Bear Valley wildflower meadows, Colusa County

Poppies in Bear Valley, Colusa
Poppies in Bear Valley, Colusa / Wikimedia Commons, user Agunther CC BY 3.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 39.11129 N 122.42841 W
No:25        (list of all attractions)
Address:North America, United States, California, Colusa County, 100 km north-west from Sacramento, 25 km north-east from Clearlake, in the Bear Valley east of Indian Valley Reservoir
Area:14,946 acres = 6,056 ha
Dominating species:California poppy ((Eschscholzia californica Cham.), creamcup (Platystemon californicus Benth.), adobe lily (Fritillaria pluriflora Torr. ex Benth.) and many others

Although Bear Valley wildflower meadows in Colusa County are comparatively little known, these meadows belong to the most impressive arid grasslands of California. In fact regarding the area and impresiveness of floral display only Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and Carrizo Plain can compete with it.

Remnant of the grandeur of the past

Ancient ecosystems of California have seen much change over the last 100 - 150 years. Fertile valleys have lured in many millions of people and nobody else is as efficient in altering the landscape as modern humans are. In the middle of the 19th century the vast, desolate valleys of California still were living their natural life without much interference from people. Nowadays little remains of the original landscape. Cattle, fences, irrigation, arable land and finally - endless urban sprawl have changed the valleys beyond recognition.

Happily there are places which still are in a more or less pristine state. Bear Valley in Colusa County is one of such places. Land in a part of this valley (14,964 acres = 6,056 ha) is owned by American Land Conservancy and it is preserved to show how looked California's intercoastal valleys and ranges before the arrival of Western civilisation.

Endless fields of flowers

For most part of the year the valley represents a desert-like, somewhat grey landscape. But, if the weather conditions during the winter have been suitable, in late February - March it changes beyond recognition.

Plains and hillsides are covered with brilliant colors. California poppy, creamcup, owl's clover and even the rare adobe lily create sight of rare beauty. The otherwise desolate open landscape now becomes a merit - it lets to sense the grandeur of nature and opens sight to millions of fragile flowers. If you are lucky, you manage to see all this incomprehensible wealth. If not, few weeks later there is not much to see anymore - natural processes have wiped away all flowers to nothingness.


See Bear Valley wildflower meadows, Colusa County on the map of United States!

Bear Valley wildflower meadows are included in the following list:

Map of California poppies

Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields


  1. Plant List, Bear Valley, Walker Ridge & Surrounding Areas, California Native Plant Society, accessed on February 27, 2010

Recommended books

Colusa County; Its History Traced from a State of Nature Through the Early Period of Settlement and Development to the Present Day with a Description

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1891 edition.

A Natural History of California (California Natural History Guides)

In this comprehensive and abundantly illustrated book, Allan Schoenherr describes a state with a greater range of landforms, a greater variety of habitats, and more kinds of plants and animals than any area of equivalent size in all of North America.

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