Visit the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

2 miles 900 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Tori Marsh

The remote hills of Lancaster are the perfect climate for poppies! Although it is best to visit this protected land in the spring, when the poppies are in bloom, the park is open year round. If you're lucky enough to see the poppies, get ready for a show!

If you're going during wildflower season, start your adventure at the visitors center at the end of 150th St. W. Parking in the lot outside the visitors center is $10, but there is ample street parking that is free. In the visitors center you can read more about the reserve, plan your hike, and see where there is an abundance of poppies. Remember, the visitors center is only open March 1st through mothers day. 

The most popular hike is the Poppy Trail North and South Loop (they are connected) that start to the left of the visitors center. The whole Loop is about 2 miles, but you can extend it with a trip to the top of Tehachapi Vista Point, which provides sweeping views of the reserve. To the right of the visitors center is the Antelope Butte Trail. This trail is 4 miles long, but there are other connecting trails you can take to make your hike longer! Although you will see poppies on both hikes, I recommend that you talk to a ranger beforehand! They can tell you which trail is best for optimal poppy viewing.

The best time to go is mid-day. During the wind, or cold temperatures, the poppies close up. Because of that, try to go on a warm day, with little wind! Mid-day is good as it is warm enough without the wind! The exact days you can see the poppies is different every year, but it generally happens early April. However, it can take place anytime from Mid-March to May. For status updates on the poppies, check the reserve’s Facebook page, or call the Poppy Reserve Wildflower Hotline (661-724-1180).

Pro Tip: After hiking the trails mentioned above, my group and I ended up going past 150th St. W, and turning right on the first unmarked dirt road we came across. If your car handles off-roading well, I completely recommend doing this. I saw small sedans making the trek, so most cars should handle the dirt roads pretty well. The dirt road winds its way around the park, and reaches places that most visitors on foot don't make it to. At one point we were the only ones in a field of poppies (even though there were about 1,000 people visiting that day). The best way to do this is to locate a patch of poppies, and head that direction! This is a perfect adventure if you want to escape from the crowds and you're ok with the possibility of getting a little lost. If not, sticking to the Poppy Trail North and South Loop is a great place to see the poppies, just be prepared for crowds. 

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Dog Friendly
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Overall rating: 

Great Year

This year the Poppys are great. Best on days with little wind and plenty of sunshine but a worthwhile trip nonetheless. Id recommend parking on the outside and walking in.

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