Photograph Death Valley's Wildflower Bloom

Copper Canyon, Inyo County, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    200 Feet

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

This is arguably the best way to see Death Valley National Park. Additionally, if you're lucky, you can experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - once every decade, conditions are just right for a superbloom. This also makes it the perfect temperature for hiking and exploring all of Death Valley.

Every spring, a few plants and flowers spring up from the driest place in North America, California's Death Valley National Park. Knowing where to go is important, but not as important as knowing when to go. Wildflower season only lasts a few weeks before daytime temps hit 80º and the flowers go to seed.

Typically in late February and early March after winter rains, wildflowers begin popping up in the arid desert. If there is enough rain, and the temperatures stay around 65º, the flowers will stay until the heat comes. Plan your trip in this time frame, while paying close attention to Death Valley National Park reports. When the rain comes, get ready to take a trip a few weeks later. If it's an El Niño year, be prepared for a stunning display!

The best place to see wildflowers is typically along Badwater Road, south of the Furnace Creek visitor center. 27 miles south is Copper Canyon, and the beginning of the best grounds for early wildflowers. For the next 19 miles until you get to Ashford Mills Ruins is prime desert landscape for wildflowers. During superbloom years, the base of the Funeral Mountains becomes a golden carpet that stretches all the way around the basin. Take some time walking up the valley from the road at Copper Canyon to get a different perspective on this magical event.

The trick to photographing the flowers is to use a telephoto lens. Get low, and shoot away, because this only happens on rare occasion.

When you've spent a whole day exploring the park for white, purple, and pink patches of Poppies and Desert Gold head back to one of the park's many campsites for the night. If you've come from Los Angeles, make sure you crack open a cold Golden Road Wold Among Weeds IPA and soak in a truly spectacular desert sunset.

Pack List

  • Camera with a telephoto lens
  • Outdoor Research Sombriolet Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Allergy Medication (you get covered in pollen)
  • Teton Sports Oasis 1200
  • Teton Sports Ultra 3 Tent
  • Death Valley National Park Map* Golden Road Wolf Among Weeds IPA
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The super bloom was amaaaazing! I am so happy and grateful to have experienced it myself. I cannot believe that a place so hot and so dry can also be a place for a beautiful flower field! When you go, be sure to check online for where the flowers are now blooming, because I believe they're starting to move up to higher elevations.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

I ventured out with my family over the weekend. Overall, it was a great experience with the only challenge being our children who tagged along. They found the long distance and time in the car in between sites too boring. If I was alone it would've been great. The wildflowers seemed to bloom more the further you travel north.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Michael Wigle Explorer

Exploring this incredible world with Film / Photography / Stories

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