Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Edgewood Park & Preserve: Edgewood Loop

Spectacular diplays of Poppy (orange), Tidytips (yellow & white), and Owls clover (purple)

The case for visiting Edgewood is simple, it hosts the brightest, most dense, most beautiful displays of wildflowers in the Bay Area. The serpentine hills of edgewood are painted orange, purple, and yellow, aflutter with butterflies, and have hidden gems of Iris and Indian Paintbrush for the keen eye. The park is small, and is situated a little uncomfortably close to Hwy280 but is so packed with spring beauty that these things hardly seem to matter.

The very first wildflower to be found along the trail.

From the main park entrance off Edgewood Rd. crowds jam the first mile of trails which don't offer much to write home about, oak forest and a mountain of poision oak are the highlights. A couple wildflowers can be found hiding in the copious amouts of poision oak along the Sylvan Loop trail as it switches back and forth up a small ridge.

Look for the occasional Iris in thinly wooded areas along the trail

The trail starts to open up with limited displays of wildflowers by the time the Franciscan trail junction is reached. A left at the Franciscan trail leads through several trail junctions for a couple miles. Eventually a right at the Serpentine Loop junction brings you to the real wildflower displays. Blue eyed grass, Owl's clover and some limited numbers of Poppy and Tidytips dominate big open grassy fields. The weather was nearly perfect for us as we paused often just to take in how lucky we were to be in this place.

Worms eye view of wildflowers.

The Serpentine Loop begins very close to 280, and roughly parallels the freeway for about a mile of truly amazing wildflower displays.  The park is held down by its proximity to this major Bay Area artery though. The explosion of wildflowers, the flapping wings of butterflies, the painted hills and pristine grasses all do their best to fill this park with magic and natural wonder but the Roar of the highway simply remains a constant in the background.

Hillsides painted yellow with wildflowers.

The park does a good job of keeping people out of the wildflower fields by erecting wooden fences that make it clear - stay on the trail! After a beautiful bowl of wildflowers on the back side of the Serpentine Loop the loop is capped off by commanding views of the SF Bay after crossing another ridge. The serpentine loop connects back to the Sylvan loop which returns back over the oak forest and on to the park entrance after about a mile.

The beautiful, rare, Royal Larkspur

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