The California Poppy is our state’s flower and right now, it is in bloom. We went on a very ambitious expedition to view fields of them last Sunday. None of us had ever been to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and so we drove (and drove and drove and drove) up there to meet up with some friends, hike, and view the poppies.
Some things to note if you come across this blog post and decide that you, too, want to visit the Poppy Reserve:
- Parking is horrendous. We sat in traffic for a very long time (after a very long drive) and finally ended up parking on Lancaster Road and walking into the reserve. There is very little shoulder on the road, so it can be a little nerve racking walking along the crowded road with a stroller or little kiddos in tow. You do not have to pay to enter the reserve if you walk in.
- There is very little shade in the reserve. Bring hats and sunscreen.
- It is WINDY there. You will be covered in dirt by the end of your adventure.
- You can push an off-road (B.O.B) stroller on the trails.
- Lines for the restrooms are looooong. Of course, the men’s line moves much faster. Use that restroom, even if you are a woman! There are no laws against that in California!
- The visitor’s center (technically, the Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center) is pretty pathetic. It’s small and is comprised mostly of a gift shop. There is a short, crappy video that you can watch, which is not very informative, but does play in a dim little cubby that allows you to get out of the sun (and nurse your baby, if you have one!).
- There are not very many picnic tables and they aren’t well shaded.
- Bring lots of water; it is very dry there!
- If it’s too cold or too windy, the poppies may close up.
We hiked .2 miles to Tehachapi Vista Point and then completed the 1.6 mile Poppy Trail North Loop. We did indeed see a lot of poppies (on our hike, and on our drive) and many other flowers. Overall, the girls did well on the hike, alternating riding in the stroller, walking, and being carried.
I am glad to have seen the poppy fields, but, check, this is now off my “to see” list and I can’t imagine feeling a pull to return. As we were walking back to where our car was parked on Lancaster Road after our hike, Vivian mentioned something about coming back here and I told her, “Nope, we’re not coming back!” It is just too far away, too difficult to get access to, and too stressful for me. We had a nice time together as a family, and it was fun to see and catch up with friends, too, but after all that driving (5 hours total!), I think that we’ll stick to springtime activities closer to home over the next few weeks.