California poppies in spring at start of Turtle Back Nature Trail by Sheila Coll


See what's blooming in our meadows, forest, and marshlands

The hillsides, forests, and wetlands of China Camp are lush palettes of colorful wildflowers throughout the year. Springtime is when most wildflowers are at their peak, but there is always something in bloom no matter the season. In addition to adding color to the landscape, many of these wildflowers provided food and medicine to the native Miwok people. Here is a small sampling of some of the wildflowers you will encounter as you hike around the park.


The largest variety of wildflowers and the most color can be found in spring, including California poppies, blue-eyed grass, shooting stars, buttercups, sun cups, blue dicks, harvest brodiaea, Douglas iris, ground iris, California honeysuckle, checker mallow, and a rare albino form of royal larkspur.


Summer offers a continuation of the spring wildflower show, with many flowers in bloom throughout the season. Sticky monkey flower is at its peak in the summertime, while many others continue to bloom from spring until well into late summer. These include coast mule ears, yellow Mariposa lily, Ithuriel’s Spear, and Indian paintbrush. The salt marshes also come into bloom at this time of year, with gumplant, alkali heath, and jaumea adding color to shoreline areas.


The quietest time of year for wildflowers, fall still has widespread sticky monkey flower in the forests and grasslands. The salt marshes still retain a lot of color, with gumplant in bloom late into the season.


The first wildflowers of the season start to appear in late winter and are a prelude to the show of color that appears in spring. Some early bloomers are footsteps of spring, star lily, and Indian warrior.

Here’s a sampling of the many wildflowers that can be found in China Camp State Park. Enjoy the show.

Photos: sheila coll


NOTICE: Some sites at the Back Ranch Meadows Campground will be closed Sunday through Thursday from November 14, 2022 until May 13, 2023 due to construction. The group site will remain open during the week. Go to for available reservations.

ADVISORY: December 3, 2023, 8am-2pm. Footrace beginning at Miwok Meadows. Expect increased foot traffic on Shoreline Trail, Oak Ridge Trail, and Bayview trail. Plan your trip to the park accordingly. See calendar for details.