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Super bloom on Figueroa Mountain draws thousands of weekend visitors

Super bloom
Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 17, 2023

Just weeks following a seemingly endless series of winter storms, much of Figueroa Mountain has reopened to the public, drawing thousands out to the park to get a view of this spring's super bloom.

"It has been a lot of turmoil," said Fred Pena, a member of Los Padres National Forest's flood response team, "but behind us, is the beauty that comes from it."

Pena says due to a massive influx of people who came out to see the flowers at Figueroa Mountain this past weekend, the California Highway Patrol was actually called in to limit traffic and even turn cars away as the roads were at max capacity.

However, Monday morning saw its own big turnout of both locals and tourists hoping to miss the weekend rush.

"We saw whole hillsides that seemed to be streaked with paint. Mostly yellow, and orange and blue, and as you got closer you realized these were big fields of lupin and poppies," said Eric Sawyer, who drove up from Santa Barbara to see the bloom.

"It was a lot of winding roads, and we kept waiting for a big splash of color and we got it when we got almost to the top of the mountain," added Claudia Kane, another local who was out on Figueroa Mountain Monday.

Others say they have been coming out to the park for as long as they can remember, adding that this year's super bloom sights have been extra special, given the severe weather impacts that preceded it.

"This is Mother Nature’s beautiful cycle! There is rain and wildfires, and it is all connected to how beautiful the flowers are. So, this is the reward we get after dealing with all that rain," said Sarah Lopez of Santa Barbara.

Meanwhile, Pena adds that yearly maintenance efforts on Figueroa Mountain have also been a factor in bringing about the lush flower bloom.

"Part of the reason for this major bloom is the prescribed fires we have been doing in the area. As the fire burns off, it treats the soil, and it allows the seeds to blossom," Pena explained.

He says the iconic super bloom sights should be around throughout the remainder of the month, but that they will begin dying off as temperatures warm back up.

Those out on the mountain Monday said they were glad to come out and snap a few pictures to hang onto, until their next visit.

"It was honestly a little emotional because I just turned 30 yesterday and I have never seen it like this before. It looks like somebody just watercolored on the mountains," added Sarah Lopez.

"It is heaven. It is just beautiful. We have to leave in a few days and I don’t want to go home," said Nancy Henry, who was visiting from Colorado.

Pena says very few areas of Figueroa Mountain still remain closed following storm damage and if you are planning a trip out to see the flowers this weekend, he advises you leave early in the morning to beat the crowds.