Shell Creek Road

Shell Creek Road


Springtime is when Shell Creek Road comes to life. An incredible carpet of wildflowers in yellow, orange, white, pink, and purple draws nature lovers from all over the county. The road is named for the clam shell fossils found in every little side canyon on both sides of the narrow valley. Shell Creek road runs east off of Hwy 58 and the first 3 or 4 miles are the best to experience the springtime show. In good years (just a mile off of 58) you can ford a small stream and be in the middle of billions of flowers, most not bigger that your thumbnail. Sometimes little Shell Creek is so full of tadpoles that the water runs black. Trails made by flower lovers lead you back into a wonderland of tidy tips, lupine, California poppies, and dozens of other species of wildflowers. The season can come and go quickly. Even in the best years, the show lasts less than two or three weeks at its height. The years with the best rains bring the best flowers. Photographers can use their macro lenses to get great close up pictures or take sweeping vistas with the valley oaks and chalk-colored hills in the distance.

On the north side, mini canyons lead off the road where erosion has exposed fossilized clam shells that give the valley and the road its name. Someone willing to take the time to dig out promising finds will be richly rewarded by whole clamshell fossils. Note: watch for rattlesnakes if you choose to go off the beaten track.




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