Highway 16 and 20 Wildflower Run

Taking a round from Interstate 5 to Highway 16 and Highway 20 provides lots of opportunities to see wildflowers during the spring of each year. Wildflower viewing along the highways was usually best during month of April, but climate change has altered that considerably, so you might want to take several runs between late February and May.

Easy to Locate? Yes
Pet Friendly? Yes. Keep your dog in your car or on a leash.
Easy to Walk? Yes. Turnouts on the highway are flat and easy to navigate.
Is there a Fee? No.
Are there Restrooms? Sort of. Restrooms and porta-potties are available at some of the camping areas along the highway and at Camp Haswell.
Other Notes: While you’re looking at the flowers, watch for a variety of insects, especially moth and butterfly caterpillars.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location throughout the last several years.

This is a self-guided auto tour. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and bring water and snacks along with you.

How to Go on the Tour

From Sacramento:

  • Take Interstate 5 North (I5) to the city of Woodland
  • When you get to Woodland take the Main Street offramp
  • At the end of the off ramp turn LEFT
  • Stay in the LEFT lane and continue on Main Street through the city of Woodland
  • Main Street will become Highway 16 West
  • Stay on Highway 16 West through the town of Esparto
    • Continue on Highway 16 West past the Cache Creek Casino, through the town of Brooks, through the town of Guinda and through the town of Rumsey.
  • As the highway goes into the foothills, you will see Cache Creek running alongside the road
  • All along the road there will be wildflowers, budding trees, and flowering vines on both sides of the road.  Turnout provide opportunities to stop and leave your car to take photos.


  • Further along the highway, you’ll see the three creekside sites of the Cache Creek Regional Park.
    • The lower site provides access to the creek and the Road 40 trail; the middle site allows for overnight camping; and the upper site provides for more creek access and picnicking.
    • Stop in the parking lot at any of these sites to take more photos of flowers, the creek and the fascinating geology of the region. Restrooms and porta potties are also available if you need a break.
  • Continuing on along the highway you’ll also have an opportunity to stop at Cowboy Camp for more wildflower viewing, another restroom stop, and the possibility of seeing deer and/or elk on the sides of the foothills.
  • Eventually Highway 16 will intersect Highway 20.
  • From here you can turn LEFT and drive into the turnout for Bear Valley Road, or choose the turnout that will allow you to access roadside areas where there are fields of poppies and Tidy Tips. CLICK HERE for the Bear Valley Road auto tour directions.

You can also turn RIGHT at the intersection of Highways 16 and 20, and continue on Highway 20  back to Interstate 5

Here’s the route for this self-guided auto tour

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist

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