Where to See the Spring Wildflowers in Marin County

Matt Dolkas - MALT

By Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager, Marketing

February 25, 2024

It’s that time of year again — wildflowers in Marin County are beginning to bloom and there’s no better time to experience the beauty of our region’s open spaces. Replenished from the winter rains and warmth of the coming spring, our landscape is awakening as life works to make the most of the season’s abundance.

Part of what makes this landscape so ideal for seeing the spring wildflower bloom is the huge range of habitat types across the county. Each bend and twist across this landscape offers a unique microclimate for a host of native flowering plants and the cornucopia of life they support.

From oak woodlands, expansive grasslands, to deep redwood-lined canyons, each area has a unique set of flowers to experience the bloom at various times throughout the season. From late February to early June, there are places here to experience the peak of the spring flowers; you just need to know where to look and, friends, we’ve got you covered.

We’re fortunate that so much of Marin County has been protected from the threat of development (thanks, in part, to our work here at MALT) and there is ample opportunity to step outside and experience our world-class open spaces. So, what are you waiting for?

Here are a few of my favorite places to visit to see the wildflowers in Marin County this time of year. And before you go, be sure to download our Wildflower Guide for plant lists and more great local tips for seeing the spring flowers.  

Get your boots on, it’s time to get out there!

Sunset from the Bolinas Ridge - one of the best places to see the spring wildflowers in Marin County.

Bolinas Ridge

This is a popular hiking and biking area that is well-known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and its wildflower-covered hillsides. The trail passes through a range of habitat where you can find an abundance of wildflowers, such as blue-eyed grass, sticky monkey flowers, and Douglas iris.

The trail is 11 miles one way but you can make your hike shorter by turning around whenever you’re ready. Our family likes to start from the northern trailhead and walk south; it’s a gentle section that’s good for our stroller and young kids.

When to visit: Late March through April

Where to park: Find directions to the southern trailhead and for the northern trailhead

Dog-friendly: Yes! Please keep them on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times

More information: From the National Park Service website

Discover More Wildflowers

Download Our Wildflower Guide

Chimney Rock

At one of the western-most promontories of Point Reyes National Seashore, this is one of the more dramatic landscapes to experience the spring bloom. This location also offers the chance to see northern elephant seals in their haul outs as well as migrating whales headed north from their birthing grounds in the warm waters of Mexico.

The weather at this location can be quite dramatic so be sure to check the forecast ahead of time and bring lots of layers. On your way, stop for picnic supplies at Inverness Park Market, some of the best sandwiches, in my opinion, this side of the Mississippi.

When to visit: Late March to May

Where to park: View on Google Maps

Dog-friendly: Nope, sorry

More information: From the National Park Service website

China Camp State Park

The 1,640 acres within this state park are easily accessible from the urban areas of the eastern parts of the county. There is a rich history here, including a 19th century Chinese fishing village, the park’s namesake, established in 1868 — it’s a must see. Come for the local history, stay for the spring flowers.

From the main visitor’s center, there are many trails winding through the entirety of the park. The Shoreline Trail is among the most popular and a section is also ADA-accessible. Being so close to Highway 101, this is our family’s go-to spot when we’re looking for just a half day adventure.

When to visit: Late March to mid-April

Where to park: View directions on Google Maps to the main visitor’s center

Dog-friendly: Yes, but only in the developed areas and they need to stay leashed

More information: From the California State Parks website

View from Mount Tamalpais State Park to the Pacific Ocean - a great place to see the wildflowers in Marin County.

Mount Tamalpais State Park

With the varied topography and soils, this park is home to a wide variety of wildflowers, including lupines, California poppies, goldfields, and many more. More than 750 plant species can be found in the park’s open grassland, chaparral, oak-covered knolls, dense stands of Douglas-fir and deep, fern-and redwood-filled canyons.

The Matt Davis and Bolinas Ridge trails offer a wide range of habitats to explore, providing a range of wildflowers to discover. It’s a steep landscape, so be prepared for a challenging hike amid breathtaking scenery.

When to visit: Late March to mid-April

Where to park: View directions on Google Maps to the Matt Davis trailhead parking area

Dog-friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed only on paved roads in developed areas

More information: From the California State Parks website

Ring Mountain 

This Marin County Preserve has an exceptional biological diversity, including the Tiburon mariposa lily that is found nowhere else on the planet. The higher portions of the preserve are home to serpentine soils which boost some of the region’s most vibrant displays of native wildflowers.

The 1.76 mile Phyllis Ellman Loop Trail winds through the preserve’s oak woodlands and expansive grasslands. The 360-degree views of the surrounding urban areas make this a unique natural experience amid the heart of the Bay Area.

When to visit: March to May (the endemic Tiburon mariposa lily typically blooms in May)

Where to park: View on Google Maps for directions to Phyllis Ellman Trailhead parking

Dog-friendly: Yes! Dogs must be on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times

More information: Visit the Marin County Parks website for more information about this location

Tomales Point Trail 

The Tomales Point Trail is a 9.4-mile hike that leads visitors through the Tule Elk Reserve and along the northern most point of the protected National Seashore. With sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean, Tomales Bay, and east to the protected agricultural landscape of West Marin, it is one of the most profound places locally to see the spring flowers.

A visit to this part of the National Seashore also offers the chance to learn about the area’s rich history of farming and ranching. Be sure to save time at the trailhead for an exploration of the buildings around the historic Pierce Point Ranch. And note that it can get quite windy and cold when the wind starts to blow here so be sure to check the forecast and bring lots of layers.

When to visit: Late March to early June

Where to park: View on Google Maps for directions to Tomales Point trailhead parking

Dog-friendly: Nope, dogs are prohibited within the Tule Elk Reserve

More information: View the National Park Service website

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.

Discover More

Download our Wildflower Guide

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