The Sierras’ Summer Bloom Expected to Be Epic
Following a wet and snowy winter, the mountain areas should see wildflowers all the way through August.
- CategoryLife Outside
After enduring several years of drought, California saw one of its wettest seasons in years. That was good news all around—for snow packs, water supply, agriculture, skiing conditions and more. Since snow has fallen in the Sierra Mountains even into June, the snow is only starting to melt in some of the higher elevations. And with this late “spring” comes late flowers.
According to the Sacramento Bee, 2017 has already been a spectacular wildflower year. “As if celebrating the end of California’s epic drought, vast expanses of wildflowers covered swaths of the Central Valley and southland deserts this spring. At higher elevations, more wildflowers are expected to put on their own prolonged show well into August.”
Due to weather, fire and availability of water, mountain wildflower years vary greatly. Post-drought seasons can be special.
Wildflower expert Julie Carville, author of Tahoe’s Spectacular Wildflower Trails (Mountain Gypsy Press, 277 pages, $29.95), remembers an amazing Sierra bloom year in the summer of 2014 with dazzling displays.
“They may be this gorgeous again this year,” she says.
WHERE TO GO: Lake Tahoe (above 7,000 feet), The Yuba Pass on Highway 49, Thunder Mountain and the Carson Pass hike to Winnemucca Lake, Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite
WHEN: Late July into August
WHAT YOU’LL SEE: Elephant heads, shooting stars, mule’s ears, balsamroots, paintbrushes, penstemons, lupines, and Mariposa lilies
Read more wildflower touring info here.
A major spill in ‘69 changed California’s approach to fossil fuels.