Skip to Main Content
Contact Us Search
Organization Title

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve

Contact Information

(661) 946-6092

Park Hours

Park Hours:
  Sunrise to Sunset.

Driving Directions to Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR

The reserve is located 15 miles west of Highway 14 near the city of Lancaster. The visitor center is located 1/2 mile north of the intersection of 150th St W & Lancaster Road.

View on Map

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: 2/25/15

The hills are still mostly green with small patches of scattered poppies beginning to bloom on some of the south-facing slopes.  The rain we’ve had this winter has resulted in a tremendous number of poppy plants germinating across the reserve, but most only have buds forming at this time. 

In front of the visitor center, the beavertail cactus are producing their flower buds that will likely bloom near the end of the season. The Joshua tree to the west of the Visitor Center has one bud.

Tehachapi Vista Point Trail - The early-season grape soda lupine is in full bloom at the top of Tehachapi Vista Point with it's sweet scent of grape soda, and flowers are on filaree, slender keel fruit, tiny forget-me-nots, pygmy-leafed lupine, and locoweed.

Lightning Bolt Trail: poppies are in bloom but there are still young plants that have not produced their first flower bud. The more mature poppy plants are starting to form their seed pods. Instead of just a poppy here and there you can now see nice patches of orange. Along the trail the following plants are starting to bloom: lupine, blue dick, fringe pod, wild parsley, forget-me-nots (there is a hillside of white on the north side of the trail), rattlesnake weed, lacy phacelia, slender keel fruit, fiddleneck, filaree (starting to produce seed pods), red maids, silver puffs are starting to open their yellow flowers, California asters have new leaves at the base of the plant and wishbone/four-o¡¦clock have new green leaves but no flower buds as yet. Bunch grasses have new blades. When going up the trail, look to the west and you can see Fairmont Butte beginning to turn yellow with goldfields.

Kitanemuk Vista Point: lacy Phacelia is carpeting the top.

Poppy Trail North Loop: flowers in bloom are: filaree, fiddleneck, scattering of poppies, sun cups, fringe pod, goldfields, owl's clover, and cream cups.

We expect a fantastic bloom this year from mid-March through April.  The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center will be opening March 7th; see below for more information.

The Park

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, offering wildflower and wildlife exhibits, an orientation video, a gallery of Jane's botanical watercolor paintings, and a gift shop benefiting our non-profit association, is only open during the spring wildflower season and for special events.  The Interpretive Center will open March 7th; closing date will be determined as the bloom progresses.

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.

Parking Fees
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

Vehicle entrance for K-12 School Groups is free with advance registration.
Day-Use tickets are valid for entrance on the same day to any other California State Park charging the same or lower rates.
Click here for information on applying for our Golden Poppy, Annual Day-Use, Disabled Discount, Distinguished Veterans, and Golden Bear Passes. 

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.

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. 

There is only one entrance.
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.

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.

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

Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Family Programs
Drinking Water Available