California Almond Orchards

You’ve probably seen those pictures all over social media with a backdrop of what you may think are cherry blossoms. And you’re probably wondering where this wonderful place is located at.

To clear the assumption, they aren’t cherry blossom trees. They’re actually almond orchards tree and there’s not just one field of them; there are tons all over Central and some of Northern California. There are fields on almost every street, even visible alongside the Golden State Highway 99 in both directions! You could probably exit a random exit in Bakersfield area and would end up finding a field of them.

First Visit (2017)

The first time I went, I was extremely nervous. I had no specific address other than the geo-tags from Instagram which only provided the cross streets. I found a few locations from websites, comments, posts, and even yelp pages, which I would fall back on if one of the address weren’t correct. I was basically driving a 3-hour drive to a place I was unsure of and have little to no information about, with a continuous thought of whether the trees are still blossomed or dead. That was one of the most stressful feeling ever!

When we arrived closer to Bakersfield, we noticed fields filled with naked trees. Being quite disappointed, we really thought we had wasted our time driving up there. However, we still continued to the pinned location I had on Google Maps with any last ounce of hope. Once we got there, we were in fact, disappointed. This was located on 7th Standard Rd and Calloway Dr, on the left side once you exit the freeway. The trees were almost dead with very little petals still hanging on.

Therefore we didn’t stop at this initial location and instead continued driving in the direction away from the freeway. Literally one street down from Calloway, we found another patch and saw it was almost dying as well, but some areas were still pretty. We parked to the side along the street and walked up to it, found the row that looked the best and made due of it. I believe if we’ve gone earlier in the month of March, there would have been more options to choose from. This location wasn’t on my list by the way, but I was satisfied enough to say “this is it”.

Second Visit (2018)

The second (more recent) time I visited, was last minute and spontaneous. We were driving up to Yosemite for a weekend getaway with our friends and saw blossomed almond orchards all along Highway 99. Since my friends have never seen it up close and in real life, we decided we were going to make a quick stop on our way back from the trip. I randomly set a pinpoint in Goshen City that Friday afternoon, and on Sunday afternoon coming back, we made that quick stop.

We exited the freeway, drove down the street for a couple of lights, found a patch of trees, and again pulled to the side of the street. I didn’t get the exact locations but during this time, literally, all fields were full of blossomed flowers on every street. You could exit any street and find yourself a patch not too far from the freeway. You would’ve had a harder time trying to decide which field to go to rather than trying to find any field to go to. We literally took some pictures for less than 10 minutes and was on our way home.
However, as soon as we were back on the freeway again, I noticed a field which was extremely white up ahead, so we made another quick stop a few exits down located in Visalia City. We drove a few streets from the exit, made a right and pulled to the side of the street at the field I wanted to visit. We spent no more than 5 minutes here and was on our way again. This time around, the field was facing the sun from our direction, which gave great sunset lightings.

Third Visit (2019)

I just visited the almond orchards again last Saturday (March 2nd) for the third time and was totally blown away by the immense amount of almond orchards fields blooming! I literally just type in “Almond Orchards Blossom” into Google Maps and it led me straight to the area with so many fields to choose from! I got there around 4:30PM and took so many pictures until the last bit of light. It was totally worth it. I did notice more of a crowd this time compared to the past 2 years I’ve visited.
What’s funny is that this was the original location I attempted to go my first time around 2 years ago and there was nothing blooming. Basically, not all fields bloom at the same time. So don’t be discourage if you went to one spot and didn’t see anything. Chances are, if you drive around, you’ll find a different field.

So when is the best time to go?

I can’t give a definite answer, but I can provide my experiences from both my visits. The first time I went was the second week of March in 2017. Majority of the trees were dead and there were so many empty fields everywhere. I believe we were lucky to have found a field in Bakersfield. On this particular day, it was partly sunny in the morning, and by the time we reached Bakersfield at 3pm, it became completely cloudy. This made a bright white backdrop that enhanced the white petals on the tree and contrasted with the tree trunks.

The second time I visited, was the third week of February 2018. It was a sunny day with no clouds in sight. There were tons of beautiful fields of almond orchards everywhere. We didn’t have to worry about missing on a nice field, as there were plenty more to check out. It was also sunset hours so our pictures came out vibrant and colorful, compared to my first visit.

On my third time, I came on a beautiful blue sky day an hour before sunset. I thought the lighting was amazing.

Bottom line, I would recommend going in late February as I’ve noticed how easy it was to pull to the side and stop for pictures. Visiting in March would be more of a risk. As for the tone and colors of how you want your pictures to come out, I’d recommend checking the weather. So if you plan on visiting after reading this, there are fields out there waiting for you. Otherwise, there’s always next year!

Tips before visiting:

  • To find the place (or the main place to start searching for your perfect field), type in “Almond Orchard Blossoms” into your Google Map
  • The field can be very muddy due to the fertilizer and/or water. Beware of getting your “nice” shoes dirty.
  • For best lighting, go early morning or before sunset.
  • These fields are becoming popular and now draws a bigger crowd, especially with professional shoots. However, you can find an empty row. Be patient.
  • These fields are private property, so please respect the fields and don’t pluck the flowers off the trees or liter.
Here are some of the similar shots taken during the different visits. Let me know what you think!


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1 Comment

  1. April 19, 2019 / 11:14 pm

    I located your internet site from Google as well as
    I have to claim it was an excellent locate. Many thanks!

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