 
As much as we wanted to have a very good wildflower bloom each year, such is not always the case. Since 2011, the wildflowers in San Diego were mostly along the coastal area. The beautiful carpeting wildflowers sadly abandoned the inland valleys and desert floor because of extreme drought for the past few years. Only the coastal wildflowers continued to showcase their phantasmagoric display despite drought, all thanks to the morning fogs from the marine layer.

Where are the San Diego Spring wildflowers this 2013?
1. North Torrey Pines Beach - Del Mar Beach Trail by the Rail Tracks
2013 Purple Field of CA Sea Lavender 
How to Get Here: 
Option 1: Hiking starts either from North Torrey Pines State Beach or from Del Mar Beach.

Parking @ Del Mar Beach: paid metered parking on the side of the road, and some small paid parking structures on an hourly or daily rate. Parking can be tough to find here. For that reason, it is probably best to start the hike from North Torrey Pines State Beach. However if you will be hiking with dogs, it is best to start the hike here since dogs are not allowed on Torrey Pines State Reserve boundary. If you want to skip parking fee and hike with the dog, see option 2 a little bit further below.
Dog Hiker -he/she sure knew how to enjoy smelling the flowers. He/she kept on stopping to smell the flowers while the owner kept on urging him/her to hurry up :)

Parking Options @ North Torrey Pines State Beach
option a. $12 day use fee at North Torrey Pines State Beach parking lot (State Park access fee)

option b. free parking along the shoulders of Carmel Valley Road or North Torrey Pines Road or Camino del Mar Road. 

Depending on where you start your hike and how far you want to go, it is about 3- 5 miles round trip, and pretty much a level hike, with some sections of steepness depending on where you start your hike. 

From North Torrey Pines State Beach, go North, take the first trail that climbs up to the middle bluff and continue hiking North towards Del Mar. The CA sea lavender lined trail is in the middle bluff by the rail tracks.

Option 2: Driving and Hiking ( for those who have no time to hike and visiting San Diego, and wanted to see other places too. All parking options for this one is free. )
Park anywhere 7th St and 8th St of Del Mar that ends on the bluff facing the ocean. Walk down to the middle bluff ( not a lot of change in elevation), cross the rail track ( watch for the train), then, walk South towards Torrey Pines. The thicker purple field is a little bit further South past the lone bush tree.

The yellow bush sunflowers below are further South, so you may want to go back to where you park after you have enough of the purple field, then drive South along Camino Del Mar. Park South the intersection of Camino del Mar and Carmel Valley Road. 
 2013 Bush Sunflowers near Camino Del Mar and Carmel Valley Road intersection

Bush Sunflowers near Camino Del Mar and Carmel Valley Road intersection

 2013 Sea Dahlias ( Razor Point to Beach trail )
Though the carpeting wildflowers ( mix of sea poppies, phacelias, pinks, sand verbena, and other wildflowers) probably are in hiatus this year, but it seemed the sea dahlias at Torrey Pines are still smiling to the hikers. :) There are other wildflowers around, such as Indian paint brush, but then again, they are not as showy as the previous years, which you can find here
 Sea Dahlias and Badland
Sea Dahlias
How to get here:

Option 1, Inside the State Park: Visitors can pay the $12 day use fee and park at the top parking lot of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Then, hike the trails to Razor Point down to the beach or the shorter Guy Fleming trail.
Option 2, outside the State Park at North Torrey Pines Road ( parking is free but limited), then, walk up the bluff and then down to the beach via Guy Fleming Trail, Razor Point Trail to Beach trail.
Option 3, free parking and longer hike option is at Torrey Pines Golf Course, then, walk North and take the North Broken Hill Trail down to beach trail up to Yucca Point, Razor Point, Red Butte, then back up to Torrey Pines golf Course.
Broken Hill
Razor Point
I am partial to Torrey Pines, even without the wildflowers, it always is a sight to behold, especially if you would be entertained by jumping and surfing dolphins from above the bluffs. If you have time, please check my "How to Spot Dolphins in the Wild", and you will see the other more permanent geologic and biologic features of Torrey Pines that could be enjoyed at anytime of the year.

3. Scripps Coastal Reserve Biodiversity Trail ( or The Knoll)
More Sea Dahlias @ The Knoll
If you want wildflowers in such a short hike/walk, this is probably the place. For us, this is another place worth stopping with or without wildflowers. The Knoll is one of our various "tambay" places in San Diego to just watch for the dolphins and whales, paragliders, and if the dolphins and whales won't show up, the beauty of the bluffs never fail us.
2013 Bush Sunflowers
Field of Bush Sunflowers Against The Blue Sea
2013 Bush Sunflowers
@ The Knoll
How To Get here: the address of the Knoll is: 9400 La Jolla Farms Road, San Diego, CA. Parking is free but can be difficult to find, especially if late of the day. However, as long as anyone are able to do longer walk, you can always park along La Jolla Shores Road or anywhere that is close enough to the Reserve. The Reserve is small, there are no network of trails like in Torrey Pines, this is more for a relaxing loop walk on top of the bluffs. The wildflowers are not right away obvious as you enter the Reserve, the thickest one is along the trail that is a little bit away from the bluffs.

4. La Jolla Coast Walk
white daisies at the start of La Jolla Coast Walk
2013 Bermuda Sorrel 
Trailhead:  1249 Coast Blvd La Jolla, CA 92037
This is really a very short hike, above La Jolla Caves, and right next to the "richy" houses of La Jolla. By this time, the yellow bermuda sorrel may be gone as they were among the short lived wildflowers. However, I am not sure if the sea dahlias are blooming now, since pictures above from La Jolla Coast Walk were from 2 weekends ago. Free parking on the shoulders of the road, but can be tough on weekends. There are several structures that offer paid parking options.

** As of this writing, I still have not visited Mission Bay Field of Yellow ( the widest wildflower field within the San Diego City limits) because I had observed that tidy tips and sunflowers along the coast usually bloom around April. Hoping to have have updates of Mission Bay blooms in my later posts. Meantime, here is a sample of Mission Bay from last year.
2012 Spring Wildflowers, Mission Bay 
I wonder how 2013 is like(?), gotta see it 2- 3 weeks from now....
How to get to Mission Bay wildflowers? Park at South Shores Park (East of Sea World at South Shores Road, San Diego). Then, take the trails freely around the bay (mostly East of the park), let the wildflowers dictate your route.

Let me end this post with what I said in my previous post, Each Day is Different. In that post, I was sharing my favorite pictures from Cabrillo and Death Valley that were taken by my old inexpensive camera and lens ( the first four pictures above were from my old camera and lens) despite the fact I had been back to the said places with newer camera and lens.

"It's not only the camera and the lens, it's not only the eyes and the heart of the beholder, but it is GOD'S GIFT of HIS PERFECT MOMENT, IN HIS PERFECT TIME that gives the best conditions for the most heart inspiring SCENERY."

We all are humble recipients of God's generous gifts, it all depends on us how to take these gifts HE so generously showers us.
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  1. lovely thoughts betchay. those flowers are really beautiful. We don't have that here unless it's a flower plantation and not for sightseeing escapade like you did. and i wonder why you have to pay for the parking. ;-)

    1. thanks for the visit Phioxee, paid parking I believe is very common, especially in bigger cities. In San Diego, paid parking is mostly in downtown area, and in State Parks, that helps in the expenses of maintaining and preserving the natural features within the State Park limits.

  2. It must smell so good in there, love, love, love, the scenery!

  3. OMG! Very pretty indeed! Wish we have those colorful flowers here in MOntana, but I doubt that. Spring here isn't as pretty as the other parts of the US. Too bad!

  4. Nature does it so much better than we do. I am always overwhelmed by these floral displays when I drive down the northern CA coast which I just did on Monday, from Pacifica to Santa Cruz, to lunch with friends. One of my favorite blog headers is a wildflower scene from a bluff over the Pacific just a few miles from where I've lived most of the past 35 years. It just warms my heart to see them. I'd better head over there before I depart for India again June 1.

    Your photos are just breathtaking!!!

  5. we are still having a late, coldish winter/spring and your flowers are so beautiful. It warms my heart!

  6. Ah, the beauty of nature! Thanks for the tips, not the tidy ones! Hope to see you at the tidepools!

  7. I take pure delight in all the beautiful captures published in this post, Te Betchai. Add to that the beautiful subject that's captured with these pretty blooms as background. It's always a sight to behold seeing you surrounded with these pretty creation of God.

  8. nature's wonders. indeed. pretty wildflowers. your photos are awesome. true.

  9. Beautiful views and beautiful wild flowers indeed! I love the daisies and they grow in our backyard and near the woods too. I pick them and put them in the flower vase. I cannot wait for them to grow this year :-)


  10. totally breathless at the joys of simple life you shared here wonderwoman :) speechless at the beauty of all those flowers! ....and your smile :D

  11. must be really, really lovely to be there...thanks for sharing all these beautiful pictures, so relaxing to look at it. anyway, goodluck on your coming trip there and can't wait to see your pictures again with those lovely spring wildflowers. take care and have fun! xx

  12. Those wildflowers are absolutely beautiful.

  13. thats Easter flowers
    nicely captured and placed as always...

  14. awesome flower field. it's always good to play with photography having field as background. cant wait for the spring to come here (well, after the cherry blossoms)

  15. I am still waiting for the chance to shoot the first picture or alike.