Bishop Field Office

Wildflower Update – June 2013

June 3, 2013

After a somewhat disappointing spring for wildflowers in Mojave Desert portions of the northern Owens Valley, things are looking pretty good for the eastern Sierra slopes and southern Great Basin in Mono County.
I went for a hike up McGee Creek near Crowley Lake this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised with the displays of color. Some of the common plants flowering include; bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), mule ears (Wyethia mollis), hawksbeard (Crepis species), milk-vetch species (Astragalus whitneyi was most noticeable), paintbrush species (Castilleja chromosa and others), buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) and phlox (Phlox stansburyi). Most of these can be easily seen within a half mile of the trailhead but the ~1+ walk to see the impressive stand of mule ears and arrow-leaved balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is worth the walk!

I would assume that other places along the eastern slopes of the Sierra at similar elevations also have good blooms. I always recommend the South Fork of Big Pine Creek for early summer wildflower viewing.

Farther north, the Bodie Hills offers an alternative to the Sierra for wildflower viewing. Many of the areas that are dominated by low sagebrush are carpeted with yellow flowered buckwheats and white flowered phlox along with several other blooming species.

To see what is blooming in other areas of California visit the Theodore Payne Foundations Wildflower Hotline


General Wildflower viewing information for the Eastern Sierra 

Peak blooming periods for wildflowers in the Eastern Sierra and surrounding Deserts.
(PDF 201KB)

Alabama Hills in bloom, golden llinanthus in bloomThe Volcanic tablelands (PDF 101KB) can radiate swathes of yellow and fuschia from the venus blazing star and purple mat. Learn more about the many recreation opportunities and the cultural significance of the area. The Alabama Hills (PDF 85KB) are host to fragrant fields of evening snow interspersed by scarlet locoweed and golden linanthus. Learn more about the history of the Alabama Hills.


Along the drainages and in recently burned areas entire hillsides can be covered in blue swathes of the Inyo bush lupine which has a distinctive grape soda smell. The spring bloom can extend on a good year, from early April through the beginning of June at the lower elevations, and then start again at the 7,000 ft. level in the sagebrush communities of Mono County, where the alkali shooting star, and rare alkali ivesia begin to bloom in early to mid June. See listing of wildflowers in the Bodie Hills area, north of Mono Lake (PDF 101KB).

For more information on where to see wildflowers and what's blooming, contact the BLM Bishop Field Office botanist at (760) 872-5035.