Explore some of our favorite local spots to view plants.

Stanislaus County

Knights Ferry Recreation Area

Knights Ferry Recreation Area is mixed riparian/grassland habitat located along the Stanislaus river. The wildflower bloom lasts from February till June, with peak blooms in April.

There are two large parking lots on both sides of the river, but keep in mind they charge a $10 parking fee (they also accept “America the Beautiful” cards). Choose your parking carefully depending on what side of the river you would like to hike. The covered bridge is currently closed for construction. There are bathrooms in the parking lots and a pit toilet on the top of the hill on the main trail.

Check out the iNaturalist finds here!

Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni)

Siliver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons)

Del Puerto Canyon

Del Puerto Canyon is one of Stanislaus counties greatest treasures. As you drive through the winding canyon road you will be in awe of the beautiful landscape. The canyon is said to be window into the earths mantle, from the way it is eroded. Read more about this here, in this article by MJC Geology professor Garry Hayes. Throughout the canyon are signs of the indigenous Yokuts who once lived there. The canyon is also home to a wide diversity of wildlife! Including many different rare and endangered species!

Check out the iNaturalist Observations here!

This canyon is currently under threat from developers who want to convert it into a dam.  We invite you to explore the conservation group, Save Del Puerto Canyon fighting to protect our beloved canyon. Del Puerto Canyon is an amazing resource to the local community, students, cyclists and naturalists of many different specialities. The opportunities for wildlife exploration and research are endless throughout the canyon. Botanists have identified many rare plant species growing in the canyon.

Fairy Fans (Clarkia breweri)

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

Lindley’s Blazing Star (Mentzelia lindleyi)

Merced County

Kesterson Vernal Pools

Kesterson Vernal pools are located off of HWY 140 in Gustine, CA.

UC Merced Vernal Pool Reserve

Merced Vernal Pools & Grassland Reserve is a great place to view vernal pool wildflowers and learn more about their ecology! The reserve offers spring docent led tours.