Sunrise to Sunset.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve
Driving Directions to Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR
Camping and Lodging
Online reservations are not available for this park.
Brochures and Campground Maps
No online brochures available for this park.
Upcoming Park Events
No events scheduled at this moment.
Current Bloom Status: 3/18/15
Wow, Mother Nature pulled the rug out from under us. We're astonished to find that our big bloom of desert-adapted, ruggedly persistent poppies has been all but cooked away by the unseasonable heat we had a week ago. Where we had the densest poppy germination anyone's seen in a decade, all that's left on the south slopes are desiccated orange petals that didn't even have a chance to go to seed before they were left shriveled on the stalk. This is completely unexpected, as the early and regular rains this winter should have given the plants the deep growing roots that would enable them to withstand a month of dry weather; however heat waves are always a variable factor that can quickly alter any prediction.
However, all is not lost! The north slopes of the reserve are angled away from the sun and still have lovely mosaics of color with goldfields, forget-me-nots, gold cups, cream cups, owl's clover, and lupine among scattered poppies. The best patches of wildflowers can be found on the first section of the North Poppy Loop Trail, and the north sides of Kitanemuk Vista Point and the Vista Point just up from the east end of the paved parking lot.
Can the season be saved if we get a good rain? Where the poppy plants aren't dead, they could be triggered to put out more buds.... but no rain is predicted soon. Still, the weather has been beautiful, the views are amazing, and visitors have enjoyed the beauty of the reserve despite the lack of the anticipated orange carpets. We're unable to predict how long the bloom will last at this point, but at this rate, as soon as mid-April there may be little left of this year's bloom.
Click here for current photos.
Download our Trail Map.
Each spring, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve comes alive with the seasonal surprises of the Mojave Desert Grassland habitat. The duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year. The wildflower season generally lasts from as early as mid-February through late May, with a variety of wildflowers creating a mosaic of color that changes daily.
Eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills, including a paved section for wheelchair access, make the park a wonderful place to hike and explore any season. Get away from the city and relax in the quietude of the countryside, with only the birds singing and hawks gliding silently overhead. Benches located along the trails make good places to sit quietly and watch for wildlife, such as singing meadow larks, lizards zipping across the trail, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes. If you're lucky, you may spot a coyote or bobcat. Numerous burrows around the trails may house mice, gophers, kangaroo rats, beetles, scorpions, or others.
NEW! Check out our YouTube video.
The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center offers wildflower and wildlife exhibits, an orientation video, a gallery of Jane's botanical watercolor paintings, and a gift shop benefiting our non-profit association. The Center is only open during the spring wildflower season and for special events; our spring closing date will be the end of April.
Shaded picnic tables are available on a first-come/first-served basis year-round, with an interpretive display and a serene view over the valley to the San Gabriel Mountains.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily year-round.
Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center:
Weekends: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Weekdays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cash or check only:
$10 per vehicle
$9 per vehicle with a senior on board (62 and over)
$5 per vehicle with DPR Disabled Discount Card (see below)
Small busses (9-24 passengers): $50
Large busses (25 or more passengers): $100
School Groups: Vehicle entrance for K-12 school groups is free with advance registration faxed to (661) 946-6116 (See below regarding tour reservations).
Same-Day free entry: Parking fee receipts are valid for entrance on the same day to any other California State Park charging the same or lower rates; entrance is free for those camping at a California State Park.
Park Passes: Click here for information on applying for our Golden Poppy, Annual Day-Use, Disabled Discount, Distinguished Veterans, and Golden Bear Passes.
Free public tours are offered daily at:
11 a.m. on weekdays
10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on weekends.
Please note, tours are dependent on staff availability may be cancelled without notice.
Private tours for groups of 10 or more may be arranged for weekdays. Tours must be reserved a minimum of 2 weeks in advance by emailing Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov.
Tours are free for non-profits, clubs, and school groups. For-profit groups and tour companies will be charged $5 per person in advance, in addition to parking fees paid on arrival. Carpooling is recommended.
Please Note: Important Information!
Stay on the Trail!
Getting a picture of that one really nice wildflower will crush all the plants along the way and compact the soil, leaving lifeless bare dirt for the next few years or longer. If someone else has started a trail, do not add to the damage. Please be a responsible park user and leave the park as nice as you found it.
Do NOT pick the wildflowers!
Everything is protected, from the tiniest wildflower to the rocks on the trail. Poppies wilt immediately after being picked, and they carry the seeds that we need for the next year's wildflowers.
If you observe other visitors going off trail or picking flowers, please alert staff at the visitor center or on the trails to address the resource violators.
Do not bring dogs
Dogs are NOT allowed on trails or in the visitor center, with the exception of service dogs. Dogs cannot be left alone in cars; there is no shaded parking and the desert quickly heats vehicles. We request that service dogs wear distinguishing markers to avoid misleading other visitors.
Be prepared for wicked strong winds!
Spring is normally very windy which makes poppies curl up, so check the weather report first for general conditions. The wind at the reserve is usually exponentially stronger than in Lancaster, so check our weather station for real-time wind speeds updated every hour.
Also, remember to bring twice as much water as you think you'll need, and drink a lot of it! The reserve is a cleverly-disguised desert and you don't feel how rapidly you lose water into the dry air. As the weather gets warmer, dehydration can suck the energy out of you quickly. There are water fountains, and bottled water is for sale at the Interpretive Center.
The desert temperatures can vary widely and change suddenly, so wear layers for unpredicted changes in weather.
Enter only through entrance gate.
On weekends during good wildflower blooms, the parking area can fill up by late morning. The entrance gate is then closed and vehicles are only allowed in as others leave. Entry through any other area along the boundary is prohibited; citations are being given for fence jumping.
Parking is also available on Lancaster Road beginning 100 feet from the entrance (see signs), and visitors may park and walk in for free through the entrance gate only, staying on the roadway to the entrance kiosk. Carpooling is recommended to maximize parking availability.
Drive with caution on Lancaster Road!
Where flowers are blooming near the road, watch for car doors swinging open, erratic driving as people take pictures out the windows, and children and dogs dashing out into the road. Drivers may slow down suddenly to find a place to pull over, or stop in the middle of the road to take pictures, or are just not looking where they are going. Please be patient and watch for the unexpected!
Rattlesnakes are out!
Mojave green rattlesnakes are active in the daytime on cool to warm days, and in the evenings on hot days. They are not aggressive and will not attack unless startled or threatened; they make you aware of their presence because they want to avoid a confrontation. If you encounter one on a trail, it will most likely move out of your way if you give it space. Rattlesnakes are an important part of the food web and are also protected. Without them, rodents could overpopulate and consume the flowers that the park is famous for.
Rattlesnakes are in all fields.
Rattlers are common in wildflower fields througout the valley, and people running into the fields outside the reserve to be in a picture among the poppies results in snake bites every year. Walk slowly in fields and watch where you step. Within park boundaries, going into the wildflowers is prohibited, for your safety and for the health of the habitat.
More about the Reserve
The Antelope Valley is located in the western Mojave Desert at an elevation ranging from 2600--3000 feet, making it a high desert environment.
This State Natural Reserve is located on California's most consistent poppy-bearing land. Other wildflowers: owl's clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis, to name a few, share the desert grassland to produce a mosaic of color and fragrance each spring. As unpredictable as nature - the intensity and duration of the wildflower bloom varies yearly. California State Parks does not water or use any other means to stimulate the flowers; the land is preserved to only be influenced by the natural forces that had once influenced all of our surroundings. The broad views of this landscape provide eyefuls of brilliant wildflower colors and fragrance. Whether you most enjoy expansive fields or the close-up study of a single flower, this is the place to visit.
Location - Directions
The Reserve is located 15 miles west of Lancaster at 15101 Lancaster Road.
From Highway 14: Take the Avenue I exit and head west 15 miles. Avenue I becomes Lancaster Road.
From I-5: Take Hwy 138 east and turn right on 170th Street West. Make a left at the end, onto Lancaster Road. Follow the road two miles.
Latitude/Longitude: 34.72482 N, 118.41271 W
Make A Day Of It!
Your Day-Use entry ticket is valid for entry on the same day to any other California State Park charging the same or lower rates. Camping fees are also valid for any other California State Park the next day.
While visiting the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, we also suggest you visit the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, located seven miles west of the Poppy Reserve just past 210th Street West. Here you will see a native Joshua Tree and Juniper woodland, one of the few left of this habitat which once spread across the Antelope Valley. In favorable conditions, Joshua Trees bloom with soft white artichoke-shaped flowers. There is a short self-guided nature trail located at the park and information panels about the woodland, and it's a haven for local wildlife so keep your camera ready. Admission is free and dogs are allowed on-leash. Watch for the sign on Lancaster Road and park along the fenceline; the pedestrian walk-through is adjacent to the locked vehicle gate on the north side of the road.
Saddleback Butte State Park is 32 miles east, with a Joshua Tree/creosote habitat that offers different wildflowers than the Poppy Reserve. The park features camping, hiking, picnic tables, and a visitor center.
Red Rock Canyon State Park, 60 miles north, is the location of dramatic colorful cliffs that have been featured in hundreds of movies, TV shows, and commercials. Take the Abbot Road exit of Hwy 14 for the campground, main picnic area, and visitor center.
For more information about all the California State Parks in the Tehachapi District, click on the link to the right.
Available Activities and Facilities at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Drinking Water Available