Figueroa Wildflower Update for Late April

By Helen Tarbet, US Forest Service

Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update April 25, 2023

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 the amount of weekend traffic heading up Figueroa Mountain to see it.

The California Highway Patrol has been closing Figueroa Mt Rd intermittently on Saturdays and Sundays due to the massive number of cars going up the mountain.

In addition to the volume of cars coming up Figueroa Mt Road, some visitors block the road when they stop to take pictures and obstruct other vehicles trying to get through. This has created a huge problem in this narrow portion of the road. While vehicles going in opposite directions can normally pass, it becomes difficult and often dangerous when vehicles park alongside the narrow road. Before continuing the update, I would like to ask an enormous favor of all who go up to view the blooms. Please, please, PLEASE only park at turnouts where NO PART of your tires are on the black top. “No Parking Anytime” signs have been installed along the side of the road where the problem is occurring. Please be mindful and only park in the large Zaca Ridge Road turnout or the Figueroa Mt Lookout turnout and take the short walk to the blooms. We encourage people to go see the wildflowers on weekdays when there is less traffic and to plan on getting an early start. Our patrols and law enforcement have been very busy handing out citations to folks disregarding the rules…especially the parking rule. Don’t get one of these expensive reminders.

Ready to start exploring? Let’s go!

Starting at the first cattle guard and continuing to the canopy area, fiesta flowers, buttercups, hummingbird sage, lovely Chinese houses, fiddleneck, blue dick, blow wives, owls clover, miniature lupine, sky lupine, phacelia, and mustard are all in bloom.

Along the canopy area, look for sky lupine, miniature lupine, fiesta flowers, Johnny jump-ups, blue dick, buttercup, and mustard.

As you continue to climb the mountain, the adorable cream cups are still delighting us on the right side of the road, right before you get to the rusty gate. Gorgeous orange California poppies continue to bloom. Also look for filaree, the start of Mexican elderberry, buttercup, mustard, lomatium, buckwheat, chia, purple onions, dudleya, coreopsis, charming mariposa lilies within the tall grass, blue dick, shooting stars, wallflowers, sky lupine, and canyon peas.

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 but can be found further up the mountain. Here, however, you will find goldfields, buttercup, blue-eyed grass, filaree, poppies, lomatium, blue dick, fiddleneck, Ceanothus and shooting stars as they prepare to go to seed as well.

In the area across Vista Point and along the road to the station, poppies continue to shine, along with golden yarrow, blue globe gilias, coreopsis, Ceanothus, filaree, popcorn flower, blue dick, buttercup, and golden yarrow.

Beyond the station to Tunnel Ranch Road, look for sky lupine, blue dick, coreopsis, poppies, blow wives and fiddleneck. On the field to the right before Tunnel Ranch Road, check out the beautiful wallflowers, dancing gleefully with stunning buttercup.

Looking straight ahead, look at the hillsides and find beautiful patches of striking orange California poppies and some of majestic purple sky lupine and bush lupine.

About 1⁄4 mile further, just past Zaca Ridge Road, the beautiful display of poppies and lupine continues to shine! But, again, PLEASE DON’T BLOCK THE ROAD! Park at the Zaca Ridge Road turnout or the Figueroa Mt Rd Lookout and take the short walk down the road to see these beauties!

From beyond the Figueroa Campground to the Davy Brown Trailhead, look for poppies, globe gilia, Ceanothus, sky lupine, phacelia, chia, bush lupine, and fiddleneck. At the trailhead, look for chocolate lilies and buttercup in the grassy area.

From the trailhead continuing uphill, one will find lomatium, shooting stars and buttercup. When you get to the field on the left, where the big dirt turnout is, check out the stunning chocolate lilies and lomatium.

As you continue your drive up to Ranger Peak, beautiful arroyo lupine are popping up, along with lomatium, buttercup, chocolate lilies, poppies, goldfield, filaree and shooting stars, although the shooting stars are beginning to fade.

At the gate at Ranger Peak, sky lupine are in bloom and a few baby-blue eyes were spotted but they were hiding in the tall grass, however, when one drives half-way up Ranger Peak, in the shaded area on your right, whimsical baby-blue eyes will be looking at you as you pass by.

The stretch between Ranger Peak and Cachuma Saddle is rapidly becoming quite the showcase! The bush lupine is starting to fill the roadway. While the bush poppies are just starting to wake up, give them a couple of weeks, and they too will be ready to entertain their visitors as well. Along this stretch, also look for downslope patches of poppies, manzanita, which is in full bloom, purple phacelia, popcorn flower, delphinium, Ceanothus, fiddleneck, purple nightshade, coulter lupine and wild canyon peas.

Sunset Valley has a variety of blooms, just not that many at this point. Look for popcorn flower, chia, goldfields, purple phacelia, morning glories, wild cucumber, miniature lupine, caterpillar phacelia, Ceanothus, poppies, coulter lupine, tufted poppies, purple sage, Mexican elderberry, and deer vetch. Sunset Valley seems to always be the last to make its big appearance, but when it does it never disappoints. Let’s wait and see what it brings us in a couple of weeks.

When you get Happy Canyon, look for poppies, arroyo lupine, vetch, bush lupine, stinging lupine, Mexican elderberry, purple sage, clematis in its flower form, purple sage, chia, golden yarrow, blue dick, purple sage, fiddleneck, sky lupine, Ceanothus, wild canyon peas, deer vetch and buckwheat.

Between the two creek crossings, in the grassy field on the right, beautiful orange poppies are trying to peek over the tall grass. Continuing along the road in the shaded areas charming fiesta flowers adorn the grass in their deep purple hues while they entertain wild canyon peas, blue dick, and vetch. Ceanothus is also found along this area. On the rocky areas, beyond the shaded fields, you can find gorgeous red Indian paintbrush, vetch, prickly phlox, poppies, and wild canyon peas.

Continuing down the hill, in the areas of full sun, one will find poppies, coreopsis, arroyo lupine, blue dick, fiddleneck, mustard, mariposa lilies, sky lupine, popcorn, purple sage and chia. In the Chicken Springs area, note how the blue-eyed grass is giving the poppies competition.

Along that final downhill stretch from Chicken Springs, look for purple sage, mustard, Mexican elderberry, blue dick, lupine, poppies, shooting stars, lomatium, prickly phlox, fiesta flowers, buttercup, and wild canyon peas.

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

[See the full wildflower photo attachment below]


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.

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment

Local Teacher Wins 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award

Helicopter Rescues Couple from Hiking Trail