9 Trail Blooms: San Diego’s Spring Flowers and Where to Find Them


If you want to add a splash of color to your runs or hikes, there’s no better time than spring in San Diego County. With all the rain this year, the hills and valleys are brimming with vibrant wildflowers and flowering shrubs. Whether you’re a runner or a hiker, these blooms are a perfect landscape for outdoor activities. Here are 9 of the common San Diego wildflowers and shrubs and the best places to enjoy them:



Monkey Paw

Native to Southern California, Monkey Paw comes in a variety of colors. You may see it among the shrubs of a hillside in red, orange, or pale yellow.6





Padre’s Shooting Star

Though its blooming season is short, this beautiful California Native can be found low to the ground in shaded areas along trails and around oak trees. It is a species of primrose and was named to honor the San Diego-based plant collector Daniel Cleveland.










Bladder Pod

Part of the Spiderflower family, this flowering edible shrub can easily be identified by its yellow flowers and large green pods. Native to Mexico and California, this unique plant is worth looking out for.













California Lilac

Native to North America, this beautiful flowering shrub can be seen all over San Diego County hillsides. This plant is essential for soil health because it traps nitrogen in its roots.










California Coast Sunflower

This native flower, also known as The California Brittlebrush, is usually seen along the roadside and trails. It adds color to our landscape from Spring through Fall.











Wild Radish

These dainty white, pink, or purple flowers can be found on hillsides and along creekbeds. Though not a native plant, the wild radish is hardy in Southern California’s arid climate.














There are many varieties of Lupin native to San Diego, some purple, some pink, and some yellow. All share a similar conical shape and star-like leaf pattern. Like the lilac, Lupin is a nitrogen-fixing plant.




California Poppy

You already know our beautiful state flower. This is just a reminder to enjoy its beautiful blooms while they are here. California Poppies bloom from mid-February to mid-May.











Crown Daisy

Formerly called the Chrysanthemum, this Mediterranean plant has made itself at home in Southern California. It is much taller than the California Coast Sunflower. You may find it with white and yellow flowers or all yellow flowers.










Where to See Them:

South Lake in San Marcos 

Sweetwater River Trail

Sweetwater Reservoir 

Big Laguna Lake Loop 

For more information about the meadows and flowers, check out this link. https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/regions/Pacific_Southwest/LagunaMeadow/index.shtml

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Check out their Bloom Tracker here. According to the CA Parks and Rec website, primroses, phacelia, and wooly sunflowers are also likely to grow in this area.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Mission Trails Regional Park


Ready to see San Diego in full bloom? Grab your running shoes and hit the trails! Whether you’re going for a leisurely walk or an energetic run, respect all trail signs and stay on designated paths. Make sure to bring water to stay hydrated and your phone to capture these beautiful blooms. Happy Spring!


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