Where to See Wildflowers

Spring in San Simeon brings warmer temperatures and dissipating rains, which means it’s time for wildflowers! Wildflower blooms throughout California make national news because of the stunning array of colors and the huge expanses covered in blooms. The last few years have brought ample winter rains and the wildflower blooms have definitely benefited. Here are some of the best spots around San Simeon to experience California wildflowers.

It's impossible to visit San Simeon without encountering the Hearst name, even beyond the famous Hearst Castle. And while the Castle provides wildflower viewing from a towering distance, the fields of Hearst Ranch experience ample blooms. Hearst Ranch stretches along Highway 1 north of Cambria and it’s where the infamous Hearst zebras can be seen grazing alongside their cattle brethren. In addition to the ubiquitous orange poppies, goldfields and lupines are common blooms in this area.

North of Hearst Castle, fields stretching on the east side of Highway 1 towards Ragged Point are the best spots to view wildflowers. While they’re not as likely to be blanketing entire fields, the clusters of bright colors provide beautiful dapples in the verdant greenery of spring.

Piedras Blancas Light Station is a beautiful spot for wildflower viewing. This historic lighthouse is fascinating enough on its own, but the wildflower blooms bring the entire surrounding around to life. Take a tour of the area and allow time to linger along the marked trails to experience the stretches of yellow, white, pink, and purple flowers along the cliffs.

Elephant Seals San Simeon

South of Hearst Castle, the charming village of Cambria experiences plenty of wildflower blooms all over town. Take a hike amongst the flowers at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, a free park with well-marked and maintained trails stretching from the forest out to the ocean. The views from Fiscalini are stunning, with huge swathes of yellow and orange throughout wildflower season. For more up-close viewing, the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach is bracketed by wildflowers throughout spring, providing loads of gorgeous photo-ops along the famous beach.

Route 46 between Cambria and Paso Robles is another great area to explore for wildflower blooms. The dramatic sweeps of hillside down to oceanside cliffs experience extensive blooms throughout spring, with stripes of yellow, orange, and purple. Keep an eye out for Morro Bay vistas to pull over and soak in the colorful views with Morro Rock looming in the background.

South of Cambria along Highway 1 are two perfect hiking spots for wildflower viewing: Harmony Headlands and Estero Bluffs. Harmony Headlands is on the westside of Highway 1 just south of the teeny town of Harmony and it has a relatively short trail (about 2 miles) through a ranch valley leading out to the ocean. The hillsides explode in wildflower colors in the spring, and the dramatic ocean views provide plenty of color as well. Heading further south just before the town of Cayucos, Estero Bluffs is another great spot. The ranchland across the highway has ample wildflower blooms, and they’re dappled in among the trails of Estero Bluffs as well.