Bear Valley Road Wildflower Trek

Colusa County

HOW TO GET THERE

This is a self-guided auto-tour trek best done in the spring between April and May.

From the cities of Davis or Woodland, head north on Interstate 5 (I5) to State Highway 20.  Turn left on Highway 20 and remain on it until just past the point where Highway 20 intersects with Highway 16.  Look for Bear Valley Road on your right and merge onto it.

This road is mostly unpaved but is generally well-maintained so you shouldn’t have any trouble driving it (until it’s been exceedingly rainy and road is rutted).  For most of the drive, Bear Creek will be on your left. Watch for birds and river otters around the water.  There are several turnouts on the road where you can stop to take photographs.

Keep in mind that much of the property on either side of the road is private property.  Do not trespass as you look for flowers, and do not disturb the cattle and horses you may see in pastures along the road.

Continue up the road for about 12 miles and you’ll come to a ranch with a large white WILDFLOWER ACCESS sign on it.  (It’s not posted year-round, so keep an eye out for it.)  Pull off the road here and park, and you can actually go onto the ranch property and get close up photos of the flowers. It also has a great view of the Bear Valley Buttes (upturned marine sediments of the Great Valley sequence) to the north.

Once you’re done viewing the flowers, you can head back out the same way you came in.

THE AUTO TOUR ITSELF

Bear Valley Road is generally well-maintained and easily drivable.  Be aware that there are other drivers on the road, so when you stop to admire the views, be sure to pull off the road far enough so that you’re not blocking traffic.

In the springtime months the area around Bear Creek is alive with wildflowers of all kinds including Tidy Tips, Pineapple Weed, Indian Clover, Owl Clover, Silver Puffs, Pepper Weed, Goldfields, Ithurial Spears, Yellow Sweetclover, several different species of Indian Paintbrush, vetch, lupine, Fiddleneck, Rock Lettuce, Yarrow, Larkspur, Wallflowers, Giant Death Camas, California Poppies, Popcorn Flowers, Cream Cups, Bird’s Eye Gilia, Chinese Houses, and many many others.

 

Availability

  • Fitness: easy
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Additional Resources