Because of the late, cool spring rains, the wildflowers in the Sierra Nevada may be in bountiful bloom in a few weeks. The warm weather that is expected this week will start them on their way. Actually, we’ve seen blue lupine, white prickly poppies, pink, red and light purple penstemon, and California poppies along the road already.
Some of our favorite wildflower books for the high desert are Sierra Nevada Wildflowers by Karen Wiese and Great Basin Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon and Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra and Adjoining Mojave Desert and Great Basin both by Laird R. Blackwell. Laird Blackwell also has Tahoe Wildflowers: A Month-by-Month Guide to Wildflowers in the Tahoe Basin and Surrounding Areas for the Lake Tahoe area.
Our mode of operation on our car trips, mainly on Highway 395, between LA and Reno is for me to give the high sign that I want us to pull off to the side of the road so I can pull out the books and camera to identify and record the latest splash of color along the road. According to the books, Horseshoe Meadow and Onion Valley are showy places. Also off of Highway 88 on Blue Lakes Road is another super spot. The mountainsides along 395 on the other side of the road from the Walker River splash with color. Carson Pass is another good place to find different wildflowers.