Explore the Outdoors: Spring Wildflowers

It’s wildflower season in the Bay Area! From mid-April to mid-June, I, like many other local outdoor enthusiasts, like to get out and see the show. If you’re also excited about taking in the colors, I hope this will help you plan your adventure.

As you get ready to go out and enjoy the outdoors, you may find some library resources to make your trip more affordable or more educational. At every San Mateo County Libraries branch, you may find County Parks passes (in a stylish waist pack) and State Parks passes (solo hangtags or in our fabulous Explore our Parks backpacks, which also include binoculars, hiking guidebooks and wildflower identification guides). These items are In-Luck, meaning holds can't be placed on them – the passes are first come, first served. So check at the service desk to see if there are any in stock when you stop by.

If you’re an experienced or budding naturalist, you may also want to fortify yourself with knowledge in the form of guidebooks. You’ll find plenty of those in our collection, from hiking trails to California wildflower identification to birding. On your hike, be sure to be a good steward of our remarkable parks – take only pictures, leave only footprints. For the most up-to-date information about trail conditions, please call or check the website of the park you’re headed to. Some trails may be closed due to storm damage or maintenance and you might even get some information on what’s blooming now!

Some of San Mateo County’s Best Places for Wildflower Viewing:

Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve

The Serpentine Trail is known to have some of the best wildflower displays in this park. See clarkia, goldfields and tidy tips here.

Docents from the Friends of Edgewood Park lead free wildflower hikes every weekend from March through May – find details on their website!

Russian Ridge Preserve

Check out any of the grassland trails for your best chance of blooms: Bay-Ridge, Boreal Hill, Hawk Ridge, Alder Spring and Ancient Oaks. You may find lupine, California poppy and owl’s clover.

San Bruno Mountain State and County Park

You may find lupines, California poppies, paintbrush, purple owl’s clover and many more native wildflowers!

Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve

Try the Dusky Footed Woodrat or Polly Geraci Trail. Keep an eye out for fetid adder’s tongue, trillium, yellow sticky monkeyflower and blue-eyed grass, depending on whether it’s early or late spring.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

The grassland trails, Spring Ridge Trail and Betsy Crowder Trail have good chances for flowers.

What’s your favorite place to see wildflowers in the spring? Do you seek out our state flower, the California poppy, or are you a fan of less well-known blossoms? Let us know in the comments below!