Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Butterfly Valley Report

My destination yesterday afternoon was the Butterfly Valley Botanical Area, but I found it was still mostly asleep from winter.  However, Blackhawk Road and Butterfly Valley Road on either side had many new wildflowers blooming.  I posted photos of three different species of Yellow Violets yesterday.  These were taken on the way into the Botanical Area and again on the way out.  The white Macloskey's Violet that blooms among the Pitcher Plants has not yet arrived.
There's a nice patch of Umbrella Plant at the foot of Butterfly Valley Road just before the creek enters the culvert under Highway 70.  A bit tricky to scramble down to the creek, but well worth it for a closer view of these intricate flowers.  Then, along the Butterfly Valley Road, the steep embankments on the north side of the road, there are several spots with blooming Red Larkspur, Scarlet Fritillary, Death Camus, and Checker Bloom.  I can't remember exactly where I got the Blue-eyed Mary, but they're blooming in many places at this elevation (+/- 3,500 feet), but are hard to spot as they are small and usually surrounded by taller grasses and other flowers.  Looks like we're in for a few very warm days which should result in many more species making their first appearance for the season.


  1. So, when WOULD be the best time to go to Butterfly Valley?

  2. I'd give it at least two more weeks. Might not be the greatest year for wildflowers in any case. Fortunately, I'm just as interested in bugs, lichens, and even interesting tree bark, so I'm never disappointed. Consider Memorial Day weekend, or just contact me or the Mt. Hough Ranger Station again in a week or two.

  3. Where is butterfly Valley? I am in So Calif, Ventura to be exact.
    Spencer Westbrook

  4. Quincy is the county seat of Plumas County. Butterfly Valley, a small, unincorporated community is accessible to the west of Highway 70 near the community of Keddie, which is on the east side of 70. This is about 5 miles north of Quincy.
    The USFS area designated as Botanical Area is accessible via the Butterfly Valley Road, a couple of miles beyond that community, or via Blackhawk Road, which goes west off Hwy 70 around 3 miles north of Quincy. I recommend exploring it as a loop, taking Blackhawk Road first and exiting via Butterfly Valley. You might want to study a map onlione and/or get one at the nearby Mt. Hough Ranger Station, about 2 miles north of Quincy. I could guide you there is we found a mutually agreeable time and date.