More than 2,000 species of native and naturalized plants grow wild in the San Francisco Bay Area with over 140 native plants  right in the East Bay hills.  The historical rainfall we experienced this winter promised an epic bloom around the region and it is unfolding all around the area!  If you can get out to the regional parks and even to a few wildflower based events, you will be delighted with the gift Mother Nature has brought this year for those who love flowers! You can even see colorful displays right in town (in fact, we captured a front yard a few blocks from our Berkeley Hills office that show the riot of color!)

Below are some of the best places in the East Bay to view the “bloom” this year. Yelp has some excellent advice about specific trails to go on and most of these parks also have naturalists on staff to point out the best displays and where to find them when you go. For photographers and hikers, the next few months will be Nirvana!

California Flowers

Sonoma Ave., Berkeley (Photo by Alexandra Crisafulli)

Wildcat Regional Park

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Large coast live oaks, bay laurels, and a scattering of bigleaf maples and madrones grow on the park’s east-facing slopes. North-facing hillsides support some beautiful, nearly pure stands of bay laurel, fringed with coast live oak.The west- and south-facing canyon slopes are covered with introduced annual grasses (oat, rye, barley, etc.). A few stands of native bunch grasses persist. There are many native wildflower species.


Briones Regional Park

Briones’ 6,255 acres are home to many animals and birds, which forage on the grasslands or find shelter among the oaks and bays. There are gorgeous wildflower displays in season. You may see black-tailed deer, coyotes, squirrels, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, and, if you are lucky, other more reclusive creatures. Park District naturalists often lead walks to view the park’s natural and historic features.

Tilden Regional Park

Nestled between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge, Tilden Park is rife with wildflowers and offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay.

Right now, you can hike and wander through the open spaces of the park and see golden California poppies, vibrant purple lupine and dozens of wild flowers in bloom. To learn more about the wildflowers and plants you are viewing, review this Wild Flower Guide To Tilden Park.


Poppies (Photo by Tracy Sichterman)

Botanic Garden

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If you don’t have the time, inclination or stamina to hike to see spring flowers, you can visit the Botanic Garden situated in Tilden Regional Park’s beautiful Wildcat Canyon in the heart of the north Berkeley Hills. The Botanic Garden is devoted to the collection, growth, display, and preservation of the native plants of California. In one afternoon you can visit the floral communities of the entire state with a variety of plants from seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and two kinds of desert.

The Botanical Garden is open daily:

October – May

8:30am – 5pm

June – September

8:30am – 5:30pm

Note: West Gate closes at 4:30pm

The Annual Botanic Garden plant sale is Saturday April 29th.

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Photo from UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Ohlone Regional Wilderness

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This magnificent 9,737-acre parkland, accessible only by way of the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, includes a landscape of oak and bay woodlands, grassy uplands carpeted with springtime wildflowers, and wilderness ridges and peaks. Its centerpiece is 3,817-foot Rose Peak, just 32 feet lower than Mount Diablo..Surrounding Rose Peak are grassy ridges, profusely flowered in season.

Staging areas and vehicle parking lots that give access to the Ohlone Wilderness are located at Del Valle Regional Park outside Livermore, Sunol Regional Wilderness near Pleasanton, and Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont


Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve


Huckleberry is considered one of the gems of the East Bay Park system.  The botanic preserve covers 235 acres with a vast array of native plants, many of them rare to the East Bay. Sibley, one of the first parks established by the East Bay Regional Park District, features volcanic lava flow from 10 million years ago. Both offer a show of blossoming plants. It’s mostly covered by an oak and California Bay canopy with lush ferns and wildflowers that hug the trail.


For more information about where to see wildflowers, contact:

— East Bay Regional Parks District headquarters. (510) 635-0135.

— Tilden Botanic Garden, Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive. Plant sale takes place Saturday April 39, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., (510) 841-8732.

— Sunol Visitor Center. end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road. (925) 862- 2601.

— Black Diamond Mines. 5175 Somersville Road, Antioch. Information and hikes. (925) 757-2620.


East Bay Wildflower Events

Mount Diablo In Bloom

Mount Diablo State Park

Clayton, Contra Costa County

Sunday, April 2, 2017

9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

$6 per vehicle park entrance fee (exact change required)

Kick off the spring wildflower season with a guided hike through a Bay Area botanical hotspot.

More Info:


Spring Wildflower Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Road, Sunol, CA (MAP)

Sunday, April 9

11am – 4pm

The festival is FREE!


It’s time to celebrate the season of the birds, bees, flowers and trees! Join us for hikes, crafts, music, and nature activities. Hikes are geared for different ages, distances and topics ? There is something for everyone. Pack a picnic lunch, put on your hiking boots and join us for a glorious day filled with flowers in this very special wilderness! Fun for the whole family. Carpooling encouraged.


FREE event, parking is $5 cash. Please carpool as parking is limited.

Feel free to post your wildflower photos on our Facebook page, Berkeley Hills Realty.