Wildflowers in Northern California
Colorful shows of wildflowers can be seen along roads, lakeshores, craggy canyons, and creekside trails during spring and summer in Plumas County. Plumas County hosts a tremendous diversity of wildflowers due to the range in elevation and varied landscapes and habitat types.
From carnivorous plants to memorable mountain peonies, Plumas County probably has a flower you haven’t met yet. Escape the crowds to Plumas County for some of the best mountain wildflowers Northern California has to offer.
Wildflower Walks and Scenic Drives
There are many ways to see wildflowers in Plumas County. Enjoy a scenic drive in the Feather River Canyon or a leisurely stroll on a community path; take a long hike high in the mountains or a botanical bike ride along back country roads. Wildflowers are fun to photograph and share–just be careful not to trample the flowers–they are food for the bees, butterflies, and birds.
With snow and spring fed high elevation meadows and babbling creeks, look for summer wildflowers in and around Lassen Volcanic National Park long after other places in California are done blooming. The west shore of Lake Almanor along the Lake Almanor Trail is also a great place to look for woodland flowers like mule ears, scarlet fritillary, penstemons, and Washington lilies.
Trails around Mountain Meadows Reservoir near Westwood are also bordered with numerous colorful species. Get off the beaten path and explore the sweeping meadows and Big Springs and Yellow Creek of Tásmam Koyóm.
South Central Plumas
The Feather River Canyon is an official Scenic Byway for a reason–waterfalls, springs, and seeps loaded with wildflowers from early April through mid June, makes for a fantastic spring drive. Be on the lookout for monkey flowers, wallflowers, lots of lupines, and showy dogwoods. The rare and beautiful Cantelow’s Lewisia can easily be seen on the lower rock cliffs next to Caribou Road only 0.1 miles north of Highway 70.
If wildflower walks are more your thing, be sure to check out the trails around Bucks Lake a little later in the season. Near Quincy, the Butterfly Valley Botanical Area is a must visit for native plant lovers and is home to carnivorous pitcher plants (also called cobra lilies), sundews and many members in the lily family. The local endemic favorite “Quincy lupine” is present in this region too, flowering in May and June.
The trail along Jamison creek in Plumas-Eureka State Park are great for a leisurely plant walk, or take a hike up the hill to Grassy Lake and into the Lakes Basin Recreation Area for subalpine species like asters and mountain pride (hummingbird favorite). Further east, Sierra Valley’s landscape is a blend of high sierra plants and high desert blooms. Favorites in Sierra Valley include camas lilies, mountain peonies, larkspurs, sand lilies, and sweet- smelling bitterbrush.
North Central Plumas
The country roads of Indian Valley cut through big, open grasslands with seasonal wetlands and spring flowers–all with towering Grizzly Ridge as a spectacular backdrop. Head through Taylorsville to Genesee Valley and beyond and be prepared to see unusually abundant milkweed (an important butterfly flower), spreading phlox, arrowleaf balsam, indian paintbrush, and coyote mint (another pollinator favorite) along the roadways.