Rare 'Superbloom' Hints in San Diego's Desert Edges

Experts are predicting a rare California superbloom event in San Diego County’s deserts. Learn where & when you’ll have the chance to see these vibrant flowers.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Rare 'Superbloom' for San Diego's Desert
What Is a Superbloom?
Best View Wildflowers
Bundle & Save
Visit Soon
Know Before You Go
Stay Nearby

What Is a Superbloom and Why Anza Borrego?

Flowering Brittlebush in Anza Borrego Desert StateThe Amazing Fonts Point at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

The Anza Borrego Desert State Park that surrounds Borrego Springs is California’s largest state park, with miles of trails and well-preserved wilderness. Recently, however, the park’s characteristic desert landscapes have experienced a surprising phenomenon: fields of wildflowers in bloom!

Though much of Southern California is a desert, including the Mojave Desert and Death Valley National Park a bit north of San Diego, native wildflowers can be found along the region’s hiking trails in the spring.

In rare cases, conditions align for an event known as a ‘superbloom,’ which local experts predict may be coming to San Diego County this spring.

Tons of Flowers on the Brittlebush in Anza Borrego Desert State
Tons of Flowers on the Brittlebush in Anza Borrego Desert State

What Is a Desert Superbloom?

During a superbloom, thousands of desert wildflowers reach maturity around the same time. This transforms the desert into a wonderland of colors, as flowers cover every surface.

True superblooms are fairly rare and only happen for brief periods of time, though they’re not unheard of in California’s deserts either. And like the blooming fields at Carlsbad Ranch, you only have a short window of time in which to see the bloom for yourself once it begins.

There have been just a handful of California desert superblooms in the last decade, with the most recent being back in 2019, though the blooms of 2023 also drew crowds.

Currently, even though Southern California’s deserts are flooded with wildflowers, they’re not quite at a superbloom level yet. The blooming flowers are beautiful and well worth a visit even now, but experts are predicting that a full superbloom may be coming in the near future.

Beautiful Yellow Flowers of the Desert Sunflower in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Beautiful Yellow Flowers of the Desert Sunflower in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

What Flowers are Blooming?

Most areas in the Anza Borrego desert are currently covered in swathes of greenery. Yellow and orange flowers dominate the landscape, with a few patches of purple wildflowers like desert sand verbena mixed in too.

There’s a surprising amount of biodiversity among native Southern California wildflowers. Species of flowers currently in bloom include brown-eyed primroses, desert lilies, and gold poppies. There are also phacelias and the desert sunflower.

Local Tips
Visit Soon
If you want to see the superbloom for yourself, it’s best to visit soon, before the bloom ends. Currently, predictions suggest that the flowers in Anza Borrego will be visible through the remainder of spring, with more potentially on the way in the upcoming weeks.

Popular Hotels
Popular Hotels
Price
Hotel Marisol Coronado
$237
Learn More
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
$170
Learn More
Omni San Diego Hotel
$170
Learn More
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
$235
Learn More

How to Best View Wildflowers in Anza Borrego

Even though the desert isn’t yet experiencing a superbloom, now is still a great time to see the flowers of Anza Borrego and other nearby parks, or to plan a trip in the coming weeks if you want to catch the superbloom at its peak.

Welcome to Borrego Springs at Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Welcome to Borrego Springs at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Where to See the Flowers

Borrego Springs in Anza Borrego State Park is the best spot to see blooming flowers within San Diego County right now.

Rather than flooding the whole park, the blooms are concentrated in certain areas. Spots like Henderson Canyon form a floodplain and soak up more rainwater, yielding greater numbers of flowers. There are also blooms around June Wash.

For me and my family, we headed to the park’s Coyote Canyon Wildflower Viewing Area to snap some pictures, which is along Di Giorgio Rd, Borrego Springs, CA 92004. There, we saw gorgeous fields of flowers, and it was well worth taking the trip.

Other California state parks and nature reserves expected to experience the superbloom include Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, Lake Elsinore’s Walker Canyon, Carrizo Plain National Monument, and Death Valley.

Enjoy the Bloom Sign at Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Enjoy the Bloom Sign at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Hike the Trails During the Superbloom

Taking a hiking tour is an excellent way to experience the region’s natural beauty, and it gets even better when you have a Go City San Diego pass.

Not only can you save on the cost of tours when you buy your pass with our discount code GVSD5OFF, but you’ll also get reduced admission costs to dozens of San Diego’s other attractions. The All-inclusive pass nets you savings when you bundle admission for spots like the Japanese Friendship Garden and the San Diego Zoo.

The Isolated Road in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
The Isolated Road in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Making Travel Preparations

For San Diego natives, getting to Anza Borrego is just a short drive away. If you’re planning on making the trip to see the superbloom, however, booking a stay at a nearby hotel is the best way to stay close and cut down on travel time.

I recommend the Mission Pacific Hotel, which is right along the coast in Oceanside. You’ll get the best of San Diego’s coastal views with Oceanside City Beach and the Oceanside Pier, plus the flexibility to take a day trip to Anza Borrego.

Bundle at Balboa Park!
Japanese Friendship Garden
Japanese Friendship Garden
Experience serenity as you stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden. The All-Inclusive Go Pass gives you admission to the zen garden, koi ponds and bonsai collection. Soak up the tranquility and peacefulness of this authentic garden.
Buy Now
Local Tips
What is the cheapest way to buy a Go City San Diego pass?

The cheapest way to purchase a Go City San Diego pass is to combine Go Visit San Diego’s exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego passes already great deals!

Simply follow our link & use code GVSD5OFF to purchase your pass and begin saving!

How Much Longer Will the Blooms Last in Anza Borrego?

Purple and Yellow Flower Superbloom in Anza Borrego Desert State
Purple and Yellow Flower Superbloom in Anza Borrego Desert State

Though the fields of blooming flowers are beautiful, they’re not expected to last long. If you want to see the superbloom for yourself, it’s best to visit soon, before the bloom ends.

Currently, predictions suggest that the flowers in Anza Borrego will be visible through the remainder of spring, with more potentially on the way in the upcoming weeks.

How long this continues will depend on factors like temperature, rainfall, insects, and even the effect of crowds.

Mojave Prickly Pear Cactus in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Mojave Prickly Pear Cactus in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Superbloom Predictions

The current bloom cycle is a result of the higher-than-average amount of rainfall in and around San Diego this past winter. Along with more flower seeds than usual, many of which have been dormant for years or even decades, the conditions have aligned to make a superbloom not just possible, but likely!

Since superblooms are dependent on so many factors, they’re difficult to predict. Around San Diego and Los Angeles, the superbloom is expected to occur throughout early April.

In some other regions of California, like the Eastern Sierra and Bay Area, floral blooms could continue as late as June and July.

Important Info to Know Before You Go and Tips for the Wildflower Superbloom

Amazing Purple Flowers of the Beavertail Cactus in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Amazing Purple Flowers of the Beavertail Cactus in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

A wildflower bloom is an unforgettable, must-see event. These tips will help you experience the superbloom in the best way possible.

How Far is Anza Borrego from San Diego?

Reaching Anza Borrego is a solid day trip.

Starting in San Diego, Anza Borrego is about 70 miles away along CA-78, or 95 miles if you take I-8 instead. Expect the drive to take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours depending on traffic.

Discover Anza Borrego Sign at Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Discover Anza Borrego Sign at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

What Attractions are on the Way to Anza Borrego?

Along CA-78, the drive to Anza Borrego will take you through Poway, Santa Ysabel, and Julian, with plenty of opportunities to get out and stretch your legs.

In particular, Julian is a historic area with its own Pioneer Museum, the California Wolf Center, and a handful of diners and wineries that can be fun additions to your trip.

Is There a Visitor Center?

Yes, the Anza Borrego Visitor Center is located at 200 Palm Canyon Dr.

From October to May it is open every day from 9:00 am-5:00 pm, while from June to September it is only open weekends and holidays. In addition to park information, the Visitor Center also has a store.

Our Dog Loves Running Around in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Our Dog Loves Running Around in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

What Is Allowed During Your Visit?

Visitors to Anza Borrego are invited to take as many photos of the wildflowers as they like. Camping is allowed in designated areas, but crowds are expected during the superbloom, so plan ahead.

You can bring food and drinks into the park, and there are picnic tables available. Bring plenty of water, as the park can get very hot in direct sunlight with little shade.

Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be leashed at all times. Pets are only allowed on park roads, not the dirt hiking trails.

All guests are reminded to be respectful of the wildlife. Avoid trampling flowers, clean up all trash, and leave the park just as you found it without disturbing any natural features.

Featured Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Exterior view, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Boutique
Boutique
Near Bay
Near Bay
Pool
Pool
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Dining at MaryJane’s, viewing famous rock memorabilia, and visiting Old Town San Diego are some of our favorite reasons to stay at the iconic Hard Rock Hotel.
Prices Starting at $189
Check Availability
Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Oct
61°F / 81°F
Sunny in October

Stay Nearby

Hotel Marisol Coronado
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Hotel Marisol Coronado
from $237 / night
View Hotel
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
from $170 / night
View Hotel
Omni San Diego Hotel
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Omni San Diego Hotel
from $170 / night
View Hotel
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
from $235 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>
Tours & Adventures
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Gaslamp Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour
Gaslamp Brothels, Bites & Booze Tour
$75 per person
Buy Now
Looking for Something Different?
More What's New >> Events & Activities