Discover the Best Wildflower Hikes Near San Francisco

Matt Dolkas - MALT

By Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager, Marketing

March 15, 2024

There are so many great wildflower hikes near San Francisco, sometimes it’s hard to know how to choose. It’s one of the best parts about living in the city, there are open spaces to explore in seemingly every direction. But knowing which direction to head and when to visit to experience the best of the spring wildflowers can be challenging—we’re here to help. 

This year is shaping up to be particularly good for viewing wildflowers, especially if it continues to rain into the spring. But with the ground still saturated from this year’s strong winter rains, it’s looking to be like another great year for spring flowers. Now is the time to start mapping out your next wildflower hike as late March into early April is when the bloom is going to be peaking. 

So, get your boots on and get ready for some epic wildflower viewing. Here’s where we recommend visiting this year to see the best of the spring wildflower if you live in San Francisco—happy trails:

Head North to Marin County

I might be biased, but in my opinion, the best wildflower hikes near San Francisco are in Marin County. With one of the highest concentrations of open spaces in the entire Bay Area, there is an overwhelming amount of trails to explore and arguably some of the best wildflower destination in the entire Golden State—you can find my favorite wildflower destination in Marin here.

But if I had to pick an absolute favorite spot, Ring Mountain near Tiburon would be my go-to. The upper portions of this Marin County Preserve are home to serpentine soils which boost some of the region’s most vibrant displays of native flowers, including the Tiburon mariposa lily which is found nowhere else on the planet. The bloom here typically starts at toward the end of March—so, it’s time to start planning your next trip!

Discover More Wildflowers

Download MALT’s Wildflower Guide

Way Way North to Sonoma County

Helen Putnam Regional Park is, as many local folks would agree, one of the best places to see the spring wildflowers in Sonoma County. With miles of trails meandering through oak woodland and grassy hills, it’s an idyllic backdrop for a spring wildflower adventure.

The Ridge Trail is my family’s favorite, which offers extensive views of the surrounding agricultural land, much of which has been protected by MALT. From colorful lupines to delicate California poppies, the park’s meadows burst with a kaleidoscope of colors—a paradise for wildflower and nature enthusiasts.

Our friends at the Sonoma Land Trust have also organized a handy guide to some of their favorite flowers within their working area. So, for the best local tips and hiking destination, be sure to download their wildflower guide.

South to the Heart of the Peninsula

Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve is probably one of the closest wildflower destination from San Francisco. It too boasts an abundances of flower-rich serpentine soils and, this time of year, is erupting with showy displays—maybe the most dramatic wildflower spectacle on the Peninsula.

Easily accessible form Interstate 280, this preserve’s parking areas can get busy on the weekends, especially during the spring bloom. I recommend getting here earlier in the day, if possible. All of the trails offer terrific views, but the Serpentine Trail is a great option to tour most of the preserve and get into the heart of the flower fields.

But don’t stop there, the folks at the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) offer more great wildflower walking destinations on the Peninsula—even more to explore south of the city!

LOOK, DON’T TOUCH

We encourage you to view wildflowers in Marin County responsibly and you can do so by following a few simple guidelines.

1. Never pick wildflowers. Please leave them in place.

2. Do not illegally dig up wildflowers to transplant to your garden.

3. Watch your step — please don’t trample or crush wildflowers or other habitat areas.

3. Do not enter private property to view wildflowers.

4. Be aware of sensitive, overused areas and stay on trails and roads during hikes.

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