Winter’s gloom is beginning to give way to Spring’s bloom. As rainy seasons end in some parts of the country, and ice begins to melt in others, valleys, mountainsides, and even deserts will be ablaze with color as flowers begin to bloom. The Spring bloom can begin as early as February and run as late as June depending on where in the country you are. As you make plans to thaw out with a sun-filled RV road trip, consider placing some of the best places to see the Spring bloom on your itinerary.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its wildflowers. With more than 1,500 kinds of flowers, it is sometimes called the “Wildflower National Park.” The National Park even hosts a festival called the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage every April. If you wish to attend the festival, make sure you register in advance. The cost for adults is $50 for one day, or $75 for two or more days. Outside of the festival you can check out Great Smoky National Park’s suggested wildflower walks for the best spots to see the blooms.
Every year, more than 1 million people visit the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Japan gifted the Yoshino trees to the U.S. in 1912. The pink blossoms only last about two weeks. If you are unable to make it for peak bloom, you have some wiggle room. For two days before and after the peak bloom, the blossoms will look as if they are in peak bloom. According to the National Park Service, peak bloom is when 70% of the cherry blossoms are open. This year the NPS had predicted an early bloom, but has since revised their prediction. Peak bloom is difficult to predict any more than 10 days out. The latest NPS update has peak bloom forecasted for March 27 – March 31. Check the National Park Service’s Bloom Watch web page for updates.
Shenandoah National Park
If the Cherry Blossom Bloom in Washington, D.C. is a bit early for you this year, consider Shenandoah National Park. This park is only 75 miles from Washington, D.C. and has more than 850 types of flowers. The flowers here are at their peak bloom right before the leaves on the trees are fully grown in. Once the leaves are fully grown they block out the wildflowers’ sun. This year’s Wildflower Weekend will be May 5-6.
North Cascades National Park
Wildflowers in North Cascades can be seen as early as February in lower elevation areas and as late as August in the alpine zone, because of the varied habitats and elevations. On the Cascade Pass Trail, you can see the brightly colored flowers that bloom as the snow melts in the subalpine zone. The Hidden Lake Trail will take you into open meadows filled with wildflowers during part of your hike.
The deserts of the Southwest
The desert blooms on the earlier side with wildflowers blooming mostly blooming in March. Due to the small amounts of rain this season, the spring blooms in the Southwest are not predicted to be good. Still, these are very popular locations to see the Spring bloom and desert bloom updates are still being sent out. Though the wildflowers may not bloom much this season, the Saguaros are still forecast to bloom April-May. Popular spots to watch the spring bloom is the Sonoran Desert, and areas near both Tucson and Phoenix, include Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, Picacho Peak State Park, and Lost Dutchman State Park.
The poppies on the Antelope Loop Trail in Antelope Valley, California are famous for their Spring bloom. There has been some rain in March, but forecasts are still not strong for this year’s bloom.
Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks are also highly sought after for their Spring bloom. Under the right conditions, an exceptionally strong bloom, known as a super bloom, can occur. It is worth tracking the updates each year to try to catch a super bloom. Some seasons can produce weak blooms. This year does not look promising over in Death Valley. At Joshua Tree, the wildflowers may be fewer this year, but there are some if you’re willing to hunt for them. Also, the Joshua Trees and Yuccas are still forecast to bloom in March and April. And, no matter the year’s desert bloom forecast, you can still get your desert Spring bloom fix at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum just outside of Tucson.
Now that you know where to catch a spectacular Spring Bloom, find the perfect RV Rental for your Spring road trip on Outdoorsy.