Day trip: Upper Newport Bay

Stop and smell the wildflowers in Newport's hidden outdoor oasis

3 more spots to stop and smell the wildflowers


Near Santa Barbara: Figueroa Mountain, a half-hour north of Los Olivos, is in full bloom. Park in a turnout along paved Figueroa Mountain Road for hills blanketed with purple lupines and orange poppies.

Along the 2-mile (each way) Ballard Trail, spot chocolate lilies, lupines, milkmaids, and shooting stars. $5 day pass; (pass info) or 805/925-9538 ext. 246 (flower report).

Near Big Bear: At the Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve in the San Bernardino National Forest, walk the 1-mile interpretive loop through hot pink checkerblooms, light blue irises, light purple rockcress, and yellow violets, with views of Bear Valley, Bear Mountain, and Gold Mountain. Free; 909/866-3437.

In Orange County: Bouncing back from a 2007 fire, Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Trabuco Canyon should get a bumper crop of “fire followers” like Indian pink, blue-eyed grass, wild cucumber, ground pink, and mariposa lily off the 0.5-mile (one way) Billy Goat Trail.

Bonus: stunning rock formations along Red Rock Trail. $3 parking; 949/923-2245.

More: Great spring getaways


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