Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is California's most consistent poppy-bearing land. Poppies are California's state flower and really an awesome spectacle. Poppy season in California runs from mid February to about mid May but varies from year to year. My first attempt to visit was early March. I was very disappointed to find no Poppies.My sweetie and I went to Ikea in L.A. for a bookshelf and on the way back took the scenic route home and stopped by the reserve, so although we didn't see any poppies it wasn't a wasted trip. My second attempt was in early April and before I left I checked they "current conditions" on the poppy reserve website. It isn't always up to the minute, but it looked promising so I headed that way. The reserve is fifteen miles west of Lancaster CA, (seems like in the middle of nowhere) and as you get closer to the reserve you start to see specs of orange in the fields. The closer you get, the more orange the fields become, until it is completely orange. The fields and foothills really do look like they are on fire. Technically you could just pull over to the side of the road and enjoy the poppies just by getting out of your car. I seen lots of people doing this. Where people were stopping wasn't technically park property but I tend to support the parks and preservation of the land, so I went to the park itself and paid the $8 entrance fee.
There are a lot of people at the reserve in early April. It took about 30min to make it through the park entrance. The reservation does have a visitors center with some history and origin stuff but it's mostly postcards and magnets. The park also as a trail system that takes you through the poppy fields and up around the foothills. The further you walk the less people you will see. It really is a neat place to visit and I was in shock at the volume of poppies and people visiting the reserve, yet it was easy to get away from the crowds. It was a bit windy that day, and for the most part it's a bit windy everyday in CA, but I did manage to get some cool shots.
I do recommend visiting, just make sure you check out the website beforehand to make sure you will actually see poppies when you go. I do ask to please support local, state, and national parks, it helps keep the land the way it is. California especially has had troubles and has cut funding to the state park system. We need to keep these parks open and support the natural beauty that we are lucky to have, and to keep it for future generations.