Activities

Plant & Wildflower Viewing



Plant & Wildflower Viewing

Categories: Sightseeing

Location: Furnace Creek Area, Panamint Springs Area, Scotty's Castle Area, Stovepipe Wells Area

Season: Spring, Winter

Intensity: 2

Duration: 1 - 5 hours

Directions:
  For Jubilee Pass, go east on Highway 190 for 1 mile, make a right at the Badwater road and follow it for 53 miles. Beatty Cutoff Road is 11 miles north of the Ranch at Furnace Creek on Highway 190; turn right at the sign.  Continue 16 miles to Daylight pass. To get to Greenwater Road (graded dirt, okay for passenger cars),  go east on Highway 190 for 10 miles and then make a right at the Dante’s View turnoff sign.  Go for another 7 miles and make a left at the Greenwater Road sign. Access to the Panamint Mountains begin 60 miles west of Furnace Creek.  Follow Highway 190 north for 24 miles to Stovepipe Wells then go 9 miles past Stovepipe Wells.  Make a left on Emigrant Canyon Road and go for 21 miles to the beginning of Wildrose Canyon.  Make a left and continue on that road for 9 miles to the end; trailhead to Telescope Peak (last 3 miles are rough dirt road).   To get to Titus Canyon, drive west on Highway 190 for 11 miles and make a right at the Beatty Cutoff Road.  Follow the road for 23 miles until you get to the Titus Canyon Road (dirt road – high clearance recommended) turnoff.  Make a left and enjoy a leisurely 23 mile drive to the end.  

Plant & Wildflower Viewing


Season: Spring, Winter, Intensity: 2, Duration: 1 - 5 hours, Location: Furnace Creek Area, Panamint Springs Area, Scotty's Castle Area, Stovepipe Wells Area

Description

By far, the most unique are the “showy” plants known as desert annuals also referred to as ephemerals (short-lived).  Of course, they are simply known as “wildflowers” to most and range in color from white and yellow to purple, blue, red and bright magenta; quite a shocking contrast from the desert floor.  A common question, “when can we see the wildflowers”? is always tricky.  A good wildflower year depends on at least three things: well-spaced rainfall throughout the winter and early spring, sufficient warmth from the sun and lack of desiccating winds.  Rain is key.  The best time to see a spring floral display is in years when rainfall has been plentiful and evenly-spaced throughout the winter and into the spring. Check the DVNHA (see below) and Furnace Creek Resort websites for wildflower updates beginning in February.   

Where to look for wildflowers

Mid February to Mid April at lower elevations (valley floor and alluvial fans)

  • Best Areas: Jubilee Pass, Highway 190 near the Furnace Creek Inn, Beatty Cutoff Road, Daylight Pass, Greenwater Road
  • Dominant species: desert star, blazing star, desert gold, mimulus, encelia, poppies, verbena, evening primrose, phacelia, and various species of cacti (usually above the valley floor).

Early April to Early May at 2,000 to 4,000 ft. elevations

  • Best areas: Titus Canyon, Panamint Mountains
  • Dominant species: paintbrush, Mojave desert rue, lupine, Joshua tree, bear poppy, cacti and Panamint daisies.

Late April to Early June above 4,000 ft. elevations

  • Best areas: High Panamints
  • Dominant species: Mojave wildrose, rabbitbrush, Panamint daisies, mariposa lilies and lupine 

History

The last “bloom of the century” was in 2005.  That was also said in 1998 so don’t be discouraged.  

Season

Year-round for desert plants.  Peak season for wildflowers is mid-February to early June. 

Suggested Equipment

Camera, desert plant and wildflower guides 

Related Resources 

Insider Tips

  • Although flora grows along the roadside, GET OUT OF YOUR CAR to see the greatest diversity of desert plants and wildflowers.  Your pictures will probably come out better too.  Beware of touching Phacelias ( purple flowers) which can cause a skin rash similar to poison oak or poison ivy.  Please do not pick the wildflowers so all may enjoy. 
  • Water: During the heat of the summer, drink at least one gallon (4 liters) of water per day to replace loss from perspiration. Carry plenty of extra drinking water in your car.
  • Heat & Dehydration: If you feel dizzy, nauseous or have a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink plenty of water. Dampen clothing to lower your body temperature.
  • Hiking: Do not hike in the low elevations when temperatures are hot. The mountains are cooler in summer, but can have snow and ice in winter.
  • Summer Driving: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Be prepared; carry plenty of extra water.
  • Flash Floods: Avoid canyons during rain storms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running in washes and across road dips.
  • Cell Phones: Cell phones do not work in most parts of the park, do not depend on them.
  • Dangerous Animals: Never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions or black widow spiders may be sheltered there.

Related Information

Plant & Wildflower Viewing


Packages

Since you are coming to Death Valley National Park to enjoy this activity, please take advantage of our Lodging Promotions.