Experience the amazing Calla Lily Valley bloom off HWY 1 on your next adventure exploring California wildflowers. The valley where the Calla Lilies bloom are located on the Central Coast about 15 minutes south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and 5 minutes from Big Sur's Bixby Bridge.
What you'll learn in this visitors guide:
Calla Lily Bloom Time
When are the Calla Lilies in Bloom?
The Calla Lilies are in bloom typically late January - April and these perennial flowers bloom every year in this valley for about 3-8 weeks. The Calla Lilies that grow in this specific valley are all white and are a magnificent sight to see.
White Calla Lilies symbolize innocence, resurrection and rebirth - and these flowers are commonly used in Easter services, weddings and funerals.
The thousands of Calla Lillies in the valley are a remarkable and unique bloom to see in California and it's location along the Big Sur coastline make this spot even more magical.
How do you get to Calla Lily Valley?
To find the valley of blooming Calla Lilies you will first need to find street side parking near Garrapata State Beach. The small dirt lots at Gate 18 or 19 will put you closest to the hiking trail to access the Calla Lily Valley. The trail and parking lot is not marked very clearly so use these 36°25'22.1"N 121°54'44.8"W coordinates to best find parking and use the "Garrapata Trail" to walk down.
There is no entrance or admission fee to view these beautiful wild flowers and the landscape is absolutely priceless!
Once you find the Garrapata Trail it is only about 0.3 mile hike with slight decline from the top of the coastal bluffs to the Calla Lilies. The trail is well maintained and is a clear path down to the valley from Gate 18.
The trail will hug the bluff side of Garrapata Beach as you make your way down the path to the valley of wildflowers. Soak in the peaceful sounds of the meandering Doud Creek and the ocean waves.
As you walk through the valley and admire these amazing flowers - do note that depending on the weather the ground can be muddy in some areas. Calla Lilies preferred habitats are in wetlands which is why they grow so well amongst the Doud Creek that flows through middle of the valley.
I advise to wear proper footwear and go earlier in the morning before the crowds if you plan on taking photos.
Photography at Calla Lily Valley
There are many photogenic opportunities along the Big Sur coastline, but this seasonal flower bloom is definitely a bucket list location for photographers. Calla Lily is a great photo spot for self portraits, macro photography, and landscape shots. Personally, I wouldn't recommend taking couples photography in the valley itself as the walkways are narrow, but Garrapata State Beach would be a good spot for engagement or couples photography!
If you are looking to take self portraits at Calla Lily Valley, I recommend going as far back into the valley if you can. I loved the way the canyon walls were filled with greenery and ferns, and it made for beautiful self portraits!
Make sure to watch your step as you navigate over logs and the creek, and I strongly urge you to not enter any pathways that might trample the beautiful flowers. If you get the opportunity to visit this unique spot, make sure to keep it clean and pristine for the next people that visit.
I drove from Sacramento and arrived at the location around 8:30am - although I would have loved to take some sunrise photos - I still had the place all to myself! If you want to take gorgeous photos at the Calla Lily Valley you should plan to go during Golden Hour, which is the hour after Sunrise, for optimal viewing and photos at this location.
Don't forget to take advantage of California's most amazing coastline during your visit, and spend some time at Garrapata State Beach, and many nearby beaches on Highway 1. If you are looking for some of the best ways to enjoy Big Sur, you may enjoy reading my Big Sur Travel Guide for planning your visit!
I drove down the HWY 1 coastline to a coffee shop in Big Sur after spending about an hour and a half at Calla Lily Valley and noticed on my drive back that the parking was completely full by noon!
Tips for Visiting the Calla Lily Valley:
Wear proper shoes for the trail. Although it is a very short walk -you may encounter some mud in the valley depending on weather and which area you explore.
Visit during the weekday and go during the Sunrise Golden Hour for less crowds.
Do not touch, pick, remove, or trample on these beautiful flowers - but most definitely admire them!
Wear sleeves and pants to avoid any contact with poison ivy. Make sure to watch your step!
Head to the back of the Calla Lily Valley for epic photographs and angles.
Stay in Monterey County the night before so you can get up early to beat the crowds!
I hope you enjoyed this visitors guide to the beautiful Calla Lily Valley located near Big Sur, California.
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