Desert Lily

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wildflower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

-From “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake

Last year, we went to Borrego Springs around this time hoping to see the wildflowers. We did get to see wildflowers last year, but not as many as when we were there in 2008. Last year, we also found these amazing metal sculptures in Galleta Meadows.

This year, we were able to go to Borrego Springs with Josh’s family. It was a fun day trip with our kids, our nephews, Josh’s parents, and his sister. During a superbloom year, there are a LOT of people who visit Borrego Springs to see the wildflowers. We left as early as we could and were in Borrego Springs by 9 AM, but there was already quite a crowd there!

We like to stop at a turnout on the S-22 before heading into town. The overlook we stopped at last year was busy so we had to stop at a different turnout.

Our first stop in Borrego Springs was the Borrego Desert Nature Center near Christmas Circle. They offer free daily wildflower maps every year. The staff there has always been kind. The store there is also a good place to browse for books and gifts. My son, Matthias, is a rock hound and picked up a pocket-sized book about rocks during our visit last year. I wish I had taken pictures of the building when I was there. The Nature Center is located at 652 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA. The Nature Center is not related to the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center. In fact, when we drove past the street to the Visitor Center, there was a police officer directing traffic just at that intersection!

Once we drove into town, the traffic let up a little bit but it was still very busy. It was not too difficult to find parking near the Nature Center though. Josh and I were able to run in for the day’s wildflower map.

This was today’s flower map. It’s really informative and the lady who gave it to us explained to us which places were the best to go. We didn’t make it to every place on the map unfortunately. I think we needed another day or two to hike all the trails and visit all the flower fields.

It was very sunny and quite warm while we were out so sunscreen and lots of water were a must!

Anza Borrego 2017 Wildflower map

Palm Canyon Trail, Hellhole Canyon, and Little Surprise (the trail we hiked last year) would have been difficult to find parking, so we decided to go visit the flower fields off of Henderson Canyon Road. This is the area we visited when we only had two kids, Corran and Matthias, in 2008. The flowers were spectacular here.

Desert sunflower buds – my nephew Sawyer found these for me to photograph
Desert sunflowers carpeting the area off of Henderson Canyon Road

The desert sunflowers were everywhere here. We also saw sand verbena, desert lilies, and brown-eyed primrose across the street, away from the hills.

Sand verbena – lovely purple flowers. When we first got out of the car, I think the scent of these flowers was what we smelled. Possibly combined with the scent of orange blossoms from an orange grove close by.
Desert Lilies – These were my favorite flower this year. They are a little unobtrusive so you have to be looking for them or you will step right over them.
Brown-eyed Primrose – I had to look these up once we got home, but these pretty little flowers were everywhere this year! This one is all by its lonesome but most of the others we saw tended to be in little bunches.
We walked by the desert sunflowers on a dirt road skirting these rows of palm trees. One of the boys said these palm trees looked like they formed a cave.

We saw quite a few creatures during our walk, fortunately, no rattlesnakes! There were many of these caterpillars around. Later, I found out that these are white-lined sphinx moth caterpillars.

Can you find the ladybug? Always nice to find these helpful insects around! We also saw a beetle or two as well as a lot of gnats and flies!

After taking pictures of the field of desert sunflowers, we headed down the road to the west end of Henderson Canyon Road. This was an interesting hike. We saw quite a few different flowers than we did in the flower fields.

Saguaro Sculpture in Galleta Meadows, near the intersection of Henderson Canyon Road and Borrego Springs Road

This is the area in which most of the metal sculptures are located. We did not visit too many of them this year, though we did make the sea serpent sculpture our last stop before heading out of Borrego Springs.

Ocotillo – with buds. We found a lot of cactus and ocotillo during this hike.
A closeup of ocotillo buds

The beavertail cactus were in bloom. Their hot pink flowers are so bright they almost don’t look real!

Teddy Bear Cholla with Brown-eyed Primrose

The flowers in this area were mostly desert dandelion, desert chicory, and blue phacelia.

Desert dandelions
There are so many wildflowers in this picture that I don’t think I can name them all. They make a beautiful picture though.
Sand verbena and desert chicory
Beavertail cactus with desert chicory
Purple mat – these are tiny tiny purple flowers. You almost don’t see them unless you are looking at the ground as you walk.
Blue phacelia – I’m glad I didn’t run into the teddy bear cholla that was right by these!

There were a few flowers that I wanted to see that we didn’t find – monkeyflowers, dune evening primrose, and canterbury bells. Maybe we will find them next year!

The flower fields are beautiful, but the trail hikes are also beautiful and a lot like a treasure hunt. We almost stopped at Little Surprise Canyon on our way out of Borrego Springs, but three of our five kids had fallen asleep! So we will have to save that hike for another time.

Some links to more information about some of the flowers and plants we saw:

Desert Sand Verbena

Brown-eyed Evening Primrose

Desert Sunflower

Beaver-tail Cactus

Teddy Bear Cholla

Purple Mat

-Lynn

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. A_Boleyn

    Great outing. Lots of flowers and cacti, and the healthful aspects of being outdoors enjoying the sun and fresh air but the best part is you did it all as a family and you’re creating memories that your kids will remember all their lives.

    1. Lynn-Marie

      I think this will be an annual outing for us 🙂 Superbloom or no superbloom.

  2. soberinvegas

    so beautiful! and so many blooms! I guess we got so much rain out west this year now we’re seeing all those amazing flowers! 🙂

    1. Joshua

      Yes it was very wet this year. Did you all get a lot of rain? Much of our water comes from the Hoover Dam so it is in our best interest for you to get soaked.

      1. soberinvegas

        haha we did! so hopefully in addition to lake mead getting a little fill up we’re getting lots of blooms too! 🙂

    2. Lynn-Marie

      I’d love to go back and see the places we missed but probably not this year 🙁

  3. Angie

    Lynn!! I love your photographs! I’m a nature/flower lover too! I had NO idea that you’ve been blogging! We need to talk!

    1. Lynn-Marie

      Hi, Angie! I was wondering if this username was you! I’m glad I saw your comment. We don’t get outside hiking as much as we should; we kind of got out of the practice when Gwennan was born. We need to get back to it because I LOVE taking pictures outside. I don’t have to do very much because the flowers do all the work 🙂

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