Thanks to El Niño, Death Valley National Park is currently experiencing a so-called “super bloom” — a phenomenon in which vast spaces are covered in wildflowers.

Screenshot 2016-03-07 22.55.44Super blooms only happen “once a decade or so,” according to park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg. They’re the result of above-average rain, which this time around fell last fall and primed the seeds to bloom all at once in the spring.

“These areas that are normally just rock, just soil, just barren, not even shrubs, they’re filled with life,” Van Valkenburg said. “So Death Valley really does go from being a valley of death to being a valley of life. But that’s so brief.”

Screenshot 2016-03-07 22.55.55Death Valley is the driest and hottest place in North America, so seeing it covered in wildflowers is indeed a rare treat. Time, however, is running out; the park service is already saying the flowers are moving north and to higher elevations, and notes that “many of the other flowers in this area are past their peak.”

Screenshot 2016-03-07 22.57.59There is also a handy wildflower update page with fairly regular updates and useful information on where to go.

In case you can’t make it, here is an excellent video of the super bloom:

The National Park Service also put together a video:

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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