Point Buchon poppy meadows

Point Buchon poppy meadows, California
Point Buchon poppy meadows / docentjoyce, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

Adelbert von Chamisso in 1817 noticed the beautiful California poppy and gave its scientific description and name – Eschscholzia californica Cham. The expedition did not go far inland – the flower was noticed and described near the sea at San Francisco. The sight of golden meadows from the ship had to be very impressive.

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GPS coordinates
35.25125 N 120.89392 W
Location, address
North America, United States, California, San Luis Obispo County, 145 km north-west from Santa Barbara, partly in Montana de Oro State Park, Point Buchon nature trails
Dominating species
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica Cham.)

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

One of the best seaside poppy meadows is located at Point Buchon. Often in spring this approximately 6 km long and up to 0.8 km wide stretch of the seaside plain is covered with millions of bright orange California poppies.

Meadows in the “shadow” of nuclear plant

Point Buchon poppy meadows, California
Point Buchon poppy meadows / Mike Baird, / CC BY 2.0

Diablo Canyon Power Plant is a nuclear power plant producing electricity for more than 2.2 million people. This plant is located at the sea in order to draw water for cooling. It was built in spite of powerful popular protests in the early 1980s.

There is a narrow and intermittent strip of meadows between the Pacific and Montana de Oro – former Rancho Cañada. A paved road leads to the power plant from the south and stops in the area of the plant. Of course, the nuclear power plant is guarded – thus the area north of the plant has few buildings, mostly unpaved roads, and a fence.

Golden flowers and waves of Pacific

Point Buchon poppy meadows, California
Point Buchon poppy meadows / docentjoyce, / CC BY 2.0

In 2007 – 2008 it was decided that the northern access to Diablo Canyon Power Plant – Point Buchon Trail – can be opened to the public. In fact “Pacific Gas and Electric Co.” had to arrange and open this trail in exchange for the permit to build a storage facility for highly radioactive used fuel.

The trail leads from the southern border of Montana de Oro State to Crowbar Canyon north of the power plant. Access is limited – there can enter 275 hikers per day.

Meadows here are beautiful throughout the year but the flowering of poppies makes them very special in late February – April. The first spring on the newly opened trail granted an unforgettable experience. Hillsides were covered with lots of poppies and photographers were busy snatching the sight of the rough sea through the golden flowers.

Meadows here are not exactly natural – the land was used for growing crops until the late 1940s. Afterward, meadows were grazed, since 1986 land is owned by”Pacific Gas and Electric Co.” and is managed by grazing.


  1. New Point Buchon Trail opens to public, SanLuisObispo.com The Tribune.
Point Buchon poppy meadows are included in the following list:
Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields
Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields

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Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields

California poppy meadows belong to the most impressive wildflower displays in the world. Their unusually clear and brilliant color seems to come from another, better reality. This flower has created a passion that is rare elsewhere in the world. Many Californians are obsessed with “wildflower hunting” – search of beautiful meadows, photographing, and just pure enjoyment of beauty.

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge / David Ohmer, / CC BY 2.0

Wonders of California

Although California is one of the states in the United States of America, Americans often compare it to a separate country, e.g. “if California would be a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world”. We can go on with this comparison – California has more landmarks and attractions than many large countries of the world.

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WorldYellow Recommended books

Exploring Montana de Oro State Park and Point Buchon

Explore the extensive trail network on California’s scenic Central Coast. The paths within Montana de Oro State Park and Point Buchon are sure to provide many adventures for hikers, cyclists, equestrians, and others to explore.

Day Hikes Around San Luis Obispo: 156 Great Hikes

Winner of the Best Guidebook Award from Outdoor Writers Association of California! San Luis Obispo County is located where the white sand beaches of Central California merge with the dramatic Big Sur coastline. Ranging inland from the Pacific Ocean are oak-studded hills, verdant farmland, pristine mountain lakes, and the 5,000-foot Santa Lucia Range of the Los Padres National Forest.

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