Noting where to view wildflower blooms in the desert southwest does help novices develop an eye for discovering these colorful places on their own. Venturing into the desert to find a colorful flush of wildflowers is not as easy as it may seem, because the extreme environmental conditions are not exactly conducive for wildflowers in the first place. In the arid conditions the flora tends to be spread out thin, but there are pockets in canyons and mountain dry washes where the vegetation can be lush if the winter rainfall was sufficient. Springtime desert wildflower blooms are usually fast and furious before the extreme heat of summer arrives, so the window of opportunity to view such an event is limited and those who hesitate will surely miss the big show!
The best combination of environmental factors for a good spring season desert wildflower bloom is warm temperatures after a wet winter. Unfortunately these ideal conditions do not occur every year. After a bone dry winter a desert wildflower viewing venture will require more effort to get some results and patience will certainly be a virtue. Knowing where to look is a real plus in dry conditions and the best bests are where seepage occurs in canyons or dry washes.
After an extremely dry winter, just about the only plants that will be flowering in clusters are cactus that were able to store water. The flowering plants that are more delicate will be less frequently seen, but a few scattered small flushes of well adapted plants can be discovered as well. Cactus do bloom well into summer even after a dry winter, so heading to a place where cactus are common is the best option after a very dry winter.
As can be seen in the photos. there certainly are desert wildflowers to be seen after a winter that produced very little rainfall. The wildflower photos were captured along the road to Virgin River Landing in Gold Butte National Monument, which is basically a Jeep trail that goes down a long mountain dry wash to the river. There are seepage areas in this long mountain dry wash and a few wildflower flushes are practically guaranteed to sprout up. Even better, a few species of barrel cactus and beavertail are scattered over the hills in this area, so seeing those vivid hot pink blooms is possible if the timing is right!
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