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America's Best Spring Drives

America's best spring drives: Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

David Muench / Corbis

Antelope Valley, California

The Route: 70 miles.

From L.A., drive north to the town of Lancaster via Route 14, better known as the Antelope Valley Freeway. Golden poppies bloom throughout the Mojave Desert region in March, but the 17,600-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve claims the finest concentration of California’s state flower—not to mention glorious showings of fiddlenecks, creamcups, goldfields, and tidytips starting in late March.

Where to Stop: Drive the seven-mile Antelope Loop Trail within the Poppy Reserve and continue on to Antelope Butte Vista Point, a high lookout (the valley reaches an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet) that offers the most sweeping desert panoramas.

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