Have you heard all the buzz about the beautiful red poppies in Mantua and Alpine, Utah? They’re pretty spectacular, and both locations offer different things to see. We visited both in spring 2020 and are excited to share a few of our pictures from both places.
California Red Poppies begin their show in northern Utah about mid-May to the first week of June in Alpine. You can extend that time to mid-June in Mantua. We visited them late in the season and still felt they were a sight to behold. We plan to visit earlier in 2021 and will then show you pictures to compare.
Know that both locations are extremely popular. Photographers and families love them, and both sites are extra busy in the evenings as that’s excellent natural light for photos. If you want to avoid crowds, you might avoid the evenings.
Poppies in Mantua, Utah
These poppies are robust and super easy to access. They’re located in Mantua, Utah, which is northern Utah, south of Logan.
Location: You can google “Mantua Poppies” and GPS will take you right there. Basically, drive through beautiful Sardine Canyon. Turn east at the Mantua sign, then turn right (south) at the stop sign. Drive until you see the Maple Hill Campground sign (same sign as the archery range). The sign points left. That’s the direction you want to go. Watch for signs for the Box Elder Campground; you can’t miss it. You’ll see poppies all along the road. Keep going until you see the campground. That’s where you’ll park, and that’s where you’ll see the whole meadow of Mantua Poppies. Absolutely stunning!
If you want to experience the area more than just to visit the poppies, you can reserve a spot at the campground using the above link.
Please remember that Mantua is a small town, and the roads to access the poppies aren’t big. You need to drive the speed limit and respect the local area. Residents are happy to have visitors but want you to obey local laws and not leave any trash behind. Also, do not speed in the area. The police there are known for issuing a lot of speeding tickets.
One last tip: If you want to pronounce Mantua like a local, say it Man-away. You’ll fit right in and have a great time.
Poppies in Alpine, Utah
Of the two poppy locations, I think the Alpine one is the most historic and scenic. In addition to the poppies, you’ll see remnants of the Lambert Homestead. Parts of the rock home remain, and there are fun paths to wander with pioneer-era fencing.
Mr. Lambert started growing the poppies in the mid- to -late 1800s. His green thumb still continues today in a fabulous, free nature showing you really must visit. The Alpine Poppies are a delightful red surprise in an otherwise typical Utah sagebrush setting.
Location: Lambert Park. You can search GPS “Alpine Poppies” or “Lambert Park Trail,” which is what we did, but the trail was still difficult to find. There are a few ways to reach the poppies. There’s a loop of new homes directly east of the homestead on Prospector Way, just above the poppies, but you have to cross a brief section of private property (signs are on the property) to access the poppies. So it’s not legal or respectful to access that way. We do, however, recommend you drive up there so you can see about where the homestead is and can gauge where you’re heading when you hike from below. So drive there first: Google Box Elder Drive in Alpine. You’ll be heading east to the mountains. Take Box Elder to Oak Hill Dr. Then turn south on Prospector Way, which is a paved loop. About midway in the loop, you’ll spot a small dirt trail going down the mountain. About 100 yards down is the small grove of trees which shade the poppies and homestead.
Option 1: Now that you’ve seen the homes and general area, it’s a good idea to keep those homes in sight as you’re accessing from below on public property, because you’ll see them before you’ll see the poppies. We recommend you park on the south side of the LDS meetinghouse located at 1125 N Alpine Blvd. Walk east out of the parking lot (you’ll spot a path) and walk until you come upon a direct road, then go left. You’ll soon see a trailhead sign. It doesn’t say anything about the poppies; it’s just a plain trail marker. Follow that trail up to a larger road. When it becomes a Y, take the larger trail heading north. We’ve seen there’s also a diagonal trail you can take but didn’t try that one. Basically, from the church, the poppies are north and east about a mile.
Option 2: You can also access the poppies from the Lambert Park Trail. The trailhead, which is north of the poppies, is well marked and easy to find via GPS. Just know the poppies aren’t visible from here at all. You have to go south (about halfway to the church, which you can see) and east for the poppies. There’s kind of a trail from all the people visiting, but we missed it the first time we walked by. Unfortunately, there are no signs in the area to help.
This map is a little bit helpful to show you the general area. I’m not the best at maps, and this one isn’t super detailed, but it will show you the overall area and help you to know which direction to head when searching for the poppies.
I took my aunt who has a bad back, and it was a bad idea. Luckily, she was a trooper. But I misjudged the length and time of the hike. From what I’d found online, I thought the trail was short and easy. It’s not a hard hike, but don’t take anyone who isn’t able to do moderate hikes. That said, if you’re wearing good shoes, this hike is doable for families, even with younger children.
Just know that the first time you try to find the poppies, you might be hiking a bit extra. We had to backtrack a time or two. And don’t be afraid to ask other hikers where the poppies are. We finally found and asked someone who knew what they were doing.
Now that we’ve been once, it will be easy to find them again.
Any questions? Comments or tips from those who have visited? Please share in the comments.
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