This is a self-guided auto-tour trek best done in the spring between April and May. Bear Valley Road is generally well-maintained and easily drivable, but the road is NOT paved, so it can get really muddy in the rainy season.
- Easy to Locate? Yes
- Pet Friendly? Yes. This is a driving tour, so your pet can travel in your car with you.
- Easy to Walk? Generally speaking, yes. There are spots along the road where you can get out of your car to take photos and take in theviews.
- Is there a Fee? No
- Are there Restrooms? No
- Is there Accessible Parking? It depends on where you are on the road. There are no “parking lots”. Pull off to the side of the road far enough so you’re not blocking traffic.
- Other Notes: Be aware that there are other drivers on the road, so when you stop to admire the views, be sure to pull off the road far enough so that you’re not blocking traffic. For most of the drive, Bear Creek itself will be on your left. Watch for birds and river otters around the water. There are several turnouts on the road where you can stop to take photographs.
See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location throughout the last several years.
Keep in mind that much of the property on either side of the road is private property. Do not trespass as you look for flowers, and do not disturb the cattle and horses you may see in pastures along the road.
In the springtime months the area around Bear Creek is alive with wildflowers of all kinds including Tidy Tips, Pineapple Weed, Indian Clover, Owl Clover, Silver Puffs, Pepper Weed, Goldfields, Ithurial Spears, Yellow Sweetclover, several different species of Indian Paintbrush, vetch, lupine, Fiddleneck, Rock Lettuce, Yarrow, Larkspur, Wallflowers, Giant Death Camas, California Poppies, Popcorn Flowers, Cream Cups, Bird’s Eye Gilia, Chinese Houses, and many many others.
How to Get to Bear Valley Road
- From the cities of Davis or Woodland, head north on Interstate 5 (I5) to State Highway 20.
- Near the town of Williams, look for the access ramp onto Highway 20
- Turn left onto Highway 20 and remain on it until just past the point where Highway 20 intersects with Highway 16.
- Look for Bear Valley Road on your right and merge onto it.
Continue up the road for about 12 miles and you’ll come to a ranch with a large white WILDFLOWER ACCESS sign on it. Pull off the road here and park, and you can actually go onto the ranch property and get close up photos of the flowers. It also has a great view of the Bear Valley Buttes (upturned marine sediments of the Great Valley sequence) to the north.
Once you’re done viewing the flowers, you can head back out the same way you came in.