It is the peak of poppy season, and if you haven't had the opportunity to visit the millions of orange poppies in bloom at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, now is the time!
Six of us made the 1.5 hour trek to the reserve this past Saturday. Supposedly, last weekend was the peak of the poppy season, but I think it will still look nice for another week. If you do go, don't forget to pack a lunch (there are not many places to eat up there), sunscreen, plenty of water, and to dress in layers. It's usually very windy there, but we got lucky this past weekend and there was just a gently breeze.
When you start getting near the reserve, you will see fields of poppies on either side of the road. You can stop the car and wander into the fields (there were a lot of people doing this), but most people's end destination was the actual reserve. It cost $8 per vehicle to park in the parking lot, but if you don't feel like paying this, there are some spots along the main road where you can park for free (if you don't mind a .5 mile walk). When we got there, they weren't letting people into the parking lot because it was full, so we stopped by the side of the main road and had lunch on the trunk of Brad's car. By the time we finished our lunch, they started letting people back in, so we ended up parking in the lot. The line into the lot, while it looked daunting, was actually not too bad--we got through it in about 10-15 minutes.
The reserve has many dirt paths that all connect in a loop. Since it's a reserve, you don't want to wander off the dirt paths or pick any flowers. (Also, there are rattle snakes in the area, so you REALLY don't want to wander off the paths!) Near the entrance is a visitor's center with restrooms. There are also a few picnic tables and plenty of porta-potties.
The Antelope Valley poppies were one of the most amazing and memorable sights I have seen in or around L.A.. I would encourage everyone to check it out this year, especially since it is one of the better blooming years in recent past!