Red Rock Canyon’s spring wildflower season occurs from early March to late May, with April being the typical time for peak blooms. We’ll update this post weekly throughout the spring to share what Naturalists are seeing and where they can be found. Please keep in mind that you should take only photos of plants in Red Rock Canyon, leaving the flowers and plants for others to enjoy.

Many of the species highlighted here can be found in the Wildflowers of Red Rock Canyon NCA brochure for purchase in the Gift Shop.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 28, 2020

The cool, wet, and cloudy weather this month at Red Rock Canyon didn’t lend itself well for an explosion of wildflower blooms. However, meteorologists are expecting a drastic increase in temperatures and sunshine as we head into April; that should trigger more flowers! Current wildflower highlights include:

  • Freckled milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus) has been found widely throughout the area.
  • Desert paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia) continues to provide a wonderful splashes of red all over Red Rock Canyon.
  • Pretty shooting star (Dodecatheon pulchellum) can be found near seeps in Calico Basin, adding touches of pink to the area

Pretty shooting star

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 21, 2020

We are continuing to see a lot of green grass & plant growth within the area, but the wildflowers continue to be limited (especially compared to somewhere like Lake Mead National Recreation Area or Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area). Good spots to look for wildflowers include Calico Basin, Ash Spring, First Creek, Oak Creek, and Pine Creek. New highlights include:

  • Desert almond (Prunus fasciculata) has been spotted in bloom along the Scenic Drive, in addition to hosting western tent caterpillar nests.
  • Woolly bluestar/amsonia (Amsonia tomentosa) was found in bloom along within Ash Spring, First Creek, and Oak Creek.
  • Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata) with its small yellow flowers and bristly hairs can be found along the Moenkopi Loop and First Creek.

Wolly bluestar/amsonia

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 14, 2020

We are seeing a lot of green plant growth but not much in bloom yet, especially compared to lower elevations within the Mojave Desert. Look for “belly flowers” (small flowers low to the ground) and some shrubs/trees with flowers. Calico Basin and the lower portions of Oak Creek, First Creek, and Pine Creek are good spots to search for flowers. Highlights include:

  • Desert paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia) has been found in bloom in Calico Basin and along the Calico Hills.
  • Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) can be found throughout Red Rock Canyon, giving the desert carpet sparkles of pink.
  • Wild rhubarb (Rumex hymenosepalus) is putting on a show in sandy areas such as Calico Basin, Willow Spring, and Pine Creek.
  • Pointleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens) shrubs now feature small pink-to-white bell-shaped blooms; look for them around Sandstone Quarry, Willow Spring, Pine Creek, and Oak Creek.
  • Silk tassel (Garrya flavescens) now have tapered gray-green inflorescences hanging throughout the shrub and can be found along the Calico Hills, Sandstone Quarry, Willow Spring, and First Creek.

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