Gear Guide to California Wildflowers

Gear Guide — By Tyler Renaghan on April 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street…all San Francisco MUST SEE attractions, but have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of that iconic Golden Gate?  Well so have we.  It’s time to get off the beaten path a little bit and explore the Chimney Rock Trail about one hour north of San Francisco.  Not sure what to expect or what to bring?  Check out a short list of essentials to make the most of frolicking in the flowers.

  1. Camera: You don’t need to go all out with a Nikon D300 to catch the vibrant colors of spring (even though I highly recommend it).  As long as you have something to capture the purple Lupin lusting for the sun and the yellow poppy prancing in the wind, you’re good to go…even if it’s just your Iphone camera!
  2. Binoculars: With a pair of Binoculars you can get up close and personal with the Elephant Seals at the Elephant Seal Overlook located at the start of the trail.  In addition to the over 50 species of flowers, the Chimney Rock Trail, offers breathtaking views of cliffs plummeting into the Pacific ocean.
  3. Jacket/Fleece: Even though the sun is out, the flowers are blooming and the sweet smell of Spring is in the air, the temperature in Point Reyes can be a bit chilly.  Bring a wind-proof jacket or fleece to stay warm during your hike and foray into flower exploration.
  4. California Flower Handbook: I highly recommend you purchase some sort of Flower Handbook prior to your adventure.  There are so many different types of beautiful Flora for you to enjoy, learning their names and identifying them will only add to your off the beaten path journey!  If you don’t want a handbook, that’s ok too, you don’t need to know the names as long as you’re able to appreciate the jaw-dropping glory nature provides.
  5. Zyrtec Allergy Relief:  Just cause you’re allergic to nature’s love dust doesn’t mean that you should be prevented from bathing in the beauty of Marin’s wildflowers.  Be sure to pick up a few tabs of Zyrtec for a guaranteed allergy free flower frenzy!  Please consult your phycisian before taking Zyrtec.

Check out the Chimney Rock Trail at NileGuide for more details on how to get there and take your first step towards exploring the wildflowers of California.

I’d love to hear about any other insider tips or recommendations about where to go to see some wildflowers or what else you might need to bring with you…leave a comment and I promise I’ll get back to you.

Tyler is a resident gear junkie at NileGuide. Have a question about travel gear? Shoot the gear junkies an email at

Photo by photogirl7/Creative Commons
Tags: Chimney Rock, Point Reyes, San Francisco, wildflowers


  • Alexi says:

    I’m actually going on this hike this Saturday with my family – ALL of them – and I can’t wait; it’s perfect for the little cousins because it’s only about 2 miles round trip. I’ll also be throwing in…

    1. Sunscreen (but will probably come into work Monday with pink cheeks regardless)
    2. My journal (because I like to sketch, but also so I can press some of those wildflowers)
    3. The best rosemary ciabatta bread EVER (because it’s not a hike without a picnic)

  • Graham Master Flash says:

    I love this post!!!!!

    because I love me some flowers

  • Suzi says:

    Table Mountain, between Chico & Oroville in Northern California, provides the most amazing wildflower displays in the early Spring! Everything from the ubiquitous lupine & California poppy to the tiniest little Table Mountain meadowfoam & dwarf stonecrop. The colors include whites, yellows, oranges, blues, & purples, and they’re often all blooming at once!


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