New on Modern Hiker: Wildflower Hikes in the Bay Area

California poppies, Sunol Regional Wilderness

Ahhhh, a breather! It’s been wildflower madness this past March and April, and I finally feel like I’m coming out on the other side. This past week, Casey over at Modern Hiker has been publishing my latest wildflower hikes. It’s incredibly gratifying after weeks of hard work, and I’m really happy to share them with you.

The trickiest part of writing about wildflowers is timing my research hikes for when wildflowers in a particular park are in bloom. I spend time calling up land managers, reading wildflower field guides, talking with volunteers and rangers, and generally asking questions to get a feel for wildflower season as a whole. I also learned a lot while hiking last year—missing bloom times sometimes by just weeks—and was able to take those lessons with me into this year.

Owl’ clover, Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

Although it felt like throwing darts at a moving target, this year I learned a few tricks for figuring out what’s blooming when. My latest post, Find Great Wildflower Hikes in the Bay Area, covers those hacks and more. Aside from listing wildflower hikes, I wanted to share resources for learning about when wildflowers bloom, identifying them, and diving deeper with naturalist-led hikes and classes. Hope you will like it!

Find Great Wildflower Hikes in the Bay Area

One of the best experiences I had this spring was attending a naturalist-led wildflower hike at Sunol Regional Wilderness. A big group of about 50 of us gathered outside the visitor center one Sunday in March, and a naturalist led us on a family-friendly hike around the park. A key takeaway for me was learning about a tiny booklet produced by the Sunol Docent Wildflower Committee that identifies 75 common wildflowers in the region. I purchased it immediately after our hike ($6 in the visitor center) and have been using it ever since. For more info about Sunol’s hikes and activities, take a look at the park’s activity calendar.

Paintbrush, Mount Diablo State Park

I also have to mention the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. This year, for the first time, they held “self-guided” access days at Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve, which lets folks just wander the preserve—currently closed to the public—at their own pace. At the trailhead, they provided free wildflower pamphlets that were an absolute a game-changer. I loved being able to identify the flowers as I hiked. While their wildflower hikes are wrapping up for this year, you can sign-up for their email newsletter to get notified about future guided wildflower hikes and self-guided access days.

So without further ado, here are five of my recently published wildflower hikes:

I’m also proud to share that as of this week, I’ve written over 25 hikes for Modern Hiker. It feels unreal and awesome to hit that number. You can see them here on Modern Hiker’s website. What’s next? Peaks, peaks, peaks before the hot summer season hits :)

Have a great weekend :)

// Inspiration //

I was inspired listening to this week’s SuperSoul Conversation podcast with Brené Brown. In her live 23-minute talk at UCLA, which you can watch here, Brené talks about how small moments can build trust, and shares an acronym she developed called “BRAVING” to illustrate seven parts of trust:

  • Boundaries (I trust you if you are clear about my boundaries and you respect them)

  • Reliability (I can only trust you if you say what you are going to do)

  • Accountability (I can only trust you if when you make a mistake, you are willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends. I can only trust you if when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize, and make amends.)

  • Vault (What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence.)

  • Integrity (Choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy, and practicing your values, not just professing your values.)

  • Non-judgement (I can fall apart, struggle, and ask for help without being judged by you. You can fall apart, struggle, and ask for help without being judged by me.)

  • Generosity (Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can only assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors, and then check in with me.)

Scarlet pimpernel, Sunol Regional Wilderness