Springtime is the desert wildflower season and the blooms will be booming if there was heavy amounts of rainfall during the previous winter. On the flip-side, the desert spring season blooms can barely be noticed after a winter of severe drought conditions. All it takes is water to make the magic happen and the window of opportunity does not last long, so a desert wildflower viewer must be able to venture out into the wide open spaces on short notice!
One of the best places to see desert wildflower blooms near Las Vegas is the Desert National Wildlife Range. This vast desert wilderness area has a mountainous terrain, so there are many microclimates to be found in the various elevations. The mountainsides are where the most prolific wildflower blooms can be found and the views from the high vantage points are definitely what pleasant dreams are made of!
There are two main roads that run through the Desert National Wildlife Range and Alamo Road is the better choice for spring season wildflower viewing, especially when seeking a wide variety of colors. Alamo Road runs from the Corn Creek Visitor Center to Alamo, Nevada, which is more than 75 miles of dirt road driving. Along Alamo Road most of the side roads head uphill into the mountains. A wide variety of low elevation cactus blooms can be seen along the 16 mile stretch of Alamo Road on the way to the intersection of Hidden Forest Road. By heading uphill on Hidden Forest Road, a unique high elevation Joshua Tree forest can be found and a sea of orange Mallow Globe flowers covers the slopes!
Alamo Road is a maintained dirt road that is fairly smooth, but the same cannot be said for some of the side roads that branch off of this long travel route. The Hidden Forest Road is a bumpy steep dirt road that goes way uphill, so a high ground clearance vehicle is best for this trip. This wilderness area covers a vast expanse, so precautions must be taken. Carrying a two day supply of food and water in case of a breakdown is a good idea, because a rescue will not likely happen in short order.
Packing a good camera is the best way to bring the desert wildflower memories home and packing a telephoto lens will present better opportunities to photograph the Bighorn Sheep that roam throughout the Desert National Wildlife Range. There literally is no better place for a day trip picnic than the Hidden Forest, especially if you like viewing a sea of bright orange Mallow Globe flowers!
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