I've put a web gallery of photos up here; in the meantime you can make do with this shot — click on it and I think you'll get a bigger version. We were there perhaps a week too late for the peak of the wildflowers, but what we saw was well worth the drive.
We took the road south to north, driving up to the first ramp off Highway 5 north of the split from 99, then the long dreary road to
We first drove through here quite a number of years ago, from north to south that time, also looking for wildflowers. Seems to me that was the time we caught them at their peak: the west-facing slopes of the hills above the San Andreas Fault, along the east side of the valley, looked like a Persian carpet of lavenders, roses, reds, yellows, and blues. What you see in the photo above is only a hint of what can happen here in exceptional years.
We took our time but covered the ground, driving 35 or 40 miles an hour up the road, stopping at the observation point on a low hill west of the road. We continued past the ghost town — actually the never developed town — of California Valley; then west on Highway 58 and up Shelby and O'DOnovan Roads toward Creston, and up Creston Road into Paso Robles where we joined 101 for the drive up to Berkeley. I'd never taken thoset 58-Paso Robles roads before; it's a beautiful drive, first through more empty wildflower country, then through vineyards, finally the unfortunate suburbs. Well, folks have to live somewhere, I guess. I'm glad they don't live on the Carrizo Plain.