Carrizo Plain National Monument


Located in California’s Central Valley, Carrizo Plain features the largest natural alkali wetland in southern California, the San Andreas Fault Line, and remarkable and diverse communities of plants and animals.

There are few places in the world more astoundingly colorful than Carrizo Plain National Monument during a super bloom. Throughout the Monument, there are also many important Native American cultural resources (including Painted Rock) and endangered and threatened species (including the California kit fox and burrowing owl).

There are several easy but interesting trails, including Soda Lake Overlook, Wallace Creek San Andreas Fault Line Trail, and Painted Rock Trail.

This is a remarkable place to explore, camp, find solitude, see wildlife and world-class wildflowers, reflect upon cultural heritage, and thoroughly enjoy.


Details


Location

17495 Soda Lake Rd, Santa Margarita, off of Highway 33/166

Managed By

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.

Distance from UCSB

168 mi (by car)

How To Get There

Drive

Things To Do

Biking (mountain), Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Historic/Cultural Interest, Horseback Riding, Picnicking, Relaxing, Running, Viewing (wildflowers, mountains), Walking, Watchable Wildlife

Fun Facts

Carrizo Plain was the first California location to re-introduce the native Tule Elk and Pronghorn Antelope. Designated a Globally-Significant Important Bird Area by Audubon, in the winter, Carrizo attracts abundant migratory shorebirds and waterfowl because of Soda Lake and surrounding wetlands.

Carrizo Plain is traversed by the San Andreas Fault, which can be seen quite clearly.

Other Information

The road and wildflower conditions information line is 805-475-2035. To arrange a tour of Painted Rock/Soda Lake visit this site or call 877-444-6777.

The Friends of the Carrizo Plain have an informative website, which includes maps, videos, checklists (of mammals, reptiles, etc.), and more.

I want to thank my outstanding, former student, Samuel Desre for his wonderful photos of the Pronghorn antelope.

Has two accessible campground sites in the KCL Campground and the vault toilets are ADA compliant.

Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve (Managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Best Time To Visit

Spring, Winter, Fall

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