Wildflower Guide: 3 Ways to Find Wildflowers

It’s wildflower time! Wondering where to find wildflowers nearby? If you’re as passionate about Spring colors as we are, you will definitely want to read on for our top tips for the best spots to find wildflowers throughout Calaveras’ lower elevations this Spring.

wildflower guide
The Calaveras River in Jenny Lind near Valley Springs | John Slot

Ready for wildflower time? Wondering where to find wildflowers this year in and around Calaveras? Spring colors begin mid-march throughout our westernmost towns with apple blossoms and a few daffodils popping up here and there in our lower elevation towns. With wild poppies and additional native wildflowers peaking out all over the foothills from April to May, making any Spring month the perfect time to enjoy a colorful weekend road trip through Calaveras County! With late rains this past winter we’re expecting a particularly lush Spring season for 2019–and it’s just beginning to kick off this month. The hills are already as green as the Irish countryside and daffodil flowers are beginning to pop up all over our lower elevation towns and varied lake trails.

Currently early March, before Spring gets into full swing, the best  place to view thousands of naturalized Daffodil displays is at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, CA. While these daffodil displays are breathtaking, if you want to see the full wealth of wildflowers Calaveras has to offer, plan to return when Spring is in full swing in April and May for the lower elevation wildflowers including millions of wild poppies and other native wildflowers throughout the county. Visit in July or August for our High Sierra wildflowers including Mariposa lilies, lupines, tiger lillies, and more. Read on to get our top tips for the best flower viewing sites throughout the region.

1. Wildflower Guide – Ironstone Vineyards

wildflower guide
Ironstone Vineyards offers thousands of planted flowers on display each Spring.

Some of these flowers may be planted, but the sheer quantity of flowers is nothing short of wild. Mark your calendar for the March launch of Ironstone Vineyards epic Motherlode Daffodil Show and Spring Obsession Art Show in early March. You may have missed the show this year, but fret not, the flower and art displays last all the way through May. If you love flowers, you won’t want to miss their thousands of daffodils, tulips, and flowers of all kinds which are still on display through the end of Spring.

On the way: Arriving early in the season? The road from Murphys to Ironstone is lined with one of the largest display of daffodils in the Gold Country corridor. Once inside the venue, you’ll be treated to all sorts of horticultural exhibits and artistic designs. Into natural curios? Make sure to check out Ironstone Vineyard’s Heritage Museum featuring the largest gold leaf nugget ever found on display. Afterwards, grab a picnic lunch at the deli, and enjoy a wine tasting while you’re at it.

Nearby Daffodil Hill in Volcano has the next largest plantings of daffodils and is also worth checking out as available. Flowers are finicky, so make sure to call ahead to catch the flowers of your choice.

2. Wildflower Guide – Stroll, Hike, Bike, Trail Running or Scenic Drive

wildflower guide
Instagrammer @curlymariruns trail running at New Melones in Angels Camp.

It’s a perfect time of year for a walk along the trails of the foothill lakes, the poppies have started to bloom and as March goes on, more and more color will begin to shine. A moderate hike up the Table Mountain trail, part of the New Melones Recreation Area, offers a unique volcanic plateau overlooking Melones Lake and is home to vernal pools and many species of wildflowers.

Locals tip: Hopping on the Moke Coast to Crest Trail this spring? Grab their trail wildflowers checklist here.

Looking for something less strenuous? The trails at Glory Hole and Tuttletown entrances offer easier walks as well as many great mountain biking opportunities. If you have a chance to visit the Valley Springs tri-lake area, check out trail systems at New Hogan and Camanche lakes, in the Valley Springs area are also awash with wildflowers, rolling green grasses and budding oak trees.

Looking for something new to explore? Learn all about the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail and plan ahead here in order to discover one of the most impressive river canyon trail systems for wildflower viewings in the Sierra foothills this season.

Looking for wildflowers with quaint, historic charm? Foothill towns with historic downtowns, like Mokelumne Hill, Angels Camp and Murphys all have gorgeous planted barrels, native california poppy displays, as well as populations of gold rush-era fruit trees currently sporting their colorful blossoms. If you could only pick one town to explore mid- Spring, we recommend exploring Mokelumne Hill for a weekend visit to discover why this town is sometimes locally known as “flower town.”

wildflower guide
Calaveritas spring flowers via the official Instagram account of @photagraphysallymae

Take The Car
Hop in the car and explore some of our favorite backroads and byways. In the winding river canyons you’ll see redbud trees, lupine and lilacs coming out. In ranch country near Copper and Valley Springs, be on the look out for poppy fields, mustard, and blossoming fruit and nut trees.

Some of our locals favorite rural destinations for lower elevation wildflower sightings from the car are

  • Jenny Lind’s Milton Rd. (which passes over spectacular Spring Calaveras River views) near the Valley Springs area.
  • Highway 4 from Copperopolis to Murphys
  • Dogtown Rd. from Angels Camp to Murphys
  • Calaveritas Rd. from San Andreas to the Angels Camp area
  • Choose your own adventure backroads: Connecting San Andreas, Murphys, and West Point (home of the annual West Point Lumberjack Days), choose your own adventure by mapping out a route along one or all of the interconnecting roads in that area. We recommend experiencing Mountain Ranch Rd, Sheep Ranch Rd, and Railroad Flat Rd. for a great combo of historic rural living and awesome wildflower sightings.

Locals tip: Driving in the backroads? Plan ahead with a full tank of gas, snacks, and beverages in the car. Expect rustic rural conditions (including the occasional pothole). Many of our backroads are narrow and windy so make sure to honor the speed limit and keep an eye out for unexpected cyclists, wildlife, as well as gently ambling sheep, turkeys, or an occasional cow.

Want help planning your backroads drive? We’re available to help 7 days a week via email at or by phone at 1-209-736-0049.

3. Wildflower Guide – March through September

Did you know that thanks to the dramatic change in elevation throughout the county, Calaveras and the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway corridor can have up to 7 months of wildflowers?  Due to the change in microclimates, the higher in elevation a destination is, the later in the Spring season its wildflowers begin to appear. Given the right conditions, at our highest elevations we can have wildflowers in peak condition as late as the last week of August.

Due to their fleeting nature, if wildflowers are high on your list, feel free to give us a call 7 days a week at 1-209-736-0049 to find the best hikes, mountain bike trails or drives to find the most wildflowers during your visit or follow our Go Calaveras Facebook page and/or our Go Calaveras Instagram in order to stay up to date on where the wildflowers are going off throughout the region.

For more ideas on things to do in Spring, check out our Spring Vacation Itineraries.

Happy wildflower chasing!