Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update: April 9, 2024

Blue Dick Wildflowers [stock photo]

Before starting the update, we need to address a major issue that we are having on Figueroa Mt Road between Zaca Ridge Road and the Lookout Rd. This area currently has a stunning wildflower display right beside the road; however, the problem is that visitors are parking on the road to get up and see the flowers. Doing this completely cause a traffic jam from both directions and emergency vehicles cannot get past. Please be aware that parking on the road is illegal and violation notices of $180.00 will be issued. All four tires must be off the pavement. Also, remember that trampling the flowers is taking away from other visitors enjoying them. Please be respectful and let others enjoy the flowers as well.

Now, with that said…Ready to start exploring? Let’s go!

One of the most beautiful and aromatic wildflowers on Figueroa Mountain is the breathtaking lupine. Lupine are part of the legume (pea) family. There are 7 varieties of lupine on Figueroa Mountain. [courtesy]
Starting at the first cattle guard and continuing to the canopy area, stunning fiesta flowers, Johnny jump-ups, buttercups, hummingbird sage, miner’s lettuce, sky lupine and miniature lupine, fiddleneck, blue dick, blow wives, owls clover, fillaree and lomatium can be found.

Along the canopy area, look for sky lupine, blue dick, buttercups, fiesta flowers, henbit deadnettle, Johnny jump-ups, fillaree, hummingbird sage, fiddleneck and popcorn flower. The golden yarrow is also getting ready to bloom.

As you continue to climb the mountain, those adorable cream cups are still delighting us on the right side of the road, right before you get to the rusty gate, but they are so tiny and so few this year! Gorgeous orange California poppies along the road continue to bloom beautifully! Other beauties that one can see on their climb up the mountain include, prickly phlox, buttercups, blue dick, arroyo lupine, fiddleneck, fillaree, popcorn flower, charming wall flowers are showing off their charming orange gowns in a slight hillside on the right, blow wives, coreopsis, goldfields, lomatium, shooting stars and in the shady areas, look for wild canyon peas. The Ceanothus is rapidly fading throughout the mountain.

Hummingbird Sage wildflowers [stock photo]
If you look to your left as you climb the mountain, you will notice that Grass Mountain has no orange in sight. Some of the rocky areas in close proximity of Grass Mountain have small patches of poppies, but not Grass Mountain, which makes me wonder if perhaps the grass is so tall that it is covering the poppies. This certainly doesn’t look like a super bloom year for Grass Mountain.

At Vista Point (large gravel turnout about 11.4 miles from the bottom), the chocolate lilies have gone to seed for the year in this location along with the shooting stars. However, blue-eyed grass has taken their place. More carpets of lovely goldfields mixed with fillaree can be seen, along with fool’s onion.

In the area across Vista Point and along the road to the station, poppies continue to impress, along with coreopsis, blue dick, fillaree, popcorn flower and lomatium. Golden yarrow is also getting ready to bloom here as well.

Beyond the station to Tunnel Ranch Road, the only flowers spotted were some fading shooting stars and sky lupine. On the field to the right before Tunnel Ranch Road, check out the beautiful wallflowers, dancing gleefully with the stunning buttercups.

Looking straight ahead, look at the hillsides and find beautiful patches of striking orange California

About 1⁄4 mile further, just past Zaca Ridge Road, a beautiful display of poppies and lupine are putting on a show! But, again, PLEASE DON’T BLOCK THE ROAD! Park at the Zaca Ridge Road turnout or across the road at the clearing and take the short walk down the road to see these beauties! Again, please be respectful of others and don’t trample the flowers. Let others enjoy them as well. Continuing down the road, look for blue globe gilia and beautiful bush lupine as it is starting to bloom.

From beyond the Figueroa Campground to the Davy Brown Trailhead, look for silver bush lupine, poppies, sky lupine, popcorn flower, mustard and fiddleneck. At the trailhead, look for chocolate lilies and buttercups.

From the trailhead continuing uphill, look for gorgeous poppies, buttercup and rapidly seeding shooting stars, fools onion, goldfields, buttercups and fillaree. In the area within the rusty pipe fencing, goldfields are carpeting these fields with stunning patches of yellow. Across from the pipe fencing look for chocolate lilies popping up through the grassy fields.

As you continue your drive up to Ranger Peak, very few flowers are currently in bloom. However, halfway up to Ranger Peak, you will find adorable baby blue eyes looking at you on the rocky hillside on the right. A few poppies can also be seen.

The stretch between Ranger Peak and Cachuma Saddle is starting to wake up. The manzanita is in bloom with their delightful bell- shaped flowers, bush poppies are starting to bloom, along with popcorn flower, Indian paintbrush, bush lupine. Ceanothus is still in bloom but going away quickly.

Sunset Valley is starting to put on quite a show. As you start driving down Sunset Valley, look for yellow poppies, wild cucumber, fiddleneck, baby blue eyes and popcorn flower. If you look up towards the rocky hillside, goldfields, yellow poppies and bush poppies are doing a good job filling some rocky slopes. As you continue your drive down to NIRA campground, look for bush poppies, chia, blue dick, prickly phlox, Coulter’s lupine and tiny, but cute, yellow poppies.

When you start heading down Happy Canyon, you’ll notice that there really isn’t a whole lot to see. This is a very strange year for Happy Canyon as this area is the first area to shine and this year it is just getting started. All I spotted were poppies, prickly phlox, shooting stars, fiesta flowers, Johnny jump-ups, mustard, blue dick and buttercup. This list includes the entire road from Happy Canyon down to the bottom of the hill and out of Forest land. In the private property, to your left as you get to the bottom of the hill, the fields within the private property are carpeted with gorgeous pink owls clover. Those fields are very striking but remember, they are in private property so please be respectful and stay out of the fields.

A reminder to all wildflower viewers…when stopping to take pictures or to hike, please do not block the road at any time or double park. As you all know, this creates a hazard and makes it impossible for emergency vehicles to get through if their assistance were required.

That’s all for this update. Look for our next wildflower update in a couple of weeks. Until then, happy viewing! If you would like to be added to the Figueroa Wildflower Update email list, please send your request to Helen Tarbet by email at

Helen Tarbet

Written by Helen Tarbet

Helen Tarbet is the Recreation Technician for the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia Ranger District, and frequently provides wildflower updates.

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